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

by Andrew Maynard August 1, 2011

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 [...]

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

by Andrew Maynard July 10, 2011

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 [...]

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A plug for Risk Science Unplugged. Next up – Gulf Oil

by Andrew Maynard April 3, 2011

OK so this is a shameless plug for the University of Michigan Risk Science Center Unplugged series of discussions (if you’ll forgive the pun) – and specifically the live/webcast event we’re having on the health impacts of the Gulf Oil Spill on April 14. But I actually think the series is good enough for a [...]

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Larry Brilliant: Enabling sustainable humanity through getting serious about risk

by Andrew Maynard April 1, 2011

Cross-posted from the Risk Science Blog [Transcript] I’ve occasionally been accused of thinking big when it comes to Risk Science. So I was rather chuffed to hear former Executive Director of Google.org Larry Brilliant out-big me on every point as he delivered the 10th Peter M. Wege lecture here at the University of Michigan a [...]

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The New Toxicology of Sophisticated Materials: Nanotoxicology and Beyond

by Andrew Maynard February 9, 2011

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 [...]

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Davos 2011 – Committed to changing the state of the world

by Andrew Maynard February 1, 2011

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 [...]

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

by Andrew Maynard January 4, 2011

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, [...]

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Basic research and personal responsibility

by Andrew Maynard November 11, 2010

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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International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies – sneak peak of contents

by Andrew Maynard November 4, 2010

Back in the mists of time, I was approached with a crazy proposition – would I help co-edit a book on nanotechnologies regulation!  In a moment of weakness I said yes, and a little more than two and a half years later, the book is finally about to hit the shelves. I actually think the [...]

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Ten weeks to save the world: Nature does the Singularity University

by Andrew Maynard September 15, 2010

You’ve heard the rumors and read the hype – but what really goes on at the Singularity University, based at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley?  Nature’s Nicola Jones recently went along to take a look, and her report has just been posted – it’s well worth reading. The Singularity University was co-founded in [...]

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Knitting science

by Andrew Maynard July 25, 2010

Sitting in a meeting on informal science education recently, I was intrigued to see a respected academic working on her knitting.  And she wasn’t the only one.  Now I may have had a something of a sheltered life, but in over twenty years of attending scientific conferences and workshops, I think this was the first [...]

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Texas Instruments Graphing calculators – essential math teaching aid, or a scam?

by Andrew Maynard July 11, 2010

Last September regular readers of 2020 Science will recall that I was somewhat taken aback at having to fork out $100 for a Texas Instruments graphing calculator as my son started 7th grade math. One academic year on, was the purchase worth it? (Yes, despite my shock, we did reluctant acquiesce to the school’s dictate [...]

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I’m A Scientist 2010 ends, and the winner is…

by Andrew Maynard June 25, 2010

An hour or so ago, the final winners of I’m A Scientist, Get Me Out Of Here were announced.  To my surprise, I made it to the last two standing in the Silicon Zone yesterday, and have been on the edge of my seat today waiting to see whether I was going to be ousted [...]

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Just how risky can nanoparticles in sunscreens be? Friends of the Earth respond

by Georgia Miller June 15, 2010

Last week, I posed Friends of the Earth a challenge – “What is your worst case estimate of the human health risk from titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens?”  Georgia Miller of FoE Australia and Ian Illuminato of FoE in the US have kindly provided a detailed response.  Rather than just keep this [...]

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A spectator’s guide to I’m A Scientist, Get Me Out Of Here!

by Andrew Maynard June 13, 2010

If you want to participate in the rather fab science event I’m A Scientist, Get me Out Of Here I’m afraid you are out of luck – unless you happen to be one of the 100 scientists and 8000 teenagers taking part. But you can still get a thrill from watching the competition unfold on-line [...]

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As scientists create the first synthetic cell, the future safety of synthetic biology will depend on sound science

by Andrew Maynard May 26, 2010

Last week’s announcement from the J. Craig Venter Institute that scientists had created the first-ever synthetic cell was a profoundly significant point in human history, and marked a turning point in our quest to control the natural world.  But the ability to use this emerging technology wisely is already being dogged by fears that we [...]

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Making sense of nanotechnology – a piece of cake!

by Andrew Maynard April 4, 2010

The quality’s a bit flaky, but I thought I would upload this video for a bit of fun.  It’s the first – and possibly the last – time I will simultaneously attempt to unravel the mysteries of nanotechnology… while baking a cake! Filmed at the National Museum of American History as part of Nanodays 2010, [...]

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