Talk to the Hand: Risk Bites, six months on

by Andrew Maynard May 26, 2013

From Risk Sense: Six months ago, Risk Bites launched as a somewhat quirky YouTube experiment in science communication. Twenty-seven videos on, how are things going? Risk Bites was originally conceived as a way of pulling some rather cool insights into the science behind human health risks out of dusty halls of academia and into the […]

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On the benefits of wearing a hat while dancing naked, and other insights into the science of risk

by Andrew Maynard December 23, 2012

Risk Bites – my new foray into the world of YouTube informal education – was officially launched a few weeks ago (although the transition from “unofficial” to “official” simply meant posting new videos more regularly!).  The channel is an experiment in overcoming the tedium and seeming irrelevance of much academic online content by unbundling the […]

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COP18 Doha, Qatar: A positive view point from low on the totem pole

by Candace Rowell November 26, 2012

A guest post by Candace Rowell MPH. Candace is an alum of the University of Michigan School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Sciences, and a former contributor to Mind The Science Gap.  She is currently a research associated with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute in Doha, Qatar. The traffic in Doha […]

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Open access academics: Experiments with YouTube, the Science of Risk, and Professional Amateurism

by Andrew Maynard October 14, 2012

YouTube intrigues me.  Having been dragged into the YouTube culture by my teenagers over the past two years, I’ve been fascinated by the shift from seemingly banal content to a sophisticated social medium. But what has really grabbed my attention is the growth of YouTube as a unique and powerful platform for informal education which […]

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Jumping the gap between a US and UK high school education

by Andrew Maynard July 29, 2012

Tomorrow, my 16 year old daughter is leaving her home in the US for the UK. She’ll be there for the next two years while she studies for her A levels.  It was a heart-rending decision for my wife and I to agree to her living apart from us in a different country.  But the […]

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VidCon 2012: Online learning is where online music was five years ago

by Andrew Maynard June 30, 2012

YouTube is gearing up to transform the way we learn.  At least that’s the message that came across loud and clear at this morning’s VidCon breakout panel on education. In an overflowing room of well over two hundred conference goers, head of YouTube Education Angela Lin led a panel of five leading video makers in […]

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VidCon 2012: Community-grown science communicators smoking’ it!

by Andrew Maynard June 29, 2012

I‘m over half way through the first day at VidCon 2012, and thought I would jot a few notes down on the science scene here.  OK, so maybe 7,000 people haven’t come to the Anaheim Convention Center to hear the latest on the Higgs boson and other interesting science stuff (although you’d be surprised by […]

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Wonders and Worries – Retro nano at its best!

by Andrew Maynard February 19, 2012

Here’s an introduction to the “wonders and worries of nanotechnology” that I think is rather brilliant: It’s part of a series being produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education network (NISE Net). The series is designed to stimulate discussions addressing the societal and ethical implication of nanotechnology – but […]

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Exploring speculated catastrophe and mundane reality

by Andrew Maynard February 4, 2012

Credit: James King Last semester, speculative designer James King worked with myself and a small group of science and public health students at the University of Michigan to explore how a fusion of science and creative art can lead to new insights and modes of communication.  The exercise was part of the A World of […]

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Spare a comment – student science writers need your help!

by Andrew Maynard January 5, 2012

In a little over a week, ten of my University of Michigan Masters of Public Health students will embark on an intensive  science blogging course – and they need your help! Every week for ten weeks, each student will take a recent scientific publication or emerging area of scientific interest, and write a public blog […]

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Brain candy for the intellectually incapacitated – the sequel

by Andrew Maynard December 22, 2011

Two years ago I posted links to ten (relatively) mindless online “games” as a bit of fun, and as something not too taxing to indulge in over the holiday break.  Having reached that point again where anything more intellectually challenging than tic tac toe makes my head hurt, I thought I would revisit and update […]

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Chris Mocella and The Chemistry of Fireworks

by Andrew Maynard December 19, 2011

A couple of weeks back I had the pleasure of moderating an American Chemistry Society webinar on the Chemistry of Fireworks with pyrotechnics guru Chris Mocella.  It’s not quite emerging technologies, but Chris gave such an engaging talk that I thought I would post it here.  It’s a great intro to some chemistry basics, and […]

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Metaphorically speaking, it’s photo caption time

by Andrew Maynard December 19, 2011

A question for you: How many science literacy/communication/engagement metaphors can you see in the photo below? Answers on a metaphorical post card in the comments area below please – I’m really interested to see what you come up with! The photo by the way is the header image for a student science blog that will […]

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Pencasts – a useful educational tool?

by Andrew Maynard December 11, 2011

I picked up a new toy this weekend. (If you want to cut to the chase and see what I’ve been doing with it, please head straight to the end of the post). I’m fascinated by the combination of old tech (essentially “chalk and talk”) and new media that Sal Kahn has been successfully using […]

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Techno Hype or Techno Hope? Two panel discussions on technology innovation

by Andrew Maynard November 6, 2011

I’ve been up to my eyeballs this past few weeks in stuff, and haven’t had as much time as usual to post here.  So this weekend I thought I would take the easy route and post a couple of videos from the recent Symposium on Risk, Uncertainty and Sustainable Innovation. These were back to back […]

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Inspiring teachers – a blast from the past

by Andrew Maynard October 7, 2011

Two years ago, I wrote a piece about ten things that inspired me to become a scientist. One of those was my high school teacher.  We never kept in touch, but through the miracle of the web, that post eventually came to his attention, and we connected again. The other day he unearthed a photo […]

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Contagion, plausible reality and public health: In conversation with Larry Brilliant

by Andrew Maynard September 14, 2011

Blockbuster movies aren’t usually noted for their scientific accuracy and education potential.  But since its release last week, Steven Soderburgh’s Contagion seems to be challenging the assumption that Hollywood can’t do science. The other day I posted a piece about how director Steven Soderburgh and screenwriter Scott Z Burns’ attention to detail and plausibility left […]

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Cool science: The Charlie McDonnell Effect

by Andrew Maynard September 11, 2011

There’s been quite a bit of chatter about the “Brian Cox Effect” in the UK recently, as interest in science seems to be on the rise.  But I haven’t heard anyone talking about the “Charlie McDonnell Effect”. Maybe it’s because Charlie appeals more to a growing movement of teens who just want to immerse themselves […]

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The public and peer review literature: Pearls before swine?

by Andrew Maynard September 5, 2011

This morning I sat down with my 14 year old son and asked him what area of science caught his interest especially.  He answered “the future of space exploration”. We carried out a search on the Web of Science for “future + space + exploration”, and the fifth article returned was “Comparing future options for […]

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Social Media messed-up teens reveal all

by Andrew Maynard August 24, 2011

Is social media messing up today’s teens?  Adults, it seems, love to pontificate on the benefits and ills of emerging internet-based communication platforms  on young people. But how often do they bother to listen to the teenagers they claim to be concerned about? Well, this is their chance. Over this past week, the members of […]

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