These scientist-communicators deserve your attention!

September 17, 2017

On April 22 2017, over a million people marched for science around the world. They came for many reasons — to celebrate science; to soak up the vibe; to protest a growing distain for evidence-based decisions within society; to say they’d been there. But if there was an overarching message, ...

Have spacesuit, will travel?

August 26, 2017

This week, Elon Musk gave the world a sneak-peek of  the new SpaceX space suit on Instagram. I was passingly intrigued when I saw it. But then came the request from Fortune.com to write an article tying in the new suit to the future of space tourism … First picture of SpaceX ...

Ten reasons why more scientists should be on YouTube

August 6, 2017

A couple of weeks ago I tweeted ten reasons I think more scientists should be on YouTube. I know it’s hard & takes time, but there are lots of reasons why scientists should enter this #scivid contest! https://t.co/P5HWHKRFxe pic.twitter.com/Fb4x5ANJQ3 — Andrew Maynard (@2020science) July 24, 2017 For anyone who’s been following me for ...

2017 Science Showcase Video Contest

August 5, 2017

Can researchers make awesome science communication videos? To find out (and, quite honestly, to encourage scientists to show us what they can do!), we’re running a science video competition this year on the YouTube channel Science Showcase. Entries are being accepted to August 31, with a top prize of $2,000 for the ...

Will driving your own car one day be as socially unacceptable as smoking in public?

September 26, 2016

In 2014, over 32,000 people were killed in car crashes in the U.S. In 2012, more than two million Americans visited the emergency room as a result of car crashes. And an estimated 94 percent of the crashes that cause these injuries and fatalities are attributable to human choice or ...

Taking on the complex ethics of emerging brain technologies

September 15, 2016

Imagine infusing thousands of wireless devices into your brain, and using them to both monitor its activity and directly influence its actions. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and for the moment it still is – but possibly not for long. Brain research is on a roll at the ...

Navigating the nanotechnology risk landscape – pointers for early career scientists

July 28, 2016

Navigating the risk landscape that surrounds nanotechnology development can be a daunting task – especially if you are an early career researcher just getting started in the field.  There are plenty of studies and speculations around what might – or might not – be risky about nanoscale science and engineering.   ...

A fifth grader (and up) introduction to nanotechnology

July 26, 2016

The latest video from Risk Bites takes a four minute dive into what nanotechnology is, and why it’s important.  It was created as a primer for 5th graders – which probably means that there’ll be a lot of 5th graders at heart watching it! It also takes a somewhat less than conventional ...

Elon Musk’s new master plan will take more than advanced tech to pull off

July 23, 2016

Elon Musk – CEO of Tesla Motors – has just revealed the second part of his master plan for the company. And it’s a doozy. Not content with producing sleek electric cars (which to be fair, was only ever a stepping stone to greater things), Musk wants to fundamentally change ...

How risky are the World Economic Forum’s top 10 emerging technologies for 2016?

June 23, 2016

Take an advanced technology. Add a twist of fantasy. Stir well, and watch the action unfold. It’s the perfect recipe for a Hollywood tech-disaster blockbuster. And clichéd as it is, it’s the scenario that we too often imagine for emerging technologies. Think superintelligent machines, lab-bred humans, the ability to redesign whole ...

Guiding “questions” for science communication – personal reflections

June 17, 2016

A few days ago, I was asked to articulate my “rules” for effective science communication. I don’t actually have a check-list for developing science communications (and I’m not sure that a rigid check list would be such a good idea).  But I do have an informal (and until now not clearly ...

What’s the latest on carbon nanotube safety?

June 15, 2016

Just a few years ago, carbon nanotubes were front and center of discussions around the safety of engineered nanomaterials.  These days, not so much. So what happened?  Did we do the science and discover that they’re just as safe as any other form of carbon? Or did they simply slip off ...

How to give the perfect scientific presentation

June 5, 2016

Too often, it seems, the mark of a “good” scientist is the ability to give an excruciatingly embarrassing and incomprehensible scientific presentation – the sort of presentations that litter academic conferences. Borne out of long-standing frustration, I posted a tongue-in-cheek 12-point plan for the “perfect” presentation on Twitter yesterday: How to give ...

Nanoparticles in baby formula: should parents be worried?

May 17, 2016

There’s a lot of stuff you’d expect to find in baby formula: proteins, carbs, vitamins, essential minerals. But parents probably wouldn’t anticipate finding extremely small, needle-like particles. Yet this is exactly what a team of scientists here at Arizona State University recently discovered. The research, commissioned and published by Friends of ...

With carbon nanotubes in the news again, where’s the public interest in possible risks?

March 29, 2016

Back in 2008, carbon nanotubes – exceptionally fine tubes made up of carbon atoms – were making headlines. A new study from the U.K. had just shown that, under some conditions, these long, slender fiber-like tubes could cause harm in mice in the same way that some asbestos fibers do. As ...

Peanut allergy – what does the LEAP study tell us?

March 28, 2016

Peanut allergy continues to increase, and affects an estimated 1% – 3% of the population in Western countries.  Yet we’re still not clear what the cause is. A recent British study though is indicating that exposing infants to peanuts early in their life can – surprisingly perhaps – decrease the chances of them ...

Public universities must do more: the public needs our help and expertise

March 12, 2016

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, has been in the national headlines for months, culminating in its central role at a recent debate in the city when Democratic presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton slammed government officials for dismissing the health of residents. Sadly, not every marginalized community can depend ...

Three ways advanced genetic engineering could help address Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases

February 3, 2016

In just a few short weeks, Zika has shot from being an obscure infection to a headline-hitting public health disaster. The virus is spreading rapidly across the Americas (and potentially beyond), is suspected of being associated with birth defects that affect brain development and currently has no specific vaccine or ...

Can citizen science empower disenfranchised communities?

January 27, 2016

Early in 2015, a group calling itself the Nappy Science Gang hit the parenting scene in the U.K. It was made up of moms and dads who used cloth nappies – or diapers – with their kids, and wanted to know the best ways to keep them clean and safe. The ...

Technology innovation and life in the 21st century: Views from Civil Society

January 22, 2016

In 2009, I commissioned ten guest articles on technology innovation from people working for, associated with or generally reflecting the views of Civil Society groups. Over six years on, these essays still present insightful and often challenging views on technology innovation, and are well worth a revisit. The aim was to expose readers to perspectives on technology ...