because science is fundamental in the 21st century
Science compensates for the shortcomings of human cognition. It allows us to apply methods of investigation that are independent of our own subjective notions and irrationality. As a result we have overcome common sense, traditional beliefs, and other misconceptions through thorough investigation. We even describe and utilize phenomena that are as incomprehensible as quantum mechanics, which defies our everyday experience in unimaginable ways. (more…)
Most academics won’t stay in academia… or let’s say, not every PhD will land a permanent position as a researcher. With the increasing numbers of PhDs this situation is becoming more serious. In this context, we want to interview people who work in so called ‘alternative careers’. Some of these careers are still related to academia. We hope these interviews will be of interest to people in general, since they may learn something more about how academia works. For PhDs who may not stay researchers, it should be interesting to know what kinds of careers they can have beyond the ivory tower.
This is the 2nd part of my conversation with Diana Barbosa from COMCEPT, the Portuguese Skeptics Community (find the 1st episode here). In the first part of the episode we got an overview over scientific skepticism and what kinds of topics they would usually discuss. In a nutshell, skeptics are fighting against non-scientific viewpoints making their ways into mainstream opinion.
I had an extended conversation with Diana Barbosa (@diraquel on Twitter) from the skeptical society in Portugal, COMCEPT. This is the first of two parts to this episode where Diana Barbosa answers questions about what skepticism is, what skepticism is NOT, and how it is different from other, related movements. We get an overview of the goals and activities of COMCEPT meetings, and how to become a member!
Working on your PhD is a stressful phase, and the academic culture isn’t making it better. In this episode I talk to Lauriane Nallet, who is a PhD student in Switzerland. She has a personal history with depression and even PTSD. Lauriane shares what she learned at a workshop on mental health issues in grad school, and also her own experience with mental health issues: symptoms to look out for, how she found help, and what therapy could do for her. We also talk about some aspects of academia that contribute to the stress, including high expectations for work load and ‘passion’, and the ‘publish or perish’ culture.
Visit Lauriane’s blog!
We mention an article claiming a 6x increased prevalence of depression in graduate students. The article is being criticized for methodological confines. However, another study which was conducted using methods with fewer confines, still finds a 2.8x higher prevalence for depression in PhD students when compared to highly educated workers.
I interviewed Diana Barbosa about COMCEPT, a Portuguese skeptics community.
Diana told me about events they will be at over the next two weeks. However, the full episode is scheduled for June 1st.
So I cut together a brief intro into COMCEPT and promo for two events!
For Saturday afternoon, May 5th, COMCEPT is invited to talk about their book ‘Não Se Deixe Enganar’ (Don’t fool yourself), a guide to skepticism, as well as other books and science communication at the livraria barata.
On May 12th, COMCEPT will have their monthly meeting. These meetings alternate between Lisbon and Porto. Diana was excited to announce that their guest this month, in Porto, will be João Júlio Cerqueira, the creator of the SciMed blog about scientifically supported medicine.
“We face a dilemma in conveying the scientific process to the public, and even within academia: Real science doesn’t fit the elements of effective storytelling.”
Dennis had been vocal on topics surrounding academia, science and pseudoscience on social media for several years. Thus, he readily volunteered to co-organize the March for Science in Lisbon, in 2017. He wants to disseminate the understanding of science, humanities and academia by the public, but also systemic changes within academia.
“The population says, ‘this external funding lowers the trust in science!’ “ – Tanja Gabriele Baudson
“I think our task as citizens and as people interested in science, and in truth, and in freedom, [is] to prevent that something like what happened in the United States is going to happen in Germany aswell.” – Claus Martin
Mark the date! The March for Science 2018 is on April 14th! Last year, the March for Science in Germany was the largest (in terms of number of marches) outside the USA. Dr. Tanja Gabriele Baudson, giftedness researcher and visiting professor at the University of Luxemburg, and Claus Martin, a director and composer from Mühlheim, brought local organizer teams together, and coordinated them! In our first external interview, the two describe how they decided to take the initiative. We also cover what they identified as the issue underlying the spread of anti-science sentiments in Germany: a lack of trust in science in the population due to the influence of third party funding. And finally we talk about activities planned for this year’s March for Science in Germany.
“people should learn scientific knowledge to be able to discuss important topics and use science for good”
Our guest is Gabriella Ferreira, a masters student in Science Philosophy. She talks about her work at the Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência, and her studies of Science Philosophy. Gabriella showcases the importance of historical collections for current research efforts. Work done in natural history museums can be applied to conservation purposes, and to study the evolution of species.
She further talks about the history of science. Some of the questions posed by ancient natural philosophers are still studied, today, using modern science. We also talked a bit about modern bio-ethical problems.
In 2017, Hugo Bettencourt was finalist of the Portuguese section of the science communication competition ‘FameLab’, and appeared at the Noite Europeia dos Investigadores 2017. Here, he talks about this experience.
FameLab is an international science communication competition initiated by the British Council. Hugo explains the application process, and what is expected from the presentations. He also shares some of what he learned in the special science communication workshop for finalists. At the end he had a great experience and made some friends. And it even got him some additional gigs as a science communicator.