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.

Staff books include:

Balmer - Science and Secrecy
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MSc: Join us on Open Day

Open Day 14 January 2015

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BSc: Seen our campaign? 

Next STS Open Day 04 February 2015

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STS news

STS research seminars Term 2 announced

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We are delighted to announce the STSUCL seminars for next term. These will all take place in Darwin B15, starting at 4:30pm, with tea and coffee available from 4pm.

STS's Stilgoe speaks to Parliament

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Stilgoe speaks at House of Parliament

STS includes experts in science policy and public engagement who influence policy makers in the real world. In this video, Dr Jack Stilgoe (one of our lecturers) delivers testimony to the UK House of Parliament's Committee on Science and Technology.

CFP: Philosophy of Information workshop

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This is a call for proposals for the Seventh Workshop on the Philosophy of Information

“Conceptual challenges of data in science and technology”

RRI in Rome

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Stilgoe RRI in Rome


RRI Hub goes to Rome

Following the launch of UCL's Hub for responsible research and innovation, housed in Science and Technology Studies, Melanie Smallman and Jack Stilgoe attended a conference on responsible research and innovation hosted by the Italian government as part of the Italian presidency of the European Union. Jack Stilgoe gave the keynote talk on "why responsible research and innovation matters" at the start of the meeting, which also featured Stefania Giannini, the Italian science minister and the new Commissioner for Research Innovation and Science, Carlos Moedas.

Fireworks, with Simon Werrett

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It’s that time of the year again, and historian Simon Werrett has been presenting on fireworks in various places this week. 

STS PhD student on the BBC Breakfast Show

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Paul Sandby The Meteor of August 18th, 1783

STS are delighted to confirm that the first of our new Haldane Lecture series will be delivered by Prof Simon Schaffer of the University of Cambridge. 

Student Success For Grand Challenge Pitch

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Global Health Logo

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

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Professor Michael Ruse and Professor Joe Cain UCL Graduation 2014

STS has its first recipient of a UCL honorary degree, the award the university bestows on those who have made a lifelong contribution to a discipline and who have a long record upholding the values of our great institution. 

STS PhD students shine in South America

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STSUCL PhD students

4S / ESOCITE joint meeting: Science in Context(s): Souths and Norths

Upcoming Event: Perspectives On Neglected Tropical Diseases

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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

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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.

STS takes on Latin America (part 1)

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STSUCL PhD students

NSS2014 - STS scores 100 percent (again)

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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

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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

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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

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STS announces the departure of Ms Jo Pearson, our academic administrator. She is taking up a post elsewhere in UCL, in Department of Medical Physics and biomedical Engineering. Jo joined STS in January 2009. She leaves STS at the end of August 2014.

Two STS staff promoted

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UCL senior promotions have been announced (here).

Undergraduate Prizes 2014

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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

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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:

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/awe-fear-fireworks-article-1.1853613

STS Contributes to Science Policy

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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

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STS Teaching Fellow Stephanie Eichberg reflects on an Innovative play staged by UCL Biosciences students.

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UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)
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