#23 Journalism from STS Science Communication Master’s Students 2022 | WeAreSTS
Release Date: 01/01/2023
Hollywood chooses to portray experts in particular – sometimes peculiar – ways. Those choices have profound impacts on how audiences think about subjects as diverse as dinosaurs, robots, and climate catastrophes. But do those portrayals also change the way we think about the experts themselves and the process of expertise? Does Hollywood play some kind of under-the-table role in teaching us which experts to trust? That’s the theme for today’s podcast. Today, we listen in on a conversation between three experts here in STS who study science policy making as a process. They talk about a...info_outline #29 Can Comedy Help Us Tackle Conversations About Climate Change? | WeAreSTS
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
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 tools they have through a laptop and phone. The goal is to mimic real-world work as a freelance journalist.
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 proposals. Research of different kinds. Creativity. And Challenge. We diversify our curriculum because we’re training for a flexible future: a world of work that is as varied as we can imagine.
For today, I’ve brought together eight of the student projects that appeal to me. They’re varied, and they deliver the assignment is different ways. Think of this as a sampler. Details about each track are in the show notes.
The whole syllabus for HPSC0122 Science Journalism:
Track 1. Tackling Far-Right Extremism Online, Thorin Bristow
For this newscast I interviewed CianO’Donovan on his recent research published in the Journal of Peer Production titled “Collective Capabilities For Resisting Far-Right Extremism Online And In The Real World”. We discuss the problem of far-right extremism in the digital sphere, and Cian’s associated work with the Far Right Observatory in Ireland. The intersections of digital technologies, tech firms, and society are explored, following Cian’s harms-first approach to research.
Track 2. Planetary bodies observed for the first time in habitable zone of a dead star, Bharadwaj Vangipuram
The podcast gives the audience a brief introduction of what white dwarf stars is and how relevant their study is to our solar system and the universe. With the stage set with what white dwarfs are and the research mentioned, the podcast dives into the procedure of the discovery which included: Identifying recurring patterns, Habitable zone, Inference from debris to planets. The podcast also gives the audience an insight into what are the difficulties faced by the team during the discovery which included constrained resources (Telescope time) and the luck involved in it.
Track 3. Is it healthy for children to follow plant based diets?, Sophie Reich-Michalik
This podcast is framed as a weekly occurring feature about sustainable living, targeted primarily at families. This week's episode is about the health effects of plant based diets for children. Professor Jonathan Wells is interviewed about his recent study “Growth, body composition, and cardiovascular and nutritional risk of 5- to 10-y-old children consuming vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore diets.” In the episode, he explains how his study was conducted, his findings and his suggestions for parents with children interested in following a plant based diet.
Track 4. New research in UCL on sex differences reveals the urgency of mental health gendered medicine, Eve Barro
The newscast highlights the implications of a new paper Freya Pentice published a few months ago about sex differences in cardiac interception, the ability to feel internal cardiac signals. We explore together what impact such research can have on personalised mental health intervention and the importance of conducting and communicating properly about gendered medicine related topics given the particularly sensitive topics sex and gender currently are in our society.
Track 5. Covid-19: Misery for Care Home Residents and Staff Continued, Qitian Mao
Although our communities have paid much attention to the pandemic, there is much less importance placed on those most vulnerable populations living and working in care homes. Led by UCL Professor Laura Shallcross at the Institute of Health Informatics, a national study, VIVALDI, is launched to investigate COVID-19 infections in care homes. Professor Laura Shallcross is invited and interviewed online; and she indicates a much higher Covid infection risk for people in care homes and a continued efforts to protect them. The background music used in this podcast is the Newsroom Intro.
Details to come.
Track 6. Impact of climate change on global food production and the role this plays in widening the inequality gap, Hania Tayara
‘The Climate Society’ podcast explores the role of climate change in exacerbating existing social inequalities. I speak to UCL’s Professor Paul Ekins about his research on the impact of climate change on global food production, and the role this plays in widening the inequality gap. We discuss how localised food shortages due to weather events have disproportionately impacted poor countries and poorer people in rich countries, and whose responsibility it is to mitigate this as the climate crisis worsens.
Track 7. UCL’s COVID-19 Social Study is the largest scientific research on the psychological and social impact of the pandemic in the UK, Paula Munoz Arriaza
This episode highlights the UCL COVID-19 Social Study, the largest scientific research on the psychological and social impact of the pandemic in the UK. Therefore, it analyses why mental health has become a concern for research, the most vulnerable social groups during the pandemic, how much mental health rates have changed in the UK, and what actions could address this issue.
Track 8. The neurodevelopmental condition known as stammering, along with the mental health of children and young adults who have a stammer, Flo Cornish
I explore the relationship between stammering and symptoms of anxiety. The positive correlation between the two may not be an inherent result of the stammering condition, but rather a result of how society perceives those who stammer. This in turn affects the lives of stammering people, both in terms of human relationships and the treatment they receive. I spoke with clinical speech therapist and UCL PhD candidate Ria Bernard to gain some valuable insights.
Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
Intro and Exit music
“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
“Laconic Granny,” by Kevin MacLeod
Both are available on the website: filmmusic.IO
WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:
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WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.
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