Thursday, 11 March 2010

Coming up - two public lectures on science and the world it lives in

Empty Space weighs something?

Is science too hard?
Curiously, I'm writing this post almost in tandem with the announcement that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked the world's science academies to review work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Like many others I have a growing interest in how science is discussed and understood by non scientists, including me.

I'm also increasingly aware of the need to discuss how science is debated in the media, and indeed how much scientific literacy the bulk of us have at at our disposal, especially when trying to come to grips with some of the big ticket political issues like climate change, environmental degradation, re-newable energy etc.

Two public lectures are coming up in New Zealand which, from different perspectives, and disciplines, will cover this ground in spades. 

Professor Lawrence Krauss
First up, Professor Lawrence Krauss  is coming to Auckland University - 22 March 2010 6:15pm - 7:15pm
Venue: Large Chemistry Lecture Theatre, Building 301, Faculty of Science, 22 Symonds Street, Auckland
Professor Lawrence Krauss is the award winning scientist, educator, author and Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. He is the best-selling author of The Physics of Star Trek, Atom: an Odyssey from the Big Bang to Life on Earth and Beyond and Hiding in the Mirror.

In this lecture - free to all -  he is planning to 'discuss the distinction between science and fiction and between sense and nonsense'

Science - media - scientific literacy
As part of this, Prof Krauss will also cover the 'challenge that journalists face in presenting science appropriately, not only in a society in which scientific illiteracy is rampant, but also in which the public is exposed to a host of scientific fallacies presented as fact in the media'.

More on the presentation, here.

Exchanges at the Frontier
For a taste of his style, see the video above. It comes as part of the  Exchanges at the Frontier series, recorded late  2009 when the Wellcome Collection joined forces with the BBC World Service to host some of the biggest names in world science.  The Welcome Insitute have their own web resource on this, here, plus the excellent  BBC world Service series is , here

Martin Lord Rees  in Wellington 23d March, 2010
Next day, Tuesday 23rd, in Wellington,  Martin Lord Rees, current President of the Royal Society of London,  is giving the Rutherford Memorial Lecture  in Wellington.  He is also UK’s Astronomer Royal and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He will be speaking,  at 

7.00pm Tuesday 23 March 2010
Wellington Town Hall, Wakefield Street, Wellington
(entry via Town Hall Foyer, Wakefield Street)
Lecture title:  The World in 2050
" As a cosmologist, Lord Rees studies the universe, and tries to understand its evolution on grand timescales of billions of years.  But he is also concerned with the much smaller time scale of a human life.  In his book Our Final Century, he gave our civilization a 50/50 chance of surviving the 21st century.

What does he think now, five years on from the publishing of his book and what is his view of how things will stand in 2050? .."
See here , for more
There is no charge but you need to book - tickets are available at 
Enquiries to: or 04 470 5781

Lord Rees at TED in April, 2005
The alert among you will have figured out the TED video is 5 years old - so the lecture coming up in Wellington  follows on from these early thoughts from 5 years ago,  the  time of the publication of his book, Our Final Century


wernmachine said...

Hi Paul.

Thanks for the link to the Virtual Museum of the Pacific youtube video at
I noticed that one of embedded URLS on your page leads to nowhere,

Pls make sure you drop the "%20" namely

Cheers, Peter Eklund

Paul Reynolds said...

oops - sorted now

Bindy said...

Follow the trail on anything claiming to practice Science Technology Studies (STS) or the Social Studies of Science ( The emerging methods are practiced by a raft of information managers turned academic - Especially See Geoffrey C Bowker.

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