November 5, 2008
Obama and science – Essential bed-time reading for the next Administration
Finally, the campaigning is over, everyone knows more about fruit flies than they ever wanted to (thank you Sarah Palin), and on an historic day America has “voted for change.” As the country looks forward to a radical change in leadership, the coming weeks are going to be wall-to-wall analysis of what an Obama administration will mean for everything from the economy to energy. And 2020science.org will be there in the thick of things. But after a heavy night of vote-watching, I thought something a little lighter was in order.
So here as an antidote to election fatigue are five good books every “convalescing campaigner” should have by their bedside as they work on regaining their strength. And as you might expect, I’ve thrown in a subtle but nevertheless significant emphasis on good science policy. Read the rest of this entry »
October 16, 2008
Whoever would have thought a science juggling act could be so much fun? Or so informative? Yet a couple of weeks back I found myself grinning like a ten year-old as I sat reviewing a new set of nanotech DVDs. The culprit: “The Amazing Nano Brothers Juggling Show;” one of the highlights of Talking Nano-a just-released set of six professionally produced educational DVDs on nanotechnology from the Nanoscale Informal Science and Engineering (NISE) Network.
Talking Nano attempts to bring the mysteries of nanotechnology to the masses. And it does this pretty well… Read the rest of this entry »
October 5, 2008
The silent rave might seem a rather bizarre social phenomenon; a group of strangers converging in a public place and dancing to their own individual iPod soundtracks. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the emerging technology community has been indulging in the new tech-equivalent of silent raves for some time now.
These suspicions are probably the delusional by-product of jetlag. But travelling back from the latest in a long line of multi-stakeholder nanotechnology meetings last week, the analogy hit a chord… Read the rest of this entry »
September 30, 2008
The October issue of Esquire magazine is remarkable. Not for the world’s first e-ink cover (appearing on limited special editions of the magazine). But because three of the five scientists featured amongst the seventy-five most influential people of the twenty first century are synthetic biologists… Read the rest of this entry »
May 17, 2008
“Nanotechnology” as an overarching concept is great for sweeping statements and sound bites, but falls short when it comes to real-world decision-making. As nanoscale technologies are increasingly used in everything from antimicrobial socks to anti-cancer drugs, perhaps its time to rethink how we talk about the myriad diverse technologies that fall, slip or are forcibly squeezed under this all-encompassing banner. Read the rest of this entry »
May 8, 2008
My worst nightmare—I’m sitting at the back of a small plane (by the bathroom), my knees up round my ears (because someone else with a bigger case got to the overhead storage before me), and a small child screaming its head off two rows down. But unlike a nightmare, this is reality, and waking up to a better life is not an option! What did I do to deserve this? The polite answer—agree to speak at yet another nano-meeting! Read the rest of this entry »
April 13, 2008
Here’s a small diversion for a slow Sunday afternoon: Take sixty jellybeans and ninety cocktail sticks, and try to construct a model of a buckyball—a carbon-60 molecule. It’s tricky, but not impossible.
Constructing a candy buckminster fullerene is one of ten nano “experiments” in a new nanotechnology education kit from nanobits. Designed to enthuse and inform kids in school and at home about nanotechnology, the nanobits kit grew out of Nanovic (Nanotechnology Victoria Ltd.)—an Australian initiative to translate nanotechnology research into commercial applications. Read the rest of this entry »