December 2013



We’re running a series of guest posts from the judges of the 2013 Chemistry World science communication competition. Here, science writer and broadcaster Quentin Cooper  explains his interpretation of ‘openness in science’.

How do you feel about judging a science communication competition?

I’m always a little resistant to judging, because it’s always dangerous to judge anybody else. One of the things you’re trying to encourage in science communication is innovation. There’s always a slight danger of turning up and being the ‘old guard’ accidentally – those of us who already do it standing in judgement of those who are finding new ways to do it. We have to be careful because something that we think is not a good way, because it’s something terribly new and terribly different, might actually turn out to be something brilliant. With that caveat, I’ll do anything I can to encourage good science communication. (more…)

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The Chemistry World office is bedecked in tinsel, ready to celebrate the festive period. And as a thank you for celebrating with us, we’re going to send a Chemistry World mug to each of our favourite festive chemistrees!

On a recent trip to the chemistry department at the University of York, I spotted a different interpretation of the traditional Christmas decorations…

So we tweeted about it…

(more…)

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Success in science is a tricky thing to measure. The existing frameworks use journal output, number of successful PhD students and amount of grant funding achieved as metrics by which to measure scientific success.

But this certainly isn’t the only way for scientists to succeed. Once you break out of the confines of academia and into the world of business and enterprise, the criteria change dramatically.

I’ve recently been visiting people who have been winners of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition. These are researchers who have developed their scientific research into a marketable product. Some ideas are already spun out into businesses, with funding and a solid business plan, others are still within their parent university, their promising product prepared and proven, but not yet part of a business structure.

There’s one thing they all have in common – entrepreneurship. (more…)

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We’re running a series of guest posts from the judges of the 2013 Chemistry World science communication competition. Here, science writer and Chemistry World columnist Philip Ball considers the place of chemistry in open science initiatives.

 

In the energetic current discussion about openness in science, chemistry has been largely absent. With the one obvious exception of drug trials – how can we encourage pharmaceutical companies to be more upfront with their findings? – chemistry seems to have been lost somewhere in the space between the life sciences, where the focus is on the accessibility and intelligibility of huge data sets, and physics, where open-access and participatory crowd-sourcing are already well advanced in projects such as the arXiv preprint server and Galaxy Zoo. Perhaps another way of saying this is that it is less obvious what is at stake for chemistry. Might it have continued to thrive on the basis of old models of how science is done, if left alone to do so? (more…)

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