Communicating about communicating science at the National Academies

May 22, 2012

I‘ve just spent the last two days at the National Academies of Science listening to a long strong of folks talk about the Science of Science Communication.  It was a bit of a guilty pleasure for me as I wasn’t a speaker and so could just kick back and listen ...

Think Design – an alternative take on nanotech (in 11 minutes!)

May 22, 2012

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a “TED style talk” on nanotechnology for the University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences department 125th anniversary.  What they got was a short talk on “thinking small”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p77fzbfNyes The other talks in the series are also worth checking out – covering topics as ...

Carbon nanoparticles could be ubiquitous to many foods

May 19, 2012

TEM images of carbon particles from foods containing caramelized sugar. Click to see larger image. Source: Palashudding et al. Nanotechnology leads to novel materials, new exposures and potentially unique health and environmental risks – or so the argument goes.  But an increasing body of research is showing that relatively uniformly sized ...

Nanoparticles, cosmetics and sunscreens – again!

May 3, 2012

Robin Erb has a good piece on cosmetics and safe ingredients in the Detroit Free Press this week – it tackles the very limited regulation over what goes into cosmetics, but balances this with a useful perspective on consumer choice and how this in turn can drive business decisions on ...

Nano M&Ms?

April 20, 2012

Not in the technical sense I’m afraid, but thought it would be fun to post this image of nano-branded M&Ms.  They were used as part of a recent NanoDays session with local school kids exploring the broader implications of nanotechnology. The only substantive link they have with real nano-enabled products as ...

Nano quadrotors – a game-changing technology innovation, but can we handle it?

March 4, 2012

It’s been hard to avoid the buzz surrounding nano quadrotors this week, following the posting of Vijay Kumar’s jaw-dropping TED talk – and the associated viral video of the semi-autonomous machines playing the James Bond theme. The quadrotors are impressive – incredibly impressive.  But I’m sure I am not the only ...

Dip into Mind The Science Gap

February 28, 2012

If you haven’t been reading the Mind The Science Gap blog, you really should. Ten Masters of Public Health students have been excelling themselves as they hone their ability to take published research and translate it into something accessible to a broader audience – all the while finding that elusive balance ...

Is Maynard going over to the nano-dark side?

February 24, 2012

A few weeks ago I spent some time chatting with Howard Lovy for an article for the Nanobusiness Commercialization Association.  That interview was posted by Vincent Caprio on his blog a few days ago, and raised a few eyebrows – was I showing signs of becoming a nano-risk skeptic? I hope ...

Are consumers risking skin cancer because of fears over nanoparticles in sunscreens?

February 20, 2012

This has just landed in my email in box from Craig Cormick at the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education in Australia, and I thought I would pass it on given the string of posts on nanoparticles in sunscreens on 2020 Science over the past few years: At ...

Wonders and Worries – Retro nano at its best!

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 ...

World Economic Forum: Top Emerging Technologies Trends

February 16, 2012

For the past few months, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has been working on identifying some of the most significant trends in technology innovation.  Published yesterday by WEF, these represent ten areas that we as a council felt are likely to shake things up over ...

Superstition and science – another A World Of Surprises video

February 12, 2012

Another product of the A World Of Surprises project with James King and a bunch of extremely talented public health and science students.  This is a video from Gracie Trinidad, and explores the frisson between superstition and science through medieval paintings – with a contemporary twist at the end [make ...

The Tale of Rhino Banana(TM)

February 4, 2012

A product of the A World Of Surprises project with James King and a bunch of extremely talented public health and science students. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsgGiXZSM-w The task was to explore the confluence between mundane and catastrophic risk, which the team does beautifully.  Love the technique, and the subtle touches (note the progressive effect ...

Exploring speculated catastrophe and mundane reality

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 ...

National Academy publishes new nanomaterials risk research strategy

January 25, 2012

The US National Academy of Science today published its long-awaited Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials. I won’t comment extensively on the report as I was a member of the committee that wrote it.  But I did want to highlight a number of aspects of ...

Mind the Science Gap – Helping science students connect with a non-science audience

January 21, 2012

Cross-posted from the Scientific American Incubator blog: Studying for a Masters degree in Public Health prepares you for many things.  But it doesn’t necessarily give you hands-on experience of how to take complex information and translate it into something others can understand and use.  Yet as an increasing array of public ...

2012 World Economic Forum Global Risk Report

January 11, 2012

Cross-posted from the Risk Science Blog The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report is one of the most authoritative annual assessments of emerging issues surrounding risk currently produced. Now in its seventh edition, the 2012 report launched today draws on over 460 experts* from industry, government, academia and civil society to ...

Spare a comment – student science writers need your help!

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 ...

Brain candy for the intellectually incapacitated – the sequel

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 ...

A few Small Issues about Public Engagement on Nanotechnology

November 25, 2011

A guest blog by Craig Cormick. Over the past decade there has been a significant growth in public engagement activities relating to nanotechnology and when you look across all the data being generated you can learn a lot about how the public view the risks and benefits of the technology. That’s ...