Sir Paul Nurse and ‘science bingo’

By Siouxsie Wiles 18/01/2013 17

Today I went to listen to head of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse talk at the University of Auckland. His talk was titled “Making science work” which he explained meant “Making science work for society”. You can see a collection of the tweets from the talk here (sorry, most of them are mine mainly because it turns out that I am a speedy live-tweeter, who knew!).

My favourite quote from Sir Paul was this:

Hearing him say that this afternoon, having spent the morning seeing the almost immediate feedback from the first post on my ‘What’s killing Kiwis’ collaboration with Paul Gardner and Mike Dickison, has made me realise even more how important true open science is. Having our “random walk” guided in real time by feedback from our peers has got to be the future of science. Mike is currently working on a new website for my lab and one of the things it will have is the lab book for our crowdfunded Evolution in Action project. Watch this space!

And I’ll leave you with the beginnings of a science bingo card, inspired by the pseudoscience bingo card posted by Michael Edmonds a little while ago. The idea is to have a bingo card made up of the many different stock phrases. For psychics this will be something like “sensing an older woman relative” or “a name beginning with T”, etc. The first person to tick off a line (or even a whole card!) ‘yells’ bingo. Preferably on twitter so as not to disrupt the talk…. Let me know what words you think should be there.

17 Responses to “Sir Paul Nurse and ‘science bingo’”

  • “Who knew” about your speed texting?
    I think quite a few of us know how fast you can text. It is becoming legendary :-)
    I was disappointed that Sir Paul was only speaking in Auckland but when I contacted the Royal Society they did say it would be recorded. Hopefully once this is available one of us can provide a link to it.

  • Perhaps “tenure” might be a word to add (esp. for countries where this features strongly, e.g. the USA).

    By the way, how are you differentiating ‘inform’ and ‘communicate’? I’m sure there’s a reason you have both! :-)

    Michael – I’d like to see* the lecture, too. (In particular, some of his remarks about funding struck chord with things I have considered writing about on the blog.)

    * I’m hoping it’s a video rather than audio recording! 😉

  • Further Bingo keywords: incubation, challenge, synergy, sandpit, interdisciplinary, complex/complexity, spin-off, open.

    Words they will never use (for the anti-bingo card): Fundamental, curiosity, foundation, hypothesis, question, problem, culture, history, mystery, unexpected, surprise, serendipitous, pure, . . .

  • I also was at the talk and I thought it was a good one. It would have been even better if he [Nurse] had spent less time on policy making, implicitly at the highest (and general) level of politics and society, and more time on scientific leadership, commercialisation of academic research and its drivers, or asymmetric discussion in the media, to name just a few.

    The random walk analogy was a nice one. However, there is a distinction between being guided by data and observations and receiving feedback from peers. Both are necessary and they can synergise (or cancel out) but they are fundamentally different, aren’t they?

  • For NZ, and a certain chief science adviser, in particular you’d need to add:

    “employing PhDs in industry”
    “post-normal science”
    “knowledge economy”
    “comparison with Ireland/Israel/’Small Smart economy'”
    “Need a world class city” [i.e. everyone go to Auckland]
    “lack of funding/support for postdocs”

    (not that any of these are sensible or important)

  • H’eh, I mean to say “not that any of these aren’t sensibly or important. One might get tired of hearing the same things over and over, but not quite ready to give up on the ideas behind the buzz words!

  • I made these bingo cards about 10 years ago for our CRI (of nearly no name) when it became innundated with psychobabblers.

    With the new regime about to begin I had been thinking of issuing whistles or beepers – much like QI – and whoever hits the buzzer first will win the point. Given what we have read so far it is going to be fish in a bucket stuff. The CRI of Nearly No Name is about to be called “RSETD Delivery”. (Research Science Engineering Technology Design Delivery).

    We can’t wait to see how it fit on the second row of the business card. How do you spell Calahan?

  • I also attended Sir Paul Nurse’s talk in Auckland. The low public profile (and influence?) of scientists is demonstrated yet again in today’s Sunday Star Times story “People of Influence & effect”. Not a single scientist/physician included.

    While it’s easy to dismiss it as not worth worrying about, since they seem to have mainly included people who they regularly write about themselves(!), it does show that science and scientists need to work harder to promote themselves and their work in the public eye. Or at least our “communicators” do…!!

    General news media (print/website, TV, radio) is important because it’s a way of getting science news to people who wouldn’t otherwise choose to access it. I see also that immunisation back in the spotlight yet again, one of the examples used in Sir Paul’s talk.

  • Jacqui,
    I noticed that too about the Sunday Star Times People of Influence and Effect. Several comedians, a “foodie” but no scientists!

    And some of us are trying so hard too. Siouxsie, for example, has down some wonderful communication work over the past few years.

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