#30 Don’t Look Up! How Hollywood Imports Science Policy into Films | WeAreSTS
Release Date: 11/03/2023
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
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 couple of films in which experts play starring roles. To get things going, they concentrate on two films: “Films like Don’t Look Up,” the star-studded 2021 Netflix film directed by Adam McKay. And, “2012,” the 2009 Sony Pictures apocalypse film directed by Roland Emmerich.
In some ways, these films are very different. But in key ways, they’re remarkably similar.
The conversation you’ll hear was organised and led by Haes Seung Chung, one of the students in this year’s STSNewsRoom. She keeps things moving, and she keeps our panellists on their toes. In fact, she’s ready to go. So, I’m just hand the microphone over to her, and I’ll see you on the other side.
Interviewer and researcher
- Haes Seung Chung, STS 2023 student in our integrated BSc programme
- Professor Jack Stilgoe, UCL Professor of Science and Technology Policy
- Dr Saheli Datta Burton, UCL Lecturer (Teaching) in Science Policy (Responsible Research and Innovation)
- Dr Stephen Hughes, UCL Lecturer in Science, Technology and Society
- Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
Intro and Exit music
“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
Music within the episode
Endless Dessert- Steven Beddall: Endless Desert by Steven Bedlam | Artlist.io
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