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UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.
At UCL, the academic mission is paramount. Our ambition is to achieve the highest standards in our teaching and research.
Join us for BSc, MSc, and PhD study.
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STS PhD student on the BBC Breakfast Show
Publication date: 30 October 2014
PhD student Steph Ratcliffe was interviewed on BBC Breakfast this morning.
Yesterday a video was released showing a women being catcalled over 100 times in one day. Steph went on BBC breakfast to talk about her reaction to the video and her work with the Good Night Out campaign which works with venues across the UK to prevent sexual harassment on nights out. More info about their good work is available here: www.goodnightoutcampaign.org
A Clichéd History of Computing
Publication date: 20 October 2014
This Wednesday, 22nd October, the STS seminar will be given by Dr James Sumner and will be titled 'A Clichéd History of Computing. Tea and coffee will be served from 4.00pm in Darwin B15, with the seminar starting at 4.30.
Eugenics at UCL: We inherited Galton
Publication date: 11 October 2014
This film features STS's Dr Carole Reeves discussing Francis Galton and the legacy of his racial eugenics. It also features UCL students doing what we like best: asking questions, engaging issues, and working to make a difference.
STS Seminars Confirmed
Publication date: 1 October 2014
STS are pleased to be confirm the first installments for the year of our ever-popular seminar series.
Getting things underway this year will be Prof Albert Weale of the UCL School of Public Policy who will be talking about 'The Presumption of NICE, or What Is in a Policy Paradigm when It Comes to Health Care.' The seminar will take place on Wednesday 8 Oct in B15 in UCL's Darwin building (PLEASE NOTE the change of room from previous years). Tea and Coffee will be available from 4pm, with the talk beginning at 4:30pm.
First STS Haldane Lecture Announced
Publication date: 22 September 2014
Student Success For Grand Challenge Pitch
Publication date: 19 September 2014
STS students Samantha Vanderslott, Erman Sozudogru and Chowa Nkonda successfully bid to receive a Grand Challenge Grant for their project ‘Challenging Neglect’. The purpose of the Grand Challenge Grant is to enable students to apply their studies or research to the benefit of the wider community in a way that connects with one of the Grand Challenges. Their project sits within the Global Health challenge. Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are of tremendous global health significance. The neglect has led to increasing number of deaths, due to absence of required health care services drugs suitable for the environment and inefficient (often non-existent) prevention and diagnostic methods. In other words neglect has led to transformation of a local public health problem to a humanitarian crisis that requires mobilisation of sources worldwide.
Honorary degree for STS leader
Publication date: 6 September 2014
STS PhD students shine in South America
Publication date: 2 September 2014
Upcoming Event: Perspectives On Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publication date: 1 September 2014
We are running a podcast project about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) called 'Challenging Neglect', see: www.challengingneglect.com . As part of this project we are posting our podcasts online, writing a regular blog (with the help of Chowa Nkonde) and organising discussions relating to the topic. One of our podcast interviewees is visiting London and we are arranging a workshop with him. Dr Peter Hotez is a world renowned scientist and president of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. He has been instrumental in developing the term NTDs and promoting policy intervention. The discussion will largely be based around one of his papers about ‘Blue Marble Health': http://www.plosntds.org/article/citationList.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pntd.0002570
European funding success
Publication date: 21 August 2014
STS is part of a major new programme aiming to use the inspiration of space to interest children and teenagers in science and technology, broaden their minds and stimulate European and global citizenship. Led by the University of Leiden, EUSPACE-AWE is a €2million multi-national collaboration funded by the European Commission which will draw on the excitement of space and achievements of European space science. The activities within EUSPACE-AWE will be used to (i) encourage secondary school children to choose careers in science and technology and (ii) inspire primary-school children when their curiosity is high and their value systems are being formed. Underprivileged communities are a particularly focus of the work, including working closely with the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development in Cape Town in order to ensure a global coverage.
This work follows on from Professor Steve Miller’s longstanding connections with the Europlanet network and other high profile science communication efforts at European level. STS’s Karen Bultitude will lead on UCL’s contribution to the programme, developing a robust evaluation framework for investigating long-term effects of the EUSPACE-AWE activities. Findings from individual activities within the programme will be synthesised by UCL to identify wider impacts and implications.
NSS2014 - STS scores 100 percent (again)
Publication date: 13 August 2014
STS scores well above average
Results for the National Student Survey 2014 are announced this week. For the second year in a row, students have voted STS 100% in overall satisfaction. This is a welcome evaluation of our academic programme and a comment on our department's support system, which combines intellectual growth and mentoring.
Brian Balmer speaks at UN
Publication date: 7 August 2014
Picture: Professor Brian Balmer (left) at the UN meeting.
On 6th August, Professor Brian Balmer spoke at the annual Meeting of Experts, convened to discuss developments relevant to the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC). The international meeting was held at the United Nations, Palais des Nations in Geneva and was attended by delegations from States Parties to the Convention as well as members of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). Prof Balmer spoke at a morning 'side event', "Can we learn from history? The Past and Future Implications of Scientific Developments for the BTWC", with nearly 100 people in the audience. His talk, on the history of concerns that genetic engineering might be applied to make biological weapons, was based on research undertaken as part of an 18-month Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project, 'The Formulation and Non-Formulation of Security Concerns'. In the sessions, his collaborators on the project (Prof Brian. Rappert, Exeter University, Dr Chandré Gould, Institute for Security Research, South Africa; Prof Malcolm Dando, Bradford University; and Dr Sam Evans, Berkeley University) also spoke about their research.
Prof Agar on Science and WW1
Publication date: 28 July 2014
Professor Jon Agar's UCL Lunch Hour Lecture, "Science and the First World War," delivered 26 June 2014 is now available for viewing (LHL site).
Farewell Jo Pearson
Publication date: 28 July 2014
Two STS staff promoted
Publication date: 18 July 2014
UCL senior promotions have been announced (here).
Undergraduate Prizes 2014
Publication date: 17 July 2014
The Department of Science & Technology Studies is delighted to announce the following prize-winners for the 2013/14 academic year. Congratulations to all!
Awe Fear and Fireworks
Publication date: 8 July 2014
For the Fourth of July, Simon Werrett writes in the New York Daily News on how emotional reactions to fireworks displays have changed over the centuries:
STS Contributes to Science Policy
Publication date: 3 July 2014
What Role Can Social Media Play In Science Policy?
Last week saw UCL Science and Technology Studies host the first in a series of new events run in association with the Guardian Science Policy Blogs. The event – a discussion on the topic of ‘what role can social media play in science policy?’ – fought off stiff competition from football (Germany vs Portugal) to attract a sizeable audience from across academic, media, and public sectors. The intention was to provide a discussion based in empirical experience of social media and science policy. The first two speakers therefore provided us with the stories behind two significant events on this topic. Síle Lane, Director of Campaigns at Sense about Science, opened with the Libel Reform campaign of 2009-2013. Social media was used initially to connect groups who shared concerns about risks of defamation – writers and celebrities, as well as scientists – into an online voice for libel reform. Building on this, campaigners then used social media to attract over 60,000 signatories to a petition, as well to disseminate pro-libel reform arguments, activities, and stories. Síle was followed by Jenny Rohn, a cell biologist at UCL and founder of Science is Vital. This group originated in 2010 with a blog post from Jenny in response to threatened science budget cuts. With only four weeks to act social media was essential to acquire rapid support for a petition and a ‘No More Doctor Nice Guy’ rally. Despite the different aims and timescales of the two campaigns, there were a great many common features. Both noted the importance of social media to reach a very diverse range of people extremely quickly, and in making connections between interested parties (including politicians) easy to create – even if just in the form of useful links. But both also noted the importance of offline activities: Sense About Science worked with the mantra ‘a hashtag is not a campaign’ to encourage supporters to write letters to MPs and keep spreading word-of-mouth information; Science is Vital were careful to maintain links with traditional media outlets. This portion of discussion also ended with a cautious note about ‘petition fatigue’ – when social media makes campaigning easier, any single campaign risks getting lost in the noise.
The Closed Loop
Publication date: 6 June 2014
STS Teaching Fellow Stephanie Eichberg reflects on an Innovative play staged by UCL Biosciences students.
STS Research Day 2014
Publication date: 27 May 2014
STS Research Day will take place on Wednesday May 28, 2014 from 9.45 am to 5.00pm in Room B02, Chandler House, 2, Wakefield St. There will be a variety of presentations from staff, PhD students and Honorary Research Fellows of the Department. Topics range between the history, philosophy and social studies of science. All welcome.
Students notice excellence
Publication date: 9 May 2014
STS congratulates two among us nominated for UCLU’s Student Choice Teaching Awards:
New paper: Harvey, Aristotle, Astrology
Publication date: 6 May 2014
ANDREW GREGORY. 2014. William Harvey, Aristotle and astrology in BJHS 47(2):199-215 (link)
Emotions, Transformations, Restorations
Publication date: 30 April 2014
The first in a series of workshops devoted to exploring the emotions and mateiral culture took place on Monday April 28 at UCL’s Institute of Making. The event, organized by Simon Werrett (UCL), Anna Maerker (King’s College London) and Leonie Hannan (UCL) brought together a dozen participants from around the UK to explore the emotions evoked by medical and surgical experiences. Roger Kneebone (Imperial College London) and the artist and sculptor Matthew Lane Sanderson presented to the group, and everyone participated in activities ranging from simulated surgery to copper wire sculpting. Participants will blog on their experiences at the ETR website, which also includes photos and video of the event.
The website can be accessed at this address:
STS Trip! War Rooms & Banquetting House
Publication date: 25 March 2014
By Raquel Velho
Continuing our department’s recent trend (having visited Bletchley Park in November), the first sunny weekend of March had us walking around Westminster in the City of London to visit the Churchill War Rooms and Banqueting Hall. Each place holds a fascinating place in British history in general, and in the history of science particularly.
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