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The Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL 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:
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.
Wonderments of the Cosmos
Publication date: 13 March 2014
Dr. Andrew Gregory will be giving a talk to the ‘Wonderments of the Cosmos’ research group on Tuesday 18th March, Room 1.02. Malet Place Engineering Building (same building as the Institute of Making), 5pm. The talk will be on ‘How ubiquitous are cosmological questions (and answers)?’ The group is very widely based and the talk will be very accessible.
To attend, please register at: https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/woc/woc-seminar-series/
STS explores science on a pagan planet
Publication date: 4 March 2014
An Evening with Professor Michael Ruse
Thanks to those who joined us for an evening's discussion with Professor Michael Ruse (Lucycle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University), led by STS's Dr Chiara Ambrosio. Ruse is the author of the new book on James Lovelock, Lynn Margulis, and others involved in developing the Gaia concept. Why does the public find such appeal in the Gaia hypothesis? Why do so many scientists react aggressively (not simply rejecting the view, but adding an unusual layer of invective to their opposition)? Ruse believes there are deeper themes to be found when studying this reception, and there are lessons to learn about the priorities we have in our research.
PhD Conference Review. September - January.
Publication date: 28 February 2014
By Oliver Marsh.
BSA STS Conference – ‘Working together? STS, collaboration and (multi)disciplinarity’
8th London Ancient Science Conference
Publication date: 27 February 2014
The 8th London Ancient Science Conference, sponsored by STS, took place on 17th and 18th February. There were 25 papers with scholars coming from France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, Canada and the USA. Dr. Andrew Gregory (STS) poke on Anaximander: Astronomy and Cosmology and Hugh McKenzie spoke on Plato. The conference was concluded with a reception and a launch for Dr. Gregory’s The Presocratics and the Supernatural. The conference was sponsored by grants from STS, The Institute of Classical Studies and the BSHS. The 9th London Ancient Science Conference will take place on 16th and 17th February 2015 with sponsorship from STS and The Institute of Classical Studies.
Vacancy: Lecturer in Science & Technology Studies
Publication date: 25 February 2014
UCL's Department of Science and Technology Studies seeks to appoint a full time Lecturer in Science and Technology Studies.
The closing date for applications is Wednesday 5th March 2014. It is hoped the successful candidate will join us from September 1st 2014.
STS Prof Hits 4 Million
Publication date: 18 February 2014
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