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Archive for the 'Science Communication' Category

Will and Sam are joined by Roz Pidcock from Carbon Brief to chat about communicating science and the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, which have featured heavily at EGU 2014. Find out about the wide range of sessions relating to climate science that took place this week.

Also, stay tuned at the end for a special message.
You can find Roz's blog posts about the science on offer at EGU 2014 below:

The 'Life of the Earth' exhibit at EGU 2014.

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Sam catches up with Jane Robb, the Educational fellow for the EGU, to talk about all of the wonderful educational initiatives that EGU currently run, including the Geosciences Information for Teachers (GIFT) Workshops and the “I’m a Geoscientist get me out of here” project. Jane also provides some top tips to all scientists that want to communicate their research to a school audience. 

Sam and Jane also talk briefly about the gamification of crowdsourcing and citizen science, in order to encourage members of the public involved with helping scientists to carry out their research. The game that Sam mentions is called Cropland Capture, and it is well worth a gander!

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Sam and Will meet up to discuss events at day 2 of the EGU General Assembly; of particular interest was the session on “The Role of Geoscientists in Public Policy”, where a panel including representatives from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) discussed the role of geosciences and public policy. 

Also discussed is the potential creation of a new geological era: the Anthropocene. Has mankind been responsible for creating this, and where is it most evident?

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Sam and Will report back on day one of the Euro Geosciences Union 2014, the largest geosciences conference in Europe. As well as talking about some of the enjoyable sessions that have already taken place (unsurprisingly Will attended some talks on secondary organic aerosols), they catch up with Mathew Reeve and Will Ball from ClimateSnack.

ClimateSnack is an international and inter-disciplinary community where early career scientists interact in order to improve their writing and communication skills. For those of you lucky enough to be at this year’s EGU then come along to the town hall meeting on this Thursday (1st may) evening from 19:00 – 20:00 in Room R13 to hear all about how to better understand your audience.

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For the final day at AGU, Will and Sam are joined by Mark Brandon (@icey_mark) from the Open University and Bethan Davies (@AntarcticGlacie) from Aberystwyth University, to discuss in detail yesterday’s fabulous session on scientific communication that Bethan co-convened, and that Mark presented in.

Bethan and Mark talk about the importance of getting the media on-board with your research, and also reflect on their AGU experiences, whilst big data also gets an airing and Will gives a shout out to his love of models. 

Farewell AGU 2013!

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Will and Sam are joined by Dave Topping, who is also from the University of Manchester to discuss the day's events at the AGU Fall Meeting. We discuss a session on science communication, a subject close to all our hearts, how aerosols are affected by their viscosity and some work investigating greenhouse gas emissions from London.

View of the River Thames from the FAAM research aircraft. Photo by Will Morgan.

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The 5th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is coming out in 2013 and the Barometer podcast takes a look at the 25 year history of the IPCC.

This episode includes interviews of historians who attended the International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Manchester in July 2013, and who spoke in the session "Climate change discourse and the case of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change".


David Hirst from University of Manchester. His conference abstract can be found here.

Martin Mahony from University of East Anglia. His conference abstract can be found here.

Reiner Grundmann from University of Nottingham.  His conference abstract can be found here.


A concise overview of the 25 years of IPCC was also put together by the scientific journal of "Nature" and can be found here.


Presenting: Jennifer Muller

Panel:  Will Morgan, Samuel Illingworth, Nicky Young

Interviewers: Jennifer Muller, Kimberley Leather, Nicky Young

Interviewees: David Hirst, Martin Mahony, Reiner Grundmann (see contact details above)

Editing: Samuel Illingworth & Jennifer Muller


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In this episode, The Barometer spent a day with historians and social scientists at the 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine which took place in Manchester from 21-28 July 2013.

We listened to talks and interviewed speakers from the Symposium named "Gaining it / losing it/ regaining it(?) Knowledge production in climate science, status anxiety, and authority across disciplines". The full programme of the symposium and abstracts of all the speakers and talks that are mentioned in the episode are online here.

Listen to this "Alternative History of Science" episode to find out how looking back to the past can put the science of the present into a different context, and thus give surprising new insights.


This episode includes interviews with:

* Philipp Lehman, The desiccation of the world: debates on climate change and geo-engineering in colonial desert environments in the session: "Climates of conquest? Anxieties about climate variability and change in Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia"

* Christina Barboza, The scientific controversy over the Brazilian great drought of 1877-1880: science under scrutiny in the session: "Narratives on climate and water"

* Simon Carter, Sunlight and health: modifying the sunlit climate in the session "Working atmospheres: histories of climate, technology and economics"


We also interviewed speakers from the final session ("Climate change discourse and the case of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)" ) which we will report on in a separate episode.


Many thanks to Alex Hall and Vladimir Jankovic from the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine who enabled us to attend the Congress.


All sounds and music from freesound.org.

Presenting: Samuel Illingworth

Chat: Dominique Young, Gary Lloyd, Jennifer Muller & Kimberley Leather

Production: Jennifer Muller



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2013-03-20-164.jpgBetween 19-22 March 2013 over 850 pupils from local schools visited The University of Manchester as part of the National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW). The aim of the event was to enthuse the pupils from years 5-9 about studying science and engineering through a variety of stalls showcasing how science, engineering, technology and maths impacts on our everyday lives, and shapes our daily decisions. The pupils had the opportunity to get up close with some of the cutting-edge research going on at The University of Manchester, and take part in a range of activities designed to inspire them to becoming the scientists of the future.

The Barometer Podcast had a stall at the event with a few demonstrations of the type of research we do at the Centre for Atmospheric Science. The pupils were able to look at some real ice crystals through a microscope, learning how they are formed and what they are called, e.g. columns, dendrites and plates. The ingredients and processes for making a cloud were discussed and followed by a great demonstration, aptly named ‘Cloud in Bottle’ emphasising the importance of needing aerosols as a surface for the water to condense on to. Aerosols were introduced including how they range in size, chemical composition and other properties such as whether they like to take on water and therefore if they are likely to make clouds. A demonstration on the size and number of aerosols in a fixed volume was given, which included a baseball bat, 9 table tennis balls, 3000 raisins, and 3 million grains of sugar (not individually counted, obviously)! A particle counter further demonstrated how size and number of aerosols are related; there are a great number of smaller particles. Various household items including talcum powder, air freshener and a toaster were used and the pupils found there were more aerosols from a toaster than talcum powder because they were smaller and so were not visible. The demonstrations were wrapped up with explanations on how we have to study these tiny, invisible particles to better understand cloud formation, the weather and even climate. So if the weatherman doesn’t always get the forecast right they now understood why.

In this episode we find out what the pupils thought of our stall, what other exciting scientific things they had seen and learnt, and how many budding scientists we had inspired.

Vox-popping interviewers: Sam Illingworth and Sam Hardy

Production: Nicky Young

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In the final Audio Diary from the AGU 2012 fall meeting in San Francisco, Jennifer and Will reflect on the the past week as a whole, and also talk about ecohydrology, bags of aerosols, clones and climate science communication.

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