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WeAreSTS podcast - episode guide

A podcast exploring research and teaching underway in Science and Technology Studies (STS) at UCL. Learn more about the subject, the people, and the careers. Learn more about how you can join us.

 

WeAreSTS - Science and Technology Studies at UCL (University College London)
Hosted by Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology, WeAreSTS is an official podcast of UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS). WeAreSTS includes project work from STS students and staff. We have five ways students can be involved with interviews, production, and project development. We also encourage freelance development from STS students and staff.

Our overall goal is to help teachers, prospective applicants, and influencers answer questions about our subject: 

  • What is STS?
  • What does work in the subject involve?
  • Why would I want to do it, too?
  • What do people do with an STS degree?
  • Is this career direction for me?

WeAreSTS is available for listening on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, SoundCloud and most other podcast listening apps. You also can find us on Libsyn.

Bonus Episodes from the STS Newsroom

Students are desperate for job experience. Over the summer this year, we ran a traineeship programme in journalism. We called it the “STSNewsRoom” – and wow! what a success. We worked for 8 weeks with two goals – first, create the 2021 edition of our annual newsletter, STS Alchemy. You can see that on our website.

The second task was to create podcasts. We asked students in the newsroom to decide what story they wanted to tell, go off and create the interviews, help each other solve problems they encountered, then produce the podcast as something around a 30-minute complete piece. The BONUS episode here are from the students in our STSNewsRoom team.

BONUS STS NewsRoom 3 Pale, Male and Stale? Representation of Scientists on Netflix and Disney+, Chelsea Tripp reports | WeAreSTS

 

Play at SoundCloud

The lack of representation on screen is a politic issue on everybody’s lips. I investigate how popular streaming platforms, Netflix and Disney+, portray scientists in terms of gender, race, sexuality, neurodivergency, and socio-economic background. Is representation of the scientist moving away from being presented as white, straight, and male? If not, why do big corporations like Netflix and Disney+ continue to present this image of scientists, and what can we do to improve representation as individuals?

 

The research mentioned in the episode is available as a supplement to the podcast. Depending on your listening platform, you can download the pdf directly or from our website:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/file/13005

Featuring

Presenter: Chelsea K. Tripp

She is profiled in “UCL Scholarship Stories”

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/advancement/case-studies/2021/oct/scholarship-stories-how-deepmind-helped-chelsea-tripp-realise-her-potential

She’s also featured in our annual magazine, STS Alchemy 2021

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/alchemy

 

Interviewees:

Dr Stephen Hughes, Lecturer (Teaching) in Public Engagement

https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=SCLEM77

 

Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Associate Professor in Science Communication

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/gouyon

 

Gemma Milne, science broadcaster, writer, and journalist

https://www.gemmamilne.co.uk

 

Jasmine Chakravarty featured in the break.

 

WeAreSTS Host: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain

 

Music credits

Music in the show’s introduction and conclusion:

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

In the break we heard:

Silly Intro by Alexander Nakarada

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/4786-silly-intro

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Inside the episode, Chelsea uses this music:

-Introductory and end music- “A happy smile on your face” by Music L Files

-Suspense sound effect- “Under investigation” by Iconics Music Production and Composition

-Clock sound effect- “Grandfather clock ticks” by Videvo

-Applause- “Number 1 sound effect” by Soundjay.com

 

Production information

Editing and post-production of the episode by Chelsea Tripp.

Show editing and production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

BONUS STS NewsRoom 2 Odile Lehnen investigates "What is STS"? | WeAreSTS

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“What is STS?” This is a question all STS students are asked on a regular basis – when travelling, joining a new sports club, at parties or family reunions, and when being interviewed for jobs. I find the question isn’t as straightforward as most people want. 

I study Science and Society (renamed "Sociology and Politics of Science BSc") at University College London. 

In this episode, I explore what Science and Technology Studies (STS) is really all about. To do this, I interview three of my tutors about three ordinary things: the fruit fly Drosophila, the car and the idea of standard time. Each of these examples tells fascinating stories about science, technology, and society. Each displays the value of STS as a research skill or technique for investigation. When we ask the right questions, we can get underneath the subjects we study and engage fundamental questions. For example, how is science made? Why did a particular scientific development happen at the precise place and time that it did? How do technologies become established in our societies and how do they have the power to change our lives? Who benefits and who loses with innovation and discovery? How do the ways we imagine emerging technologies shape our future?

Further material

For an influential STS paper written about the fruit fly, see:

For more about the example Dr Martin discussed (fruit fly):

Robert E. Kohler, “Moral economy, material culture, and community in Drosophila Genetics” in Mario Biagioli, ed., The Science Studies Reader (NY: Routledge, 1999), pp. 243-257.

For more about the example Professor Agar discussed (standard time):

Peter Galison. 2000. “Einstein’s Clocks: The Place of Time,” Critical Inquiry 26: 355-389.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1344127

For more about the example Professor Stilgoe discussed (the car):

Jack Stilgoe. 2020. Who’s Driving Innovation?: New Technologies and the Collaborative State (Palgrave). ISBN: ISBN: 978-3-030-32320-2

https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9783030323196 

 

Featuring

Presenter: Ms Odile Lehnen

https://www.linkedin.com/in/odile-lehnen-326130188/

Interviewees:

Dr Rebecca Martin, Research Fellow at LSHTM and Research Associate at Inter-change Research Ltd

https://ucl.academia.edu/RebeccaMartin

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/rebeccamartin386

Professor Jon Agar, Professor of Science and Technology Studies

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/agar

Professor Jack Stilgoe, Professor in Science Policy

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/stilgoe

Show host

Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Inside the episode, Odile uses this music:

“Particles” by Rafael Krux

https://filmmusic.io/song/5696-particles-

“Sugar Fairies” by Rafael Krux

https://filmmusic.io/song/5429-sugar-fairies-

“Sneaky Snitch” by Kevin Macleod

https://filmmusic.io/song/4384-sneaky-snitch

“Garden Music” by Kevin Macleod

https://filmmusic.io/song/3796-garden-music

All music is available on https://filmmusic.io

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

 

BONUS STS NewsRoom 1 Jasmine Chakravarty investigates vaccine hesitancy | WeAreSTS

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As of November 2021, more than 46.4 million people in the UK have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the biggest mass-immunization programme the country has ever run. Most of us rushed to book our appointments as soon as we received a message, keen to protect ourselves from the virus. However, not everyone has been quite so confident in the vaccine. In this episode, Jasmine Chakravarty speaks to four UCL academics to learn more about vaccine hesitancy. She wants to know:
1. 
what it is
2. 
which groups are hesitant and why
3. 
how this hesitancy can best be engaged

Listen to leading researchers from the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and other UCL departments who talk about hesitancy as a process and who try to better understand how engagement around this topic should work.

Jasmine would like to thank her fantastic guests Professor Helen Bedford @HelenEBedford, Dr Stephen Hughes @stephenhues, Dr Katherine Woolf, and Professor Sarah Edwards.

For more information on vaccine hesitancy visit:

https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/immunisation-vaccines/vaccine-hesitancy

For more advice on how to talk to those who are hesitant, see:

https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/08/16/1032001/how-to-talk-to-unvaccinated-people

To read Dr Katherine Woolf’s research paper ‘Dispel myths and build trust to combat vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minority health workers’, follow the link:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666776221001575?via%3Dihub

Find out more about vaccine hesitancy among ethnic minority groups in the UK:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain-vaccines-f-%20idUSKBN2A925Q

https://www.bmj.com/content/372/bmj.n513

To learn more about the ‘COVID-19 Wellbeing Study’ with which Professor Sarah Edwards is involved, follow:

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/11/1/e043418.long

For more information about UCL’s Master’s in Science Communication (MSc)

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/msc

For more about STS Alchemy

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/alchemy

Featuring

Interviewer and episode creator: Jasmine Chakravarty (UCL 2021)

Host: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology <https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain>

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

“Sweeter Vermouth,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/4450-sweeter-vermouth

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Production information

Jasmine Chakravarty edited and produced the main segments of this episode.

The balance of editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Regular episodes

Each REGULAR episode explores research or teaching themes that are part of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Some episodes will be interviews about active research projects. Other episodes will support STS subjects in teaching or public engagement.

Episode #11 UCL’s Warning Research Centre and Disaster Preparedness with Dr Carina Fearnley | WeAreSTS

 

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#11 Dr Carina Fearnley talks about UCL’s Warning Research Centre and her experience testifying before the UK House of Lords

In this episode, Dr Carina Fearnley, Associate Professor of Science Communication, talks about warning research and disaster preparedness. Carina is an expert in disaster warning and public engagement. Her research focuses on ways to improve the effectiveness of warning systems. She’s contributed a lot to communication around risk and warning in the pandemic. Her long-term research focuses on volcano and tsunami warning systems around the world. Her projects involve cases in Iceland, South America, the Middle East, and across Europe. This is real world, life-saving public engagement.

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/fearnley

Carina has been the leader in organising UCL’s Warning Research Centre, which is now running strong. The Centre brings academic and industry people together to focus on specific cases and on fundamentals. This is a relatively new part of STS and it’s making quite an impression.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/warning-research-centre

I spoke with Carina earlier this year, just after she gave testimony to the UK House of Lords on how the country might prepare for extreme risks in the future. The Select Committee’s report has just been published, so it’s a good time to hear Carina talk about her work, the new Centre, and her experience at the House of Lords.

“Select Committee on Risk Assessment and Risk Planning: Preparing for Extreme Risks: Building a Resilient Society”

Final report

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5802/ldselect/ldrisk/110/110.pdf

Watch select committee hearing:

https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/da07ba0d-2ee1-4d93-b645-23c9dadfd07d

Read select committee hearing:

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld5802/ldselect/ldrisk/110/11002.htm

 

Featuring

Interviewee: Dr Carina Fearnley, Associate Professor of Science Communication

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/fearnley

Interviewer: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

"Sweeter Vermouth," by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/4450-sweeter-vermouth

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

Episode #10 CAREERS episode: Help From UCL Careers Service | WeAreSTS

ProfJoeCain talks with Catherine Casale, our specialist UCL Careers Counsellor, about resources available for STS students from UCL Careers Service.

Here in STS, careers thinking is at the core of our degree programmes. Every tutor has something important to say about careers, we have our “flexible futures” agenda underpinning the degrees, and we make big use of the resources offered by services across all of UCL. In short, we work hard at career development and we work with the pros. Students are keen to connect their studies with possible jobs, and they’re keen to build up portfolios that help them stand out in a crowd when it comes to job hunting.

To help us all learn more about the resources available, I’ve asked Catherine Casale onto the show. Catherine is a Careers Counsellor with UCL Careers Service.

Catherine has massive experience listening to students talk about how they see the future. She knows how to help people see the possibilities ahead, then start deciding on what needs to be done to reach those goals. She’s been doing this for many years, both at UCL and elsewhere. And in lots of different types of environments.

Catherine has professional degrees from several parts of the University of London. She also has been a professional coach who helps people write, present, and communicate more effectively.

And here’s a top networking tip! When you meet Catherine, ask her about “Toastmasters”. What is it, and how might it help you build key skills for the future.

This episode is part 1 of our conversation. When we start talking careers, there’s always a lot to say. You’ll see. We’ll have part 2 of our conversation in a few weeks.

For more about UCL Careers Service:

https://ucl.ac.uk/careers

And check out their YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVFCAOjbf4P1b06HAcYssBg

For more about careers information related to STS:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/careers

In the interview, we discussed other resources offered by UCL, for example:

Volunteering Service through Students’ Union UCL:

https://studentsunionucl.org/volunteering

We also discussed the following books:

  • The Culture Map: Decoding How People Think, Lead, and Get Things Done Across Cultures by Erin Meyer
  • The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently by Richard E. Nisbett

Featuring

Interviewee:

Interviewer:

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

Episode #9 Introducing UCL’s new Master’s in Science Communication (MSc) | WeAreSTS

SoundCloud Widget Placeholderhttps://soundcloud.com/we-are-sts/9-introducing-ucls-new-masters-in-scie...

 
 

Admissions are now open for our new Master’s in Science Communication (MSc), with entry in September 2022.

In this episode, ProfJoeCain talks with Dr. Melanie Smallman and Dr. Jean-Baptiste Gouyon about UCL’s new Master’s in Science Communication (MSc). They discuss the philosophy behind the degree, some of its key modules, and how it is designed to balance practical skill development with foundational theory in communications. There also is discussion about how they plan to give this degree global relevance, careers thinking, and how activities in the degree will tie into other activities around UCL and around London.

Our discussion also identifies some key information for prospective applicants. If you think you might want to join us, this episode will give a smooth introduction to the new degree.

More information is available on the STS website:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/msc

For questions about admissions, email:

sts-admissions@ucl.ac.uk

In the interview, we discussed several examples of excellent science communication. These examples were:

Falling Walls Engage <https://falling-walls.com/engage> for the project “Aquí Nos Cuidamos”.

The ePOP Concept <https://epop.network/en/the-epop-concept> for the project “The ePOPers Network”

Featuring

Interviewees:

  • Dr Melanie Smallman, Associate Professor in Science and Technology Studies <https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/smallman>. Melanie also appears on WeAreSTS episode #6.
  • Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Associate Professor in Science Communication <j.gouyon@ucl.ac.uk>. Jean-Baptiste also appears on WeAreSTS episode #2.

Interviewer:

Music credits

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

Episode #8 Gemma Milne talks about her book, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, the STS1Book 2021-22

SoundCloud Widget Placeholderhttps://soundcloud.com/we-are-sts/8-gemma-milne-talks-about-her-book-smo...

 

 

Will robots steal my job? Will gene editing cure my cancer? HYPE is a fundamental part of science communication, the development of new technologies, and the crucially important interface between business, investment, and new technology. How does HYPE work? Can it be used for good?

In this interview, Gemma Milne discusses her book, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, and her interest in HYPE as an ever-present phenomenon in our society. Gemma also discusses how she became interested in studying sociology of technology and innovation research, beginning with her first degree in mathematics, and her later journey through the finance and tech start-up industries, then science journalism.

Gemma’s book:

Milne, Gemma. 2020. Smoke and Mirrors. How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It (London: Robinson). ISBN: 978-1-4721-4366-2.

SMOKE AND MIRRORS has been selected as the STS1Book for 2021-22. Each year, the Department asks all staff and students to read one book in common during the summer, then arrive for the new session ready to discuss both its substance and its broader value. Incoming students should read this prescribed book. It will be the subject of activities during induction week and will be used in Year 1 courses. Titles are selected for inclusion by the STS Undergraduate Programme Tutor from suggested offered by students and staff. For more information:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/about-sts/sts1book-programme

Gemma Milne also is co-host of the “Radical Science” podcast.

https://radicalsciencepodcast.com

And she is a PhD researcher in UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS).

She creates a newsletter, “Brain Reel” https://brainreel.substack.com

Website: gemmamilne.co.uk 
https://gemmamilne.co.uk

Twitter: @gemmamilne

 

Featuring

Interviewee: Gemma Milne <https://gemmamilne.co.uk>

Interviewer: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology <https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain>

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

"Sweeter Vermouth," by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/4450-sweeter-vermouth

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ 

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

Episode #7 Why Has Recycling Always Been Key to Research? Professor Simon Werrett Talks Thrifty Science

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In Britain of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the practices of reuse, re-purpose, and recycle were core to the work of what became science. More important, if you follow the trails left by these activities, you’ll find ideas that reorganise how we should think about the way science was done, where it was done, and who did the work. Professor Werrett also resurrects the old word “oeconomy,” putting it to work to help us understand why reuse was understood to be virtuous. And he explains how industrialisation in the nineteenth century substituted ideas related to consumption and specialisation.

In this interview, Professor Werrett discusses the main ideas of his book, plus how he hopes to extend his analysis to histories of thrifty science in Russia and elsewhere. He also talks about other projects he has underway and some of the joys that come from a focus on material culture in the history of science and technology. In our age of recycling, is thrifty science making a comeback? Professor Werrett argues it never went away. It simply is something we tend to let drift out of focus.

Simon’s book

Simon Werrett. 2019. Making the Most of Materials in the History of Experiment (University of Chicago Press), ISBN 978-0-226-61025-2.

It was awarded the 2020 Paul Bunge Prize from the German Chemical Society and the German Society for Physical Chemistry.

Simon talks about some of the main ideas from his book in a series of short films produced by STS:

https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLqDGBZHFcMlnaTbR1vS266tWaCnnCaCjK

The project described by Simon at The Institute of Making was the 2014 “Emotions, Transformations, and Restorations”:

https://emotionstransformationsrestorations.wordpress.com

 

Featuring

Interviewee: Professor Simon Werrett, Professor of History and Philosophy of Science <https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/werrett>

Interviewer: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology <https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain>

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

 

Episode #6 Why Do We Talk So Differently About Innovation, Asks Dr Melanie Smallman 

SoundCloud Widget Placeholderhttps://soundcloud.com/we-are-sts/episode-6-why-do-we-talk-so-differentl...

 

 

Dr Melanie Smallman talks about her meta-study of attitudes across 10 emerging technologies by public, government, and politicians. Her conclusion: we talk quite differently about innovation. Smallman argues those differences matter for how we respond to the changes taking place around us. Science communication and public engagement needs to be smarter about the public it serves.

Dr Melanie Smallman is Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies in UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS). She’s an expert in science policy and science communication. She’s worked in the UK government, run a consultancy business in policy and communication, and is an experienced researcher of public engagement of science and innovation.

 

More on Melanie Smallman:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/smallman

In this interview, Melanie talks about the research behind her popular paper:

Smallman, Melanie. 2018. “Science to the rescue or contingent progress? Comparing 10 years of public, expert, and policy discourses on new and emerging science and technology in the United Kingdom,” Public Understanding of Science, volume 27, issue 6, pp. 655-673. DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1177/0963662517706452

We also talk about the module Melanie teaches at UCL, “Science in Government”. Details are available:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/study-here/undergraduate-bsc-degrees/undergrad...

This interview was recorded in 2021.

 

Featuring

Interviewee:

Dr Melanie Smallman, UCL Associate Professor in Science and Technology Studies

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/smallman | Tw: @melaniesmallman

Interviewer:

Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain | Tw: @profjoecain

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

Students and staff in STS also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

Tw: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

 

 

Episode #5 Meet the Snouters! Professor Joe Cain Talks about Jokes in Science

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For April Fool’s Day, we talk about a famous joke in the history of biology. Dr Rebecca Martin interviews Professor Joe Cain about the Snouters. It’s a joke that began with publication of a book in 1961 that told the story of an unusual group of mammals discovered on a remote archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It was a fiction; a prank; a joke. That joke took on a life of its own as other people retold the joke, embellished it, and translated it into new environments. Joe has done the historian’s job of tracing these paths. He’s also done the sociologist’s job of drawing a lesson about communities and tribes. “Jokes help groups draw boundaries,” he says. “They do social work, and they do intellectual work.” Joe talks about the project in this interview. He also talks more widely about science and technology studies and its value for interpreting science as the work of people like us.

The research paper Joe discusses is:

Joe Cain. (2018). In My Tribe: What the Snouters (and Other Jokes) Reveal About Tribes in Science. Endeavour. Volume 43, Issues 1-2, March-June 2019, Pages 2-10.

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.endeavour.2018.12.001

If access is blocked, read the preprint version (same paper, different format):

https://tinyurl.com/snouter-preprint

 

Abstract for the Paper

This paper tells the history of this famous joke in science: Gerolf Steiner’s invention of the Rhinogradentia using the pseudonym Harald Stümpke. It follows this story from this joke’s creation in the 1940s, to the relabelling of Rhinogradentia as “snouters” in the 1960s, to later use as an inside joke within zoology and taxonomy. Steiner’s original monograph for these imaginary creatures followed standard conventions in taxonomy and did not disclose its fictitious nature. It was a tall tale for specialists to cherish. Later, Steiner’s joke took on a life of its own as his monograph functioned to identify communities of shared understanding and to spot lapses in expertise. This study places Steiner’s story within “jokelore,” arguing the rhinograde narrative has been repeated, shared, extended, and mimicked by diverse groups so they may accomplish either social work or intellectual work within the context of particular tribes and intellectual traditions.

For more examples of jokes in science, including Equus pantomimus and Eoornis petrovylox gobiensis, visit Joe’s site:

https://profjoecain.net/rhinogradentia/

 

Featuring

Interviewee:

Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain | Tw: @profjoecain

Interviewer:

Dr Rebecca Martin, Honorary Research Fellow, UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)

https://theanatomyofaphd.wordpress.com | Tw: @Rebecca_Martin_

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

Students and staff in STS also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

 

Episode #4 Professor Charlotte Sleigh talks about what makes us human for STS1Book event

Professor Charlotte Sleigh talks about the STS1Book for 2021, a book she has co-written with Professor Amanda Rees. It’s called Humans. In our conversation, we talk about the book and some of its main ideas.

We also talk about the book as one in a long series of projects Charlotte has undertaken in the general area of “animal studies,” a research topic in STS that has evolved in important ways in the past ten years. For example, Charlotte is an highly praised expert on the cultural history of ants, both in terms of scientific research and in terms of different cultures around the world. She’s also currently president of The British Society for the History of Science, one of the top global organisations supporting research, writing, and discussion in this area.

One of the projects Charlotte mentioned was:

  • Stone, Christopher D. “Should Trees Have Standing?–Towards Legal. Rights for Natural Objects.” Southern California Law Review 45. (1972): 450-501

This was later developed into a book:

  • Stone, Christopher D. Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.

Our interview was recorded in 2021 just after Charlotte arrived in STS as Lecturer (Teaching) in Social Studies of Science. This appointment is in addition to her role as an Honorary Professor.

For more about Professor Charlotte Sleigh.

Also, check out the book’s co-author, Dr Amanda Rees.

The book we discussed:

  • Amanda Rees and Charlotte Sleigh. 2020. Humans (Reaktion Books). ISBN 978-1-78914-214-3.

The STS1Book programme is an initiative by UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) that asks all students and staff to read one book in common during the year. This serves as a foundation for interdisciplinary conversations and debate within our community. Each year we try to bring the authors into the department to work with our students to interpret the work and also simply to meet important practitioners in the subject. Find out more about the STS1Book programme.

For more about the British Society for the History of Science.

Featuring

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Episode #3 Comparing Pandemics: COVID-19 and the 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’

What are the similarities between the COVID-19 pandemic and the 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic? What can we learn by a comparison? How does history help us understand what’s happening today? One of our experts in science communication, Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, interviews one of our historians of science and medicine, Dr Cristiano Turbil, to answer these questions, and more. Did you know the 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic probably started in the US state of Kansas? Do you know why the 1918 pandemic is called the ‘Spanish Flu’?

This interview was recorded in 2020 during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Featuring

  • Interviewee: Dr Cristiano Turbil, Teaching Fellow in History of Medicine (@cristianoturbil)
  • Interviewer: Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Associate Professor of Science Communication (@jbgouyon)
  • Host: Professor Joe Cain (@profjoecain)

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Episode #2 Talking Careers with Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon

Every university student has "careers" on the mind, even if they're not sure what they should be thinking about. I talk with the STS Careers Tutor, Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon about this subject. He talks about the new STS student-led Careers Task Force. We also talk about many ideas under the title, “careers thinking,” including the philosophy of flexible futures. As a careers tutor, Dr Gouyon is a specialist in thinking about how students might look ahead to find specific career paths. If they’re not sure how to start, Jean-Baptiste is an expert in helping people get started. For more information about careers associated with STS:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/careers

STS also works with UCL Careers Service, which offers a fantastic range of activities and expertise for our students.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/careers/

Personal tutors also can help guide students through the process.

Featuring

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Episode #1 STS student, Nuzhah Miah, interviews Dr Jack Stilgoe

STS student, Nuzhah Miah, interviews Dr Jack Stilgoe about Evgeny Morozov’s 2014 book, To Save Everything Click Here, asking him why it’s recommended reading for new students coming into UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS).

The book they are discussing is Evgeny Morozov (2014) To Save Everything Click Here: Technology, Solutionism, and the urge to fix problems that don’t exist (Penguin).

The publisher’s description reads: “Our gadgets are getting smarter. Technology can log what we buy, customize what we consume and enable us to save and share every aspect of our existence. In the future, we're told, it will even make public life - from how we're governed to how we record crime - better. But can the digital age fix everything? Should it? By quantifying our behaviour, Evgeny Morozov argues, we are profoundly reshaping society - and risk losing the opacity and imperfection that make us human.”

Featuring

This interview took place in August 2020.

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Bonus episodes

BONUS episodes will showcase student-produced projects. Others will deliver episodes on special topics, or they'll allow listens into our expert discussions about topics as diverse as science policy making, science in the media, philosophy of information, history of dinosaurs, sociology of science, and history of technology.

Bonus: Scientific Research for Development, a seminar from Dr Michel Wahome 

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Towards an Anthropology of Innovation and Policy Development

Dr Michel Wahome presents a wide-ranging critique of the “research for development” (R4D) model in science and technology policy, with special emphasis on its assumptions about innovation and progress. The deepest concerns we should have with this widely used model, she argues, is its deep faith the ability of science alone to solve social problems. The over-emphasis on science and technology alone is misguided. Alternatives - grounded in meaningful engagement, transdisciplinarity and decolonial practice - are available that deliver positive results.

Michel researches technoscientific knowledge and research production in Global South contexts, and the interaction with prevailing ideas about development and technoscientific progress.

This episode is the audio from a talk in the STS Research Seminar series from December 2021. It was recorded via Zoom, and this recording features only the speaker’s presentation. Powerpoint slides are available for download separately.

 

Featuring

Speaker: Dr Michel Wahome, Lecturer in Science, Technology, and Society

https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=MWAHO83

Host: Professor Jack Stilgoe, Professor in Science Policy

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/stilgoe

Host: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Ecossaise in E-flat (WoO 86) by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/3700-ecossaise-in-e-flat-woo-86-

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

Bonus: Should Research into Artificial Intelligence Be Stopped? Professor Jon Agar Explains Why A Former UCL Provost Said “Yes”

Professor James Lighthill, UCL Provost (1979-1989), was the author of a highly influential report to the UK government about artificial intelligence (AI). It questioned what AI was and what it could achieve. Its impact was profound. It was the cause, say some, of the first “AI winter” of the 1970s. Lighthill was one of the leading mathematicians of the 20th century. His work nevertheless was highly engaging, asking questions such as “how do fish swim?” and “how do birds fly?”. His answers led him to firm convictions about what makes good science policy, not least concerning how science might pay close attention to the world's problems.

The bonus episode excerpts from the audio of Professor Agar’s “lunchtime lecture” at UCL in March 2021, with his permission. About the lecture, Professor Agar explains, “I will explore the resonances between Lighthill’s approach and our recent return to grand challenges and a problem-oriented industrial strategy for science….I will present my discoveries made in the Lighthill papers held in UCL Special Collections and the National Archives at Kew that reveal the reasons for this intervention. Given the resurgent importance of AI, we can learn from the past fortunes of the subject.”

The original title of Professor Agar’s talk was, “Why Did a Former UCL Provost think Research in AI Should be Stopped?”. It occurred as part of the UCL Minds Lunch Hour Lectures series in March 2021.

UCL's Lunch Hour Lecture series has been running at UCL since 1942 and showcases the exceptional research work being undertaken across UCL. Lectures are free and open to all. The full version of this lecture, with formal introduction and moderated questions and answers, is available on the UCLLHL YouTube channel.

#ucllhl​

Twitter: @UCLLHL

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/UCLLHL​

About the Speaker: Professor Jon Agar is Professor and Co-Head of UCL Department at Science and Technology Studies (STS). He is a historian of modern science and technology, and he is the author of many books, including:

  • Science Policy under Thatcher (2019)
  • Constant Touch: a Global History of the Mobile Phone (Icon, second edition, 2013)
  • Science in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (Polity, 2012)
  • The Government Machine: A Revolutionary History of the Computer (MIT Press, 2003)

He is also the co-editor of the volume:

  • Histories of Technology, the Environment and Modern Britain (co-edited with Jacob Ward, 2018)

In 2016 he was the recipient of the Royal Society’s Wilkins-Bernal-Medawar Medal and Lecture.

 

Featuring

Speaker: Professor Jon Agar, UCL Professor in Science and Technology Studies https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/agar (@jon_agar)

Host: Professor Joe Cain, UCL Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain (@profjoecain)

 

Music credits

“Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod

Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5

License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

 

Production information

Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.

“WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.

 

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast

Students and staff in STS also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.

Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

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Bonus: Tribute to Dr William Fleming Maclehose (1967-2020)

We pay tribute to our friend and colleague, Dr William Fleming Maclehose (1967-2020). Bill was a historian of medieval medicine and an important part of STS. He was an expert in theories of sleep and sleeping. Bill loved the history of medicine in all its forms and across all the world’s great cultures. 

This episode is an interview with Bill. Students in STS sometimes interview staff for projects in science communication. A few years ago, one of our master’s students, Deirdre Dinneen, did just that with Bill. After Deirdre heard of Bill’s death, she very kindly offered us this recording. We thought broadcasting it would be a small tribute to someone we miss.

Participants

  • Interviewee: Dr William Maclehose
  • Interviewer: Deirdre Dinneen

Music credits

Intro music is “Stylish Background Classical Waltz Piano” by MusicLFiles available <https://filmmusic.io/song/6330-stylish-background-classical-waltz-piano>. License: <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/>

Exit music is “Feather Waltz” by Kevin MacLeod available <https://filmmusic.io/song/3743-feather-waltz>. License: <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/>

Production information

Nuzhah Miah, a current STS undergraduate student, edited the interview and fine-tuned the audio.

Podcast information

“WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL).

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Bonus: Admissions for Master’s Degrees with Dr Jenny Bulstrode

Why study STS at the postgraduate level? What are some of the benefits and key qualities of the programme? What are your options at UCL?

Dr Jenny Bulstrode describes our Master’s level programmes in conversation with the show’s host, Professor Joe Cain. She offers guidance on choosing the right subject path, how to choose a referee, and what she seeks in a personal statement.

STS offers two Master’s Degrees:

  1. History and Philosophy of Science MSc
  2. Science, Technology, and Society MSc

These are available for full-time and part-time study. We also have options to study these subjects while seeking a degree, diploma, or a certificate-level qualification.

This interview was recorded in 2021 and is relevant for applicants considering admission to study in the 2021-22 academic year.

For more information, visit us online:

https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/msc

Featuring

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