BONUS “What is STS”? Three Ordinary Examples | WeAreSTS
Release Date: 12/21/2021
Ever heard of climate change comedy? Here’s the idea. The climate crisis dominates our news. But more and more, messages about action are ignored. Fatalism is growing. People seem frozen with the scale of the problem. It’s clear we need new ways to tackle these tough conversations. In this episode, STS’s very own Grace Tyrrell explores the growing niche of climate change comedy. With her guest Dr Matt Winning, an environmental researcher and comedian, Grace shows us how climate change comedy works and she explores the question of how these two ideas can fit together. Grace is finishing...info_outline #28 Promising Potential for Generative AI at University: Is it a Personal Tutor for Every Pocket | WeAreSTS
Mandy dives optimistically into the world of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on education as we know it. Think ChatGPT and all those related tools called generative AI. Along the way, we touch on some fundamental and relevant concepts from science and technology studies - including the Turing Test and technological determinism - that can help us gain a more nuanced understanding of emerging technology and big tech. With insights from UCL experts and others in Silicon Valley, we explore the incredible potential of AI to enhance university education, plus we dip into some of the...info_outline #27 Top Stories in Science Journalism from STS Students | WeAreSTS
The assignments students do in STS modules today are nothing like what they used to be. These days, they build portfolios with all sorts of things: short writing, long writing, posters, blogs, in-class presentations. Add to these, projects like podcasts, film clips, campaign strategies, briefing papers, debates, and full-on project proposals. Research of different kinds. They all require hard work, creativity, and rising to the challenge. We diversify our curriculum because we know the future holds work as varied as we do ourselves each day. We want our students skilled up, practiced, and...info_outline #26 Women in History of Science Through 53 Original Sources | WeAreSTS
Women in the History of Science brings together primary sources that highlight women’s involvement in scientific knowledge production around the world. Drawing on texts, images and objects, each primary source is accompanied by an explanatory text, questions to prompt discussion, and a bibliography to aid further research. Arranged by time period, covering 1200 BCE to the twenty-first century, and across 12 inclusive and far-reaching themes, this book is an invaluable companion to students and lecturers alike in exploring women’s history in the fields of science, technology, mathematics,...info_outline #25 Are We Over-Hyping Mindfulness for University Students? | WeAreSTS
Chances are you’ve had something to do with “mindfulness” recently. Maybe you’ve been sent to “mindfulness” training. Or, perhaps you’ve been listening to a mindfulness podcast. Or, perhaps you’re using a “mindfulness” app, such as HeadSpace. In this episode, Franziska Link investigates the growing use of mindfulness therapies at universities, such as UCL, in their provision for student support and welfare. What good are they? What do they involve? What are the pros – and the cons – of this approach. Franziska interviews four people with quite different relationships to...info_outline #24 Who Are Museums REALLY Speaking For (And What About The Rest of Us) | WeAreSTS
Alex Hancock explores how research about museum collections is helping to connect British museums with more of the publics they claim to support. His emphasis is on decolonisation, engagement, and white European power. Ultimately, how do structural inequalities manifest in our museums, and how do we move to a new set of relationships? Alex undertook this project for the STSNewsRoom in summer 2021. His reporting focused on two specific events. First, Alex discusses with Tannis Davidson the “” exhibition at UCL Grant Museum of Zoology, which explores legacy of empire through objects in the...info_outline #23 Journalism from STS Science Communication Master’s Students 2022 | WeAreSTS
We sampled undergraduate projects in a previous episode. Now, it time for the Master’s students. Today’s episode offers a sampler of student-made podcasts. These were created by Master’s students in our science journalism module, run by Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon. The assignment was straightforward: imagine you’re working for a news magazine. Create a three-minute feature about a recent piece of research at UCL. The piece must include a short interview segment, and it must make sense within the context of the show. They have a tight deadline, and they have to work pretty much with the...info_outline #22 Thinking About Internationality: Is Science the Same Everywhere? | WeAreSTS
It’s one of those fundamental tenets taught to every student: science is international; it’s the same everywhere, it respects no borders; the work is the same no matter where or when you are. Assessing this idea is a core task in STS. Our philosophers, historians, and sociologists work overtime on case studies to explore internationality. Our policy and communication experts grapple with variations and work to understand where there is consensus and where there’s consensus. In this episode, Beatrice Han (BSc Sociology and Politics of Science student) investigates science and...info_outline #21 Responsible Media Coverage: Hype in Our Stories About Chatbots | WeAreSTS
Is AI sentient? Do machines have souls? I’ve got an even better question: are these questions the most important ones we should be asking? Headlines claiming machines could be alive are definitely eye-catching. But hype does not come unaccompanied: misinformation, fear, and fake news are close friends with sensationalism. They target audiences who probably know enough about the topic, but not enough to critically analyse the information fed to them. Understanding the role the media plays in opinion-making about new science and technology is vital when we are dealing our own decision making...info_outline #20 Becoming Britain’s Chief Scientific Advisor: Solly Zuckerman | WeAreSTS
Did you know that in March 1967, the British government bombed an oil tanker stranded on rocks off Cornwall? Dan Sharpe certainly didn’t when he began to dig into the life and career of the Britain’s first Chief Scientific Adviser, Lord Solly Zuckerman. He advised prime minister Harold Wilson during this environmental catastrophe and recommended the bombing. Join Dan as he traces the life and career of one of the most influential British science advisers of the 20th century from arriving in the United Kingdom as a young adult, to observing primates at ZSL London Zoo, to pioneering a novel...info_outline
STSNewsRoom 2. Odile Lehnen reports. “What is STS?” This is a question all STS students are asked on a regular basis – when travelling, joining a new sports club, at parties or family reunions, and when being interviewed for jobs. I find the question isn’t as straightforward as most people want.
In this episode, I explore what Science and Technology Studies (STS) is really all about. (I study Science and Society at University College London.) To do this, I interview three of my tutors about three ordinary things: the fruit fly Drosophila, the car and the idea of standard time. Each of these examples tells fascinating stories about science, technology, and society. Each displays the value of STS as a research skill or technique for investigation.
When we ask the right questions, we can get underneath the subjects we study and engage fundamental questions. For example, how is science made? Why did a particular scientific development happen at the precise place and time that it did? How do technologies become established in our societies and how do they have the power to change our lives? Who benefits and who loses with innovation and discovery? How do the ways we imagine emerging technologies shape our future?
For more about the example Dr Martin discussed (fruit fly):
Robert E. Kohler, “Moral economy, material culture, and community in Drosophila Genetics” in Mario Biagioli, ed., The Science Studies Reader (NY: Routledge, 1999), pp. 243-257.
For more about the example Professor Agar discussed (standard time):
Peter Galison. 2000. “Einstein’s Clocks: The Place of Time,” Critical Inquiry 26: 355-389.
For more about the example Professor Stilgoe discussed (the car):
Jack Stilgoe. 2020. Who’s Driving Innovation?: New Technologies and the Collaborative State (Palgrave). ISBN: ISBN: 978-3-030-32320-2
Presenter: Ms Odile Lehnen
Dr Rebecca Martin, Research Fellow at LSHTM and Research Associate at Inter-change Research Ltd
Professor Jon Agar, Professor of Science and Technology Studies
Professor Jack Stilgoe, Professor in Science Policy
Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology
“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
Inside the episode, Odile uses this music:
“Particles” by Rafael Krux
“Sugar Fairies” by Rafael Krux
“Sneaky Snitch” by Kevin Macleod
“Garden Music” by Kevin Macleod
All music is available on https://filmmusic.io
Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.
“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:
STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.
“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.
Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS