11 mins

Jumping the gap between a US and UK high school education

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 ...

4 mins

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

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 ...

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

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 ...

10 mins

The science of VidCon – Connecting with Science & Engineering through YouTube

Where I cover science at this year’s VidCon YouTube convention, take a look at science and engineering more broadly on YouTube, and suggest that for next year’s VidCon the organizers should bring together some of the leading science projects on YouTube with grass-roots science-advocates like Charlie McDonnell and Hank Green.  It’s a long post, but ...

2 mins

Radiation-Crazed Zombies in Anti-Vaccine Hand-Washing Health Scare – Possibly

OK so it’s a slightly misleading title, but I did want to draw your attention to the rather splendiferous Risk Science Blog. When I took over as Director of the University of Michigan Risk Science last year, I wanted to find ways of connecting researchers and students here with a broader audience.  And what better ...

Larry Brilliant: Enabling sustainable humanity through getting serious about risk

Cross-posted from the Risk Science Blog [audio: http://umrscblogs.org/audio/SustainableHumanity_Brilliant_Intros_110316.mp3, http://umrscblogs.org/audio/SustainableHumanity_Brilliant_Lecture_110316.mp3, http://umrscblogs.org/audio/SustainableHumanity_Brilliant_Q&A_110316.mp3 |titles=Wege lecture introductions. March 16 2011 University of Michigan., Sustainable Humanity, Q&A |artists=Rosina Bierbaum and Mary Sue Coleman, Larry Brilliant, Larry Brilliant] [Transcript] I’ve occasionally been accused of thinking big when it comes to Risk Science. So I was rather chuffed to hear former Executive ...

4 mins

The New Toxicology of Sophisticated Materials: Nanotoxicology and Beyond

Cross-posted from The Risk Science Blog Several months ago, I was asked by a colleague if I fancied co-authoring a review on nanotoxicology for a copy of Toxicological Sciences celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Society of Toxicology (coming out later this year). Fool that I am, I agreed.  Interestingly though, as I and my ...

Davos 2011 – Committed to changing the state of the world

Cross-posted from the Risk Science Blog. As it did last year, the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos has left me with a daunting task – how do I summarize the highlights of the meeting in a single, short post? The answer of course is that I can’t – Davos is so complex, diverse ...

A bluffer’s guide to Risk Science in the 21st century

A few weeks ago, I gave a talk at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati under the slightly provocative title “Small Gods and the Art of Technology Innovation”.  The talk is now available on-line (slides and audio at least) – and viewable below – through the excellent work of the folk at CAC. Rather sneakily, ...

3 mins

Basic research and personal responsibility

Dan Sarewitz has a rather provocative commentary in Nature this morning, where he suggests that proposals to increase basic research may be good politics, but questionable policy. The headline alone is probably enough to get some science-advocates’ blood boiling, whether they go on to read the piece or not: “Double trouble? To throw cash at ...

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