Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction


Leave a comment

Science For Fiction:2016

The Imperial College & Science Fiction Foundation workshop for writers to meet and talk to scientists is back for another year.

The dates are 28-29 June, starting after lunch on the 28th and running all day on the 29th.

The cost will be £30 to cover catering. Some financial support is available via the Science Fiction Foundation if necessary. Overnight accommodation, if you need it, would be extra.

Details of subjects to be covered are still being sorted out – and will in part be determined by what writers are after – but it will certainly include astronomy, physics and biology, possibly all mixed together in some cases.

If you are interested drop me an email at d dot clements at imperial dot ac dot uk. Please include any specific requests for subjects to be covered, and if you have any dietary restrictions that would affect what we order for lunch and tea.

Featured Image -- 3247


Leave a comment

The EU Referendum and the Importance of Voting

Why voting in the referendum in June is so important.

sussexstudents

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, the UK will decide whether or not to remain in the European Union, and oh boy is this a big deal. This blog is designed to be accessible, to clear up some common misconceptions about the EU and to explain the methods of voting.  You shouldn’t need any background in European politics to understand this. I am a firm fan of the EU and fully encourage you all to vote, and to vote to stay in.6004.item

View original post 752 more words


Leave a comment

No Science Please, We’re The Government

Government stupidity or a move to gag scientists with inconvenient results?

In the Dark

Scary news. A government ban on state-funded scientists using their research question official policy is set to come into force on 1st May 2016. I knew about this before but was under the misleading impression that the effect on academic research had been clarified. It has not. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether this is just poorly-drafted legislation or a deliberate attack on academic freedom, but it will be very damaging not only to scientists but to academics in any field that might influence government policy. Indeed it runs counter to the logic of “impact” as defined in the Research Excellence Framework, which actually rewarded researchers who had ‘an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia’.

I think this proposal is completely idiotic and more than a little sinister. If…

View original post 174 more words


Leave a comment

No Science Please, We’re The Government

Government stupidity or a move to gag scientists with inconvenient results?

In the Dark

Scary news. A government ban on state-funded scientists using their research question official policy is set to come into force on 1st May 2016. I knew about this before but was under the misleading impression that the effect on academic research had been clarified. It has not. I’ll leave it to others to decide whether this is just poorly-drafted legislation or a deliberate attack on academic freedom, but it will be very damaging not only to scientists but to academics in any field that might influence government policy. Indeed it runs counter to the logic of “impact” as defined in the Research Excellence Framework, which actually rewarded researchers who had ‘an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia’.

I think this proposal is completely idiotic and more than a little sinister. If…

View original post 174 more words


Leave a comment

The Logistics of Scientific Growth in the 21st Century

This may be a rather old post but nothing in it has changed for the better. A warning for those seeking an academic career in science.

An Assembly of Fragments

ResearchBlogging.org

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed a growing number of reports about declining opportunities and increasing pressure for early stage academic researchers (Ph.D. students, post-docs and junior faculty). For example, the Washington Post published an article in early July about trends in the U.S. scientific job market entitled “U.S. pushes for more scientists, but the jobs aren’t there.” This post generated over 3,500 comments on the WaPo website alone and was highly discussed in the twittersphere. In mid July, Inside Higher Ed reported that an ongoing study revealed a recent, precipitous drop in the interest of STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Mathematics) Ph.D. students wishing to pursue an academic tenure-track career. These results confirmed those published in PLoS ONE in May that showed the interest to pursue an academic career of STEM students surveyed in 2010 showed evidence of a decline during the course of Ph.D. studies:

Figure 1. Percent of…

View original post 1,614 more words


Leave a comment

Why EU funding is so important for UK science

Brexit and science funding

In the Dark

One of the figures bandied about by the Leave campaign and in particular by the strangely litigious group  that calls itself “Scientists for Britain” (which has only six members that I know of, not all of them scientists) is that the EU is not important for British science because it only funded 3% of UK R&D between 2007 and 2013). They’ve even supplied a helpful graphic:

UK_RD_2007-2013

The figures are taken from a Royal Society report and are, as far as I’m aware, accurate. It’s worth noting however that the level of funding  under the FP7 “Framework Programme” which funds research is much smaller than the current Horizon2020 programme.

However, as Stephen Curry has pointed out in a typically balanced and reasonable blog post, the impact of a BrExit on UK science is much more complex than this picture would suggest. I want to add just…

View original post 665 more words

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 979 other followers