Sunday, April 05, 2015

Periscope and science communication: Chris Hadfield leads the way

I really like how astronaut Chris Hadfield has been making waves using Twitter's new live video streaming app Periscope. His broadcasts are often science communication at their best as he answers questions about space flight and the space memorabilia he has around his house (exploding space shuttle bolt book ends anyone?). Oh and he plays some soothing guitar riffs too.

What I like most about these live broadcasts is not just the sense that I'm hanging out with the world's nicest guy but the way he deals with the (wide ranging!) science questions from the live audience. As he chats away looking straight down the camera lens, people pose tweet-like questions that they've typed on their phones, which then appear on screen and he answers speaking into the camera. 

His answers are always respectful of where the person is coming from (no knowledge deficit model of science communication here) and his explanations are clear and often fascinating. He's not shy of being provocative either - when asked by someone if the plans for Mars trips were fake he surprised me with his answer - "they're not fake but they're not real either - it's science fiction." Ouch. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top 3 Unusual Things Overheard at the Innovation Convention (Day 1)

The Innovation Convention 2014 in Brussels has brought together an inspiring and eclectic bunch of people from all over Europe. Here are a few of the more unusual things that I've heard on and off stage on Day One:

  1. "I met some extra-terrestrials on Saturday. There's a lot of them in Belgium and France" - explained the nice older lady who'd popped along for the "Are We Alone" session
  2. "I hate cucumbers" - revealed famous chef Elena Arzak when asked what smell she hated most in the world
  3. "Let's cut the tie" - urged Prezi co-founder Peter Arvai asking the audience to metaphorically cut their ties in half and use creativity to build exciting new businesses

I'm looking forward to hearing more today on Day Two...

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Large Hadron Collider cycling fun

Cycling around the Large Hadron Collider recently was great fun - and I've uploaded the photo below to prove it!

Taking a break while filming for our Institute of Physics video project, I got a chance to pose for this photo underground at CERN right beside the LHC. Just one of the science communication I've been lucky enough to work on at creative communications agency Agtel! Now where is that elusive Higgs boson...

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Stargazing Live coming back to BBC soon, clouds gather in anticipation

I'm looking forward to Stargazing Live coming back soon. This is a science communication juggernaut in television terms, and episode one of this the third series will focus on Mars exploration. It all starts on Tuesday, 8 January 2013 on BBC Two. Here's the blurb from the official site:

Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain host three nights of stargazing and discussion, live from Jodrell Bank. Featuring guest experts and link-ups to observatories around the world.

There's a good reason those global link-ups are necessary - the pesky weather. If there's one thing astronomers in Ireland and the UK can be sure of, it's that it'll always be cloudy when something interesting is happening. So I'm sure clouds are already gathering in anticipation of raining on our astronomy parade. Hrmph.

Incidentally, our Northern Star science documentary (about the controversial discovery of pulsars) also has Jodrell Bank at its heart - you can watch the exciting opening sequence online on the Agtel site or hit play on the embedded video below...