Engaging the public

So it has been a little while since I did my last blog post and I thought it was about time I did another one. Instead of looking at another paper I though it would be a good idea to talk about something that I particularly like about being a scientist. That is public engagement, and specifically, two things that I am involved in in the near future.

The first of these is the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival. Firstly, some information. This is taking place on the 3-5th of May, in Lyme Regis, Dorset. The website with all the information is here: http://www.fossilfestival.co.uk

This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone, of any age, the meet and talk to experts in various fields, from palaeontology to mineralogy. Several groups of people, including myself, come from the Natural History Museum in London as well as people from other institutions, the National Trust etc etc. The NHM runs various activities including an ID table where you can ask experts to identify fossils you have found. Furthermore, there are also talks given (including one by myself) by scientists talking about their research. I do not yet know if the schedule is confirmed, but keep checking the website for more information. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear some new research, presented for the general public.

“Well, that all sounds good” I hear you cry “but I am in London and can’t get to Lyme Regis!” Do not fear, this leads me nicely onto the next thing. (It’s almost like I planned that link huh). This is a Nature Live event. These events are hosted by the NHM, at the NHM by an amazing team. These events are completely free to anyone and everyone and last for 30 minutes. This is similar to a chat show where a researcher from the Museum (any department) is there to talk about their research and answer any and all questions from the audience. (Yes, I am doing one of these on ichthyosaurs). More information about Nature Live events can be found at this web address here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/nature-live/

So why do I think this is important? These events, and any events such as these provide an opportunity for make science accessible to the general public, in such a way that anyone can understand whether you’re 4, 14 or 40 years old. I think this is a very important thing to do. New and amazing discoveries and insights are being made in every field of science and I think that it is great shame if these discoveries remain available in expensive journals that are inaccessible for most people as well as being written in scientific language that can be difficult to understand. It is therefore, in my opinion, something that all scientists should try and do.

Feel free to let me know what you think about these events and public engagment in general. If you’re a scientist and think it’s good or bad, let me know. Same, if you would attend an event like this, let me know.

Hope you guys don’t mind the lack of science stuff in this post, i’ll do something else in the near future (next month, after the fossil festival).

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Follow me on Twitter if you want @didgeman83

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One thought on “Engaging the public

  1. It’s not up on the website yet but the Nature Live events for the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival are going to be on Saturday 3rd of May. I know this because I’m going to be on the London end of the live link. Sorry I won’t be down there for your talks and the traditional frivolities.

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