In case you missed it
30 July 2010
Here's a list of news items from before August 2010...
More congratulations are in order
Congratulations to Christine Aicardi, who passed her PhD viva on the sociology of communities in artificial life research. Well done.
Our warmest congratulations
Congratulations go to our 2009-10 finalists and prize winners.
Provisional results indicate:
7 first class results
16 upper second class results
1 lower second class result
Of our degrees:
11 BSc (honours) in History and Philosophy of Science (UCAS V550)
4 BSc (honours) in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science (UCAS V551)
3 BSc (honours) in Science Communication and Policy (UCAS P990)
6 BSc (intercalated) Medical Sciences and Philosophy, Medicine, and Society
Awards go to:
Best overall results (STS BSc degrees): Ratcliffe, Stephanie
Best overall results (STS intercalated degree): Holland, Adam
Best overall result for a Year1 student: Jubber, Rory
Best overall dissertations: Eleonor Kilpatrick and Adam Holland
Sessional prizes for outstanding contributions to the life of the department:
Eva Aziz and Faen Cheremeteff-Tracey
(Prizes are funded in part by donations from alumni and friends of the department. Make a donation here.)
New lecturer appointment
STS announces the appointment of a new lecturer in philosophy of science, Dr Emma Tobin. Currently AHRC Metaphysics of Science Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Bristol. She arrives in September.
Student heading to China
We're excited to hear the results from Ms Constanze Bell on her summer placement in the UK-Government-sponsored 'Study China' programme. This includes two weeks in China based at the East China Normal University, Shanghai. UCL has been well represented on this scheme over recent years, and this year is no exception.
Another great conference
Michela Massimi has organised an international workshop, "Philosophy of natural science from Newton to Kant".
More congratulations are in order
Congratulations to Allan Jones, who passed his PhD viva on the history of science broadcasting in the BBC.
Congratulations also to Irena McCabe, who has defended her PhD dissertation on the scientific career of John Tyndall. She is now making post-viva revisions. Well done.
Ancient questions; current answers
The fifth one day London Ancient Science Conference was held on Wednesday March 10th 2010 (details).
Congratulations are in order
Congratulations to Inga Kroener passed her PhD viva, with no corrections. Very well done.
Staff on the move
Prof Hasok Chang has announced his intention to resign from UCL, effective 1 September 2010. He will be moving to Cambridge, where he has accepted the Hans Rausing Professorship of History and Philosophy of Science to be held in the HPS Department at Cambridge. We wish him every success.
Provost congratulates Professor Steve Miller
In his regular e-newsltter, the Provost congratulates Steve as follows:
"Prof. Steve Miller (UCL Science and Technology Studies) upon his election to give the prestigious Harold Jeffreys Lecture. He combines research into the atmospheres of other planets (aeronomy) with a deep interest in the public communication of science. He played a leading role in identifying and characterising the H3+ hydrogen molecule in the atmospheres of the gas giant planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune) in the Solar system and more recently applied this technique to similar examples around other stars. He is also highly active in public engagement work and so is particularly well fitted for the 2010 Harold Jeffreys Lecture."
BBC Radio 4 'In our time' programme features Jon Agar
In the 4-part series to celebrate the history of the Royal Society, Dr Jon Agar featured in the segment on the Royal Society in the 20th century. Listen.
Another two doctors in the house
Congratulations to Richard Milne for passing his PhD viva in December. His thesis is titled:
"No Natural Home: Placing the Promise of Biopharming"
Richard has accepted a position on the CONANX (Consumer Anxieties about Food) project at the University of Sheffield.
Congratulations also to Sarah Star, who successfully defended her thesis in December, too.
STS scores 100% ratings "too many to list" in 2009 National Student Survey
In the 2009 National Student Survey, STS scores an impressive number of 100% ratings. We're well above the UCL average and well above the national average.
100% satisfaction ratings
The teaching on my course
1. Staff are good at explaining things.
2. Staff have made the subject interesting.
3. Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching.
4. The course is intellectually stimulating.
10. I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies.
11. I have been able to contact staff when I needed to.
12. Good advice was available when I needed to make study choices.
15. The course is well organised and is running smoothly.
22. Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of the course.
Positive comments from students
The wide range of topics has given me the ability to gain in depth knowledge of many subjects in relatively short periods of time.
I believe my professors are the best in there areas of discipline and they are very passionate with what they teach. Both these motivate me in immensely.
Small and friendly department, interdisciplinary study and continuity in themes and intellectual ideas. First class teaching and a real sense of involvement within the discipline i.e. invites to graduate seminars and being kept up to date with current happenings in the field.
Teaching has always been enthusiastic and stimulating.
Given bursary, very helpful, probably would never have survived without it.
It's prepared and diversity highly intellectually stimulating and the enthusiasm in which its taught.
They make a good effort in developing your existing skills.
View the full report here (pdf).
Compare us in 2009 with us in 2008 (htm). We're consistently high in these ratings.
"Darwin's in the Hospital" opens
A collaborative project between Dr Joe Cain and two historians at the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine (Dr Carole Reeves and Dr Sharon Messenger) on Darwin's life and work goes on display at University College Hospital. Evidence shows art in hospitals improves recovery times. Details.
We say "goodbye". We say "hello"
This month sees four staff changes in STS.
Prof Donald Gillies retires and becomes Professor Emeritus. His involvement with STS, doctoral students, and research collaborations will continue.
Dr Jeremy Howick arrives as part-time lecturer in the philosophy of science and medicine. He succeeds Prof Gillies running our intercalated BSc programme in "Philosophy, Medicine and Society", and teaching key courses for that programme. Jeremy recently finished his PhD in philosophy at the LSE with a dissertation on the methodology of clinical trials, and he is currently also a postdoctoral research fellow at Oxford.
Dr Caroline Essex is leaving as Departmental Administrator to take up a new role in the MAPS Faculty, as Faculty Tutor.
Ms Kate Hickson arrives as our new Departmental Administrator. Kate is formerly Departmental Secretary in the Department of Philosophy at University of Leeds. From one HPS to another (and so much more!).
Other new staff are noted here.
The British Journal for the History of Science comes to STS
The editorship for one of history of science's leading journals comes to STS with the appointment of Dr Jon Agar as BJHS editor, for a five-year term. Prof. Hasok Chang and Dr Joe Cain have been appointed associate editors.
BSHS Webpage | British Journal for the History of Science Webpage | Dr Jon Agar Webpage
Web project launched: Evolution: A Journal of Nature
This project by Dr Joe Cain provides history and downloads for the otherwise lost magazine in the 1920s and 1930s devoted to promoting the teaching of evolution in US public schools. It was produced by pro-evolutionists following the Scopes Trial in 1925 to give teachers material for responding to creationist pressures.
For more information, visit the site.
Congratulations to our finalists!
A hearty well-done to all our 2008/09 finalists on their provisional degree results. STS would also like to wish everyone the very best of luck in the future. Don't forget to stay in touch!
Awards for BSc students
Top Year 3: Mat Paskins
Top Year 2: Stephanie Ratcliffe
Top Year 1: Veronika Raszler
Top Year 3 dissertation: Mat Paskins
Sessional Prizes: David Self, Stephanie Ratcliffe
Donations direct to STS now possible
UCL has finally worked out a way to receive indivudal donations on behalf of departments. 100% of the funds received this way go to the department, supporting student and staff activities. Consider making a donation yourself.
Electricty Paper Published
STS graduate David Kinahan's paper “Struggling to take root: The Work of the Electro-Culture Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries between 1913 and 1936 and its Fight for Acceptance” has been published in Reinvention: A journal of Undergraduate Research. David’s research was undertaken as part of the ‘Electricity – Invention and Discovery’ project led by Professor Hasok Chang, currently in progress through the 'Topics in the History of the Physical Sciences' course as a successor to the chlorine project. David is currently undertaking a masters in Science Communication at Imperial College London.
To read David's Paper click here For more information about the Electricity Project click here
Praise for STS research
Norma Morris and Brian Balmer's recently completed research project on the role and contribution of volunteers in biomedical research received an 'Outstanding' grade by its funders the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this grade indicates a project that has "fully met its objectives and has provided an exceptional research contribution well above average or very high in relation to the level of award".
The project web-site is at: www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~ucrhnom/index.htm
new book: Descended from Darwin, edited by Joe Cain and Michael Ruse
To celebrate Darwin's 200th birthday, Joe Cain assembled over a dozen historians of Darwinism to investigate the history of evolutionary biology in the 20th century and to assess the current state of scholarship in the area. As part of an innovative publishing agreement to ensure open access, reprints of individual articles are downloable free through the STS Website.
It's official: STS students love their programme
Outstanding results have been reported from the National Student Survey 2008. STS scored above UCL's already high marks in 21 or 22 categories (and that last category is not in our control!). View the summary results or full report. (link)
STS and the RAE
In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) the staff in the department were entered with the Department of Philosophy and Department of History (also including the UCL Wellcome Trust Centre for History of Medicine)
The Philosophy panel classified 45% of the UCL Philosophy research as "world-leading" (4*), plus a further 30% as "internationally excellent" (3*) and a further 20% as "internationally recognised" (2*). This result put it among the top philosophy departments in the country for research. The History panel classified 40% of the UCL History research as "world-leading" (4*), plus a further 25% as "internationally excellent" (3*) and a further 25% as "internationally recognised" (2*). 40% in the 4* category was the highest score awarded by the History panel, and only two other departments achieved it.
A Trip to the Palace for our Research Fellow
One of our research fellows, Dr Maggie Aderin, has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to science. Details. On Maggie.
New face in the department
There's a new face in STS. Have you noticed? January sees the start of a new full-time administrative assistant, Joanna (Jo) Pearson. Jo has been working at UCL since June 2007 - first with CHIME and is currently at the Eastman Dental Institute. She will be located in the Departmental Office. Jo will be helping us with a whole range of departmental activities, including exams, the website, as well as aspects of undergraduate and graduate administration.
How Should Research be Organised? published
Just before the results of the RAE are announced, Prof Donald Gillies' new book appears. The argument is that assessments of research should be largely abolished because they cost money and their effect on research is mainly negative. Thus they drive up costs while reducing the quality of the output. The more assessments the worse it gets. The ideal model is Cambridge from 1897 to 1953 (i.e. from the Discovery of the Electron to the Elucidation of the Structure of DNA). In this period no researcher was ever assessed, and indeed it was entirely optional for any don at Cambridge whether they did research or not. Yet huge quantities of brilliant research were carried out at low cost. Needless to say, nowadays, it is the exact opposite. More information.
Goodbye and good wishes
We say goodbye to Juliette Zhong, part-time administrative assistant. Juliette has been with the department for about a year.
STS hosts the London Ancient Science Conference
The fourth one day London Ancient Science Conference will take place on Saturday 6th December 2008, in the Garden Room at University College London. This is organised by Dr Andrew Gregory. Details.
Kant and Philosophy of Science Today published
Edited by Dr Michela Massimi, this collection of papers originated from a 2007 conference by the same title. The goal is to reflect on Kant's philosophy of science and its legacy for current philosophy of science, such as Kant's conception of phenomena. Publisher information.
STS Observatory launched
Jon Agar has launched STS Observatory, a new blog to discuss science and technology. STS staff and students are encouraged to record any interesting issues in science and technology on the blog. This will keep all of us informed. And feel free to add comments or further information. (coming soon)
Brian Balmer wins an Emmy?
No. But he appears in a documentary that did. "The Living Weapon," an episode in the PBS historical series, American Experience (link), has just won an Emmy for "outstanding achievement in research".
Department opens "Alice Farrands Room"
Last year, we lost one of our graduate students, Alice Farrands, to cancer. She was nearing completion of her PhD about policy making in the regulation of stem cell research. A prominent feature of this research was a large series of interviews with science policy makers, legislators, and scientists. A related project was her POSTnote on ethical scrutiny of research (pdf). Alice taught in the department, and she worked on several research projects with staff. She's sorely missed. In her memory, we've re-dedicated the graduate student's office as the "Alice Farrands Room".
"Truly outstanding" and "a slam dunk for distinction"
External examiner comments on some MSc dissertations at this month's London Centre exam board. Overall, the board recommended seven distinctions, the highest number in the degree's 20+ year history.
Another award winning student
Congratulations to Andrea Marchesetti, now a third-year student, for winning a UCL sessional awward. These are College awards for students with an outstanding record of academic and other performance. Well done!
Graduation! Send us your photos.
Promotions. Hasok Chang has been promoted to Professor. Andrew Gregory has been promoted to Reader. Congratulations!
STS 2007-08 BSc student prizes
Best dissertation: Fiona Rennie and David Kinahan (equally shared)
Top-in-class third year: Fiona Rennie and David Kinahan (equally shared)
Top-in-class second year: David Self
Top-in-class first year: Constanze Bell
Well done and congratulations!
Joe Cain has won the MAPS Faculty Teaching Award 2008 (details)
Beck Hurst. Our administrator for more than a decade, Rebecca (Beck) Hurst, leaves UCL. Farewell party images. Best of luck Beck!