Archive for December, 2014

Christmas wish list

Christmas wish list

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

For our last post before the Christmas break we decided to collect people’s scientific Christmas wish lists from the department. We got a diversity of answers ranging from the realistic to the fantastical. Thomas Guillerme wants a super computer “that runs everything instantly, like if you have to run a loooooooong MCMC, it spits out the results instantly.” Natalie Cooper says “I’d like an automatic marking machine that could grade coursework and exams for me while I eat mince pies and drink tea. Failing that I’d like some friendly elves who would grade them for me while I [&hellip

Literacy Levels

Literacy Levels

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Scientists and science communicators often make the point that the public are scientifically illiterate and that this needs to change. But why? The line goes that as we live in an age of science so everyone should be comfortable reading, writing and talking about science such is its pervasiveness in 21st century society. Robert Hazen argues for the importance of literacy saying, “A scientifically illiterate person is effectively cut off from an immensely enriching part of life, just as surely as a person who cannot read” (1). However scientific literacy is not something that is easily defined. [&hellip

Vox populi – when science and the public engage

Vox populi – when science and the public engage

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Scientists are now being held to greater accountability by a variety of communities (both public and private), and the idea that scientists should be trusted to work in the interest of the public good, by virtue of their profession, is no longer accepted. So we now have a situation where government leaders and policy makers worldwide are finding ways to effectively communicating science and technology issues to the public and to include citizens in science and technology decision-making processes. This is a process termed upstream public engagement. Successful dialogue should prevent the given scientific issue from becoming [&hellip

When Worlds Collide – Science Vs Hollywood

When Worlds Collide – Science Vs Hollywood

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Film directors often call on scientific experts to lend some legitimacy to their production. A recent, notable example was that of the theoretical physicist Kip Thorne advising Christopher Nolan on the realism of the physics in Interstellar. I think directors ask for the counsel of scientists in cases where they seek to make a film with at least one foot in reality rather than an outright fantasy.  In Jurassic Park, a more biologically relevant movie, director Stephen Spielberg had noted-palaeontologist Jack Horner instruct the production team of the latest findings in dinosaur biology. The book and film [&hellip

Public service announcement: How not to email a professor

Public service announcement: How not to email a professor

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Quite regularly you get emails that annoy you… often they are flippant emails, and sometimes from students. Harmless or probably naïve that they are, they do get up some peoples’ noses. But every once in a while you get one that really gets your goat. Several months after some media coverage of a research paper from my group (as it happens one of my favourite papers I’ve been involved with of all time) I got a real gem of an email. “Woah!!! Who the F*%K is this guy and why is a CEO of an internet security [&hellip

The Sinai Hairstreak: rarer than the Giant Panda and the Snow Leopard

The Sinai Hairstreak: rarer than the Giant Panda and the Snow Leopard

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

In 2010 I graduated from the Department of Zoology in Trinity College Dublin. I spent the next year travelling and completing any wildlife related internship or voluntary position I could get my hands on. I soon faced a dilemma; should I follow in the footsteps of my friends in academia and find a PhD or should I keep searching for a conservation job? I really didn’t know if academia was for me but I knew it would be a great advantage if I wanted to make any kind of an impact in the conservation world. I didn’t [&hellip