Looking for #scicomm mentors

By Lisa Bailey

It’s 3 Minute Thesis season around the country, and I was thinking that they are chock full of potential ASC members! I’m looking for current ASC members who work in these institutions, or who can attend the 3MT finals public events (or any of the training/heats leading up to them in many cases) to let students know about Australian Science Communicators and encourage them to a branch meeting or event.

Please get in touch with me (LBailey@riaus.org.au) if you are involved in any of these events – I think we can provide a valuable opportunity for students to start developing their own networks beyond Uni, and it would be great to have more students involved in ASC at the branch level. They’re coming up soon! I want to see if I can match a member to each final – the first ones kick off in Newcastle, Wollongong and Sunshine Coast in the next two weeks.  Please get in touch and let me know if you can help out and provide some support and encouragement.

Australian Capital Territory

Australian National University – ANU final at 6pm, 6 September Llewellyn Hall, ANU
University of Canberra – UC 3MT Final will be held on Wednesday 30 August from 6.30-8.00pm at UC

 

New South Wales

Macquarie University – Enquiries to Florence Chiew florence.chiew@mq.edu.au
Southern Cross University

  • School Finals: no later than 21 August
  • SCU Finals: TBC (week beginning 28 August)

University of New England
University of New South Wales – Final 13 September 4.30pm to 7.30pm Leighton Hall, Scientia
University of Newcastle – 12 July from 4.00pm in lecture theatre CT202, Callaghan Campus
University of Sydney – August (exact date to be confirmed)
University of Technology Sydney – Tuesday, 29 August at Aerial Function Centre, UTS
University of Wollongong – Friday July 21st, from 5.30-7.30pm, Building 67.107
Western Sydney University – Friday, 18 August, from 2.00-4.00pm, The Playhouse (Building D), Kingswood Campus

 

Northern Territory

Charles Darwin University – Friday 8 September

 

Queensland

Griffith University – Wednesday 6 September
James Cook University – Tuesday 13 September
Queensland University of Technology – Wednesday 6 September
The University of Queensland (founding institution) – Wednesday 13 September
University of the Sunshine Coast – Thursday 13 July

 

South Australia

Flinders University – Semi-Final on 27 July
University of Adelaide – Faculty finals July/August. Uni final Tuesday 12 September
University of South Australia – 24 August

 

Tasmania

University of Tasmania – Friday 8 September from 2.30-4.00pm in the Stanley Burbury Lecture Theatre, Sandy Bay Campus

 

Victoria

Deakin University – 3pm on 2 August at The Burwood Corporate Centre – Level 2 Building BC Melbourne Burwood campus
Federation University Australia
La Trobe University – Wednesday 30 August
Monash University – Thursday 10 August
RMIT University – Contact research.ed@rmit.edu.au dates TBC
Swinburne University
University of Melbourne – 2.00pm – 4.00pm Thursday 7 September
Victoria University – 3MT@vu.edu.au.

 

Western Australia

Curtin University – Friday 15 September
Edith Cowan University – Friday 22 September, 2.00pm – 4.30pm Joondalup campus 7.102
Murdoch University
University of Western Australia – Thursday 7 September

Blowing shit up in the name of science (President’s Update)

By Dr Craig Cormick
President, ASC.

I have a confession to make. I am not a great fan of the BSU school of Science Communication (that is – Blow Shit Up). I realise that puts me at odds with a vast number of science communication professionals, and even esteemed people like Nobel laureate Professor Brian Schmidt – who can often be caught waxing lyrical on the different ways to shoot plastic bottles into the air or make things explode in the name of science communication. But it never really works for me.

Admittedly BSU always draws a good crowd and people love to cheer when things are blown up in the name of science – but I just don’t see the linear connection with learning scientific principles.

I know this puts me in a bit of a minority group, and if you search Youtube you will find an endless series of people who are determined to blow shit up in the name of science, with titles like: Will a thermite grenade blow up a limo? Blow stuff up in the microwave and even Uncle Rob’s Explosive Life Hack Compilation.

I know Mythbusters fans go crazy whenever they blow shit up, and there was even a UK science show, Brainiac, that seemed built around the premise of scantily-clad hot babes blowing shit up.

Now I’m not complaining here about the way we are educating generations to be competent with home-made explosives – that’s another issue altogether. I simply want to see any evidence that says beyond having a hell of a good time, that any science is being learned.

A few websites cut to the chase, with names like: Break Things and Blow Shit Up: An immature guide to science teaching – but I’ve yet to find one that outlines the actual science learning.

There are a few with legal insights though – Boingboing.net reported that a Florida high school student undertaking a science experiment mixed together aluminum foil and toilet bowl cleaner – and to her surprise the mixture exploded. The school authorities clearly didn’t attend the school for BSU though, as they had her both suspended and charged with a felony.

Dan Dubno, writing for the Huffington Post, tries hard to draw a correlation between scientific discovers and blowing shit up as a child, which is almost convincing, until he suggests that America’s diminishing standards in maths and science might be turned around by letting more kids blow shit up.

And a second confession – I have put my share of Mentos in Coke bottles and mixed bicarbonate soda with vinegar in my times too – but I have one plea as a science communicator – after the bang and the cheers have settled, or after the flames have gone out, and after everyone has stopped whooping each other up about how awesome science can be as it lets you blow shit up – how about then actually explaining the science behind what people have witnessed, and how it can be used in real life applications.

Now that would get me excited!

Writing, ice, and really smelly fish: attending the Iceland Writers Retreat

The smell reaches through the air, sits heavy at the back of my throat. I approach the table and look down at the helpless chunks of pale, rotten flesh. Thicker than jelly. We are to eat this creature—the oldest living vertebrate, one that’s swam blindly in the freezing depths for centuries, devouring seals, polar bears, and countless fish seeking refuge from those parasite-infested eyes. Here I am, a clawless woman in a hot room, about to grind it with my blunt teeth. The shark goes into my mouth and quickly comes back out again.

Eating hákarl (fermented Greenland shark) was one of many new experiences during my time at the Iceland Writers Retreat. I’d seen the Retreat advertised online and fantasised about going. My first trip to Iceland had been in July the previous year, and had left me fascinated with the landscape, culture, and people. Their passion for storytelling, books, writing—and any other creative pursuit—made it seem like a wonderful place to gather writers, to share ideas and generate new ones. But without the help of the Professional Development Grant from the ASC, I wouldn’t seriously have considered travelling from Melbourne to Reykjavík to attend it. I’m so very grateful for the time I was able to spend at the retreat. We each attended five, two-hour workshops run by the featured authors. I took part in: ‘Palm of the hand stories’ with Man Booker Prize shortlisted author Madeleine Thien; one on writing historical novels, with Icelandic author and ex-journalist Vilborg Davíðsdóttir; a session on the technicalities of point of view with Bret Anthony Johnston, author and Director of Creative Writing at Harvard University; a session on finding empathy in your writing on both sides of moral, political and social divides, with Danish journalist and author Carsten Jensen; and one on research for writing by Claudia Casper, who writes science-themed novels.

For a visceral demonstration of the difference good research makes to your writing, Claudia had us first write a paragraph describing eating hákarl (with few Icelanders in the classes, it was unlikely we would have tried it). Then she read us some information about the shark, and asked us to write it again. And then we were told we would actually be eating it, before writing the paragraphs again, to compare with our original versions (during which she gave us Icelandic whisky, I think as a sort of apology).

I also interviewed Claudia and Vilborg about their books and writing approaches, and around the workshops there were shared dinners, author readings, a Q&A panel, sightseeing, blocks of writing time, and a trip to meet the Icelandic President, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson (husband of co-founder of the retreat, Eliza Reid).

The Literary Borgarfjörður day trip involved visits to: Gljúfrasteinn, the home/workplace of Nobel Prize winning author Halldór Laxness, with a reading by author Hallgrímur Helgason; Hvalfjörður Fjord; Hlaðir community centre’s museum dedicated to the ‘Arctic Convoys’ of WWII; Reykholt, home of C13th century writer and chieftain Snorri Sturluson; Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls; and Deildartunguhver, Europe’s most powerful hot spring, where our guide boiled some eggs in the hot spring for us to eat with rye bread and herring.

Photo credit: Claudia Casper. Hakarl writers retreat.

Photo credit: Claudia Casper

Immediately after the retreat, I felt something like the old emotional intensity following a school camp. Having been thrown together with a bunch of strangers, who opened such intimate parts of their lives in such a short time, was both exhilarating and exhausting. There were days I would sit down next to someone and ask, “what are you working on at the moment?” only to be told “I’m writing about the stabbings I attended as a paramedic,” or “I’m writing about an abusive ex-husband,” or “I’m using cultural research to write about racism and sexuality.”

But far from furthering any stereotypes about depressed writers sitting about in the cold, I felt the retreat created a space where people were comfortable sharing not only their writing and motivations for it, but where they felt supported and welcomed to both ask for, and give, advice based on their own (incredibly varied) writing careers. Conversations circled from personal stories to feedback on the structure or technicalities of a story, on ways to avoid burnout, ways to approach publishers, the best computer programs to use, and everything in between. The featured authors were often part of these informal conversations outside their workshops, and their willingness to share their own struggles and personal successes was a lovely reminder of the fact they work through the same insecurities and challenges as almost everyone else.

It was my first time at a writer’s retreat, and I hope it won’t be the last.

President’s update: Waiting for Science Comms to be rocked to its underpants…

Waiting for Science Comms to be rocked to its underpants…

So some really significant research was released in the last few years – and I have been patiently waiting for science communications globally to be rocked to its underpants.

But nothing has happened.

Let me explain. The first research was conducted by a collaborative effort of over 270 psychology researchers who got together to try and replicate the findings of 100 key psychological studies.

What did they find? – They could only replicate about a third of them.

The implications of this are pretty profound (to quote Back to the Future III), as it has potential impacts across lots of social science research – including science communication research – that is rarely replicated.

And why is that?

It is key tenant of good science that an experiment be replicated to ensure it is valid. But in the social sciences, not only are there no rewards for replicating research, but you can actually be subtly punished for it – most often through not achieving publication because your work was deemed not new.

And this means that research that is conducted at a particular time with a particular audience is held up as the gold standard to how all audiences at all times and in all places will undoubtedly react or behave.

But what if that is not the case? What if the gold standards of Cultural Cognition and Values and Biases and Framing and so on are not very replicable, or are very dependent on particular situations? Can you hear the collective Uh-oh?

And that brings us to the second study that I referred to.

The key researcher, Joe Henrich, had been doing work amongst people in South America and Africa and noted that social experiments conducted there obtained very different results from the ones that were conducted in North America. And where are the majority of social science experiments conducted? 70 per cent are conducted in the USA, and a huge number of those are with undergraduates. And I would argue that that is not the most typical of audiences to extrapolate data from.

With his colleagues, Heine and Norenzayan, they started applying studies more widely across different cultures and they found that over and over there was one group of people who were particularly unusual when compared with the broad population of the globe. They even called their research paper ‘The Weirdest People in the World’

And you have probably guessed by now that the weirdest people were North Americans! And yet they are the main core for global social science experiments.

They stated, “American participants are exceptional even within the unusual population of Westerners—outliers among outliers.”

They concluded that social scientists could not possibly have picked a worse population from which to draw broad generalizations about how we might all behave.

Granted, we in Australia can sometimes be more like North Americans than we’d like to admit, but we do have some distinct differences. And of course for researchers working in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and the Pacific and so on, the differences will be much, much greater.

Individually, the findings of these two research projects are quite startling, but when you mix them together, they are like the Mentos in the Coke bottle that all science communicators have tried at one time or another.

For when it comes to science communication research gold standards (or even the silver, bronze and other less Olympic metal standards), we really don’t know how much science communication wisdom might not be replicable, nor how much is not relevant in other cultures than where it was undertaken. I don’t think I’m going out a limb here to say – probably quite a bit.

And just maybe that is exactly why nobody wants to talk about it!

If you want to read more on the studies, fasten your undies from a rocking, and check them out here:

http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/joe-henrich-weird-ultimatum-game-shaking-up-psychology-economics-53135

https://theconversation.com/we-found-only-one-third-of-published-psychology-research-is-reliable-now-what-46596

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6251/aac4716

Dr Craig Cormick

President

Australian Science Communicators

Job – The Australian Science Media Centre is looking for a Supporter Relations Officer

1 year contract with the possibility of extension Salary: $50,000-60,000 plus superannuation

Location: Adelaide, South Australia

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the team at the Australian Science Media Centre (AusSMC). We are looking for a Supporter Relations Officer who has a passion for maintaining and building current stakeholder relationships within the tertiary and research sectors.

The AusSMC is a national, independent, non-profit service for the news media, giving journalists direct access to evidence-based science and expertise. We strive to encourage and assist journalists to cover science and to help scientists and institutions engage with the media. Our aim is to empower the Australian public, and ultimately to help build a more scientifically literate society. We provide commentary and analysis from scientists, take inquiries from journalists, run online briefings and help train scientists to engage more effectively with the media.

As the Supporter Relations Officer your main role will be to nurture and manage current stakeholder relationships, reduce stakeholder attrition and grow loyalty.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and confident individual with experience in client relationship management who enjoys meeting and speaking to people with experience working with the tertiary and research sector.

Experience working with the tertiary, science or research sectors is desirable. General office administration, database management and social media experience would also be highly desirable.

————————————————————————–
For a full job description, go to: www.aussmc.org/about-us/positions-vacant/

Apply with a CV and covering letter to jobs@smc.org.au by Friday 19 May 2017

Power tribes

By Craig Cormick

President, Australian Science Communicators

 

There are many people out there who understand that science helps us make sense of the world around us, through discoveries based on analysing data, measuring impacts and drawing conclusions from evidence-based thinking.

  • I’m sorry, I’ll just start that again.

There are many people out there who see science as a rather limited way of explaining the world, and that it is elitist, blinkered and hampered by its insistence on obtainable data.

You might not be pleased to know it, but both statements are equally correct – for there are many competing world-views that exist within our families, our communities, across our nation and around the globe.

And not all of those world-views belong to those of us who might be members of the Science Fan Boys and Fan Girls Tribe.

For despite thousands of years of civilisation, and many years of uniform access to Facebook and Twitter, we are still inherently tribal – and prefer to define the world into those who are like us and those who are not like us.

Modern tribes though are less distinguished by whether we have stars on our stomaches, or whether we paint our faces blue, and are more defined by our similarity of beliefs and world views.

And of course, no matter what your tribe, it is the one that sees the world as it really is.

Our tribe is the right tribe!

And our tribe is the righteous tribe!

Let me explain how this works. We have an inherent world view – formed by a complexity of things – that might be individualistic, communitarian, hierarchical, conservative, progressive, fearful, frivolous, consumer driven, sustainable etc.  And we are driven to not only look for things that reinforce our world view – but we look for people who have a similar world view to us.

Our tribe!

With as simple a thing as a Friend Request or a Friend Delete we can surround ourselves with other members of our tribe.

UFO believers, anti-vaccination advocates, economic rationalists, neo-liberals, climate change deniers  – you name it – there’s a tribe for you.

And here’s the thing, once you have surrounded yourself with a solid tribe of similar thinking, it is very, very hard to convince you that there might be an alternative world view of any merit.

Especially if it is coming from people who are not like you.

Facts and data will not do it.

Numerical weight of evidence will not do it.

And online brawling and name calling certainly won’t bring about any change of position.

Of course the same happens for Science Fan Boys and Fan Girls.  We surround ourselves by our tribe and engage in social-media war on the other tribes – shaking our virtual slings and arrows at them.

And why not? For we are the superior tribe, yes? We are the ones who can see through the short-term thinking of those seeking profits over sustainability, or real estate over research, or can see the danger of species loss, or monocultures. And we are the ones who can see that sensible investment in research will lead to widespread social and environmental and individual benefits.

We can see why it’ s good to drive a hybrid car and have solar panels on our house, and subscribe to Cosmos and listen to the Science Show and take our kids to National Science Week gigs – and maybe – just maybe – feel a little warm and smug about it.

Because our tribe has never had it so good! We have access to more good science podcasts and talks and programs and events and ways to follow science than we have ever had.

But – as I pointed out – there are actually a lot of other tribes out there who don’t see the world the same way. Who don’t think there is much of a pay off from science research, and don’t think that science is either interesting or relevant, and feel it can’t really explain all the things that are unexplainable in the world.

If you want confirmation of that – just have a closer look at the majority of politicians on your local council, or in your State or Federal Governments – and look at their world views.

And they are worth looking at. For they are Power Tribes.

There are lots of such Tribes out there – generally cashed up and well connected – and like it or not – Science Fan Boys and Fan Girls are not a Power Tribe. We have more clout and numbers than the I’d Rather Be Fishing Tribe or the I Vote and I Shoot Tribe – in most cases. But we’re not up there with the big Power Tribes.

In fact evidence shows we are actually a shrinking tribe – particularly amongst young people – which is often masked by our increased interconnectedness with each other and our heroes.

We can feel a bit superior, sure, but that doesn’t mean those in a real Power Tribes think we are.

Even the general public don’t necessarily think we are. Evidence shows that while scientists are still respected by the general public they are not so much trusted by them as they once were.

One of the problems is that while we are a tribe that does a lot of talking – it is predominantly … amongst ourselves.

So here’s the issue put simply. How do we become a Power Tribe and actually influence things more?

Well there are really two key ways – either infiltrate existing Power Tribes more effectively, or grow the size of our tribe and make it more dominant and powerful numerically. Or both.

And that brings me to a key question: if you are a member of the Science Fan Boy and Fan Girl tribe, what have you done recently to try and grow the tribe or to influence existing Power Tribes?

What have you done to put away your virtual slings and arrows and engage with other tribes – while acknowledging their different world view and values, rather than criticising them?

This is an important issue – and it goes beyond who to add to your Facebook and Twitter Feed and who to invite to your next barbeque – though they are useful first steps.

For we will never become The Power Tribe – and that’s probably not a bad a thing, as we are just as susceptible to group-think as any tribe.  Such is life!

But we need to talk more to other tribes and less just to ourselves.

We need to find ways for other Tribes to consider science thinking more often, and consider it a part of their own world view, by us framing it through their world view.

We need to talk science without ever using the word science sometimes.

For the good of everyone we need our Power Tribes to contain diversity of thought – less a monoculture – and to be more often considering the things that Science Fan Boys and Fan Girls think important when making decisions.

As I like to say at my Tribal barbeques – the stakes are high.

For as Jared Diamond points out, there are more than enough examples over the centuries of Power Tribes who have ignored the evidence-based voices around them, and died out when their world views proved inconsistent with sustainability.  Just as there are examples of Tribes of Evidence, who could see the problems facing them, but weren’t in a position of power.

There is not really going to be a lot of smugness in saying, “I told you so!” as we spiral downwards.

So – get out of your Tribe a bit more often. Invite other Tribes to your things. Listen to what they have to say, and then don’t necessarily talk about science. Talk about evidence. Talk about consequences. Talk about the things they value – family, home, career, security, well-being, natural surrounds, health – and if they’d put them at risk.

Find those commonalities – not the differences – and you might find that we all belong to one larger human tribe.

And that is something worth discovering.

Listen out for a broadcast of this article on ABC’s Science Show in coming weeks.

What does a National Science Statement mean for Science Communicators?

So the Government has released a National Science Statement.

That is always something to get excited about, right? Well, perhaps, but not too excited.

The latest Minister (Senator Sinodinos) in launching the Statement last month at Science Meets Parliament, gave all the usual phrases about the importance of science and innovation to our economy and national wellbeing, and the importance of evidence-based decision making. That was all welcome even if nothing you wouldn’t expect a Science Statement to have. But he also talked about the importance of engaging all Australians with science.

He said, “In a nutshell, the Statement sets out our long-term vision for Australia: a society that is fully engaged with science, and fully enriched by science.”

That was promising. And looking to the Statement itself, there is a section that provides more detail on this. The report states:

“The benefits of science can be fully realised only when society is fully engaged with science and science actively engages with society.”

Two-way engagement! Gotta be happy with that.

The report goes on to say:

“This means that we need to ensure that:

  • science and mathematics education are interesting, relatable and valued by parents and teachers, supporting high levels of participation and appreciation at all levels of education
  • scientific knowledge and skills are valued by employers and in the workforce
  • the general public are engaged by and appreciate science, building support for investment in science
  • all Australians have the opportunity to engage with scientists and contribute to scientific processes and discourses
  • decision and policy makers use science, draw on expert scientific advice and see science as a contributor to problem solving and evidence‑based policy.”

Still sounding pretty good.

  • STEM in schools – tick!
  • Valuing science skills – tick!
  • The general public engaged more in science – albeit to build support for investment in science – half a tick!
  • Everyone should get to engage with a scientist – sounds overly ambitious – half a tick!
  • More evidence-based policy being used in Australia – with no reference to our current spate of politically-driven policy formation, even more ambitious – half a tick!

The next thing we’d like to know is how the Government plans to actually do these things. And – that’s when the Statement starts to run out of steam. The Statement largely repackages a lot of existing funding initiatives to look like they are doing something new.

The Statement does give Inspiring Australia a good mention though, deservedly, and then goes on to acknowledge the fine work being done in Science Communications by other agencies.

“Science engagement is delivered not only by the Australian Government, but also by state and territory governments, many local authorities, the scientific knowledge and outreach sectors, and many parts of the private sector and the community.”

That is YOU! ASC members across Australia! Acknowledged for the integral role you do in this space.

The Statement then gets very interesting in saying, “The government will work with these other key participants in science engagement programme delivery to support activities that communicate science, encourage wide community participation in science and inspire excellence in the sciences.”

So I am very keen to apply that afore-mentioned evidence-based test to that statement and see if the Federal Budget in May actually has any new initiatives or funding for science communication cooperative activities, as is implied.

But it may be that the paragraph above actually means – “science communication cooperation will be business as usual.”

We know that in the era of spin you often have to wait a week or more to read the views of independent expert commentators to understand what any given Government Statement actually means – but I would get very excited if beyond the nice rhetoric there was evidence of a stronger commitment to supporting the activities of Science Communicators to match the vision in the Science Statement.

 

Dr Craig Cormick

President

Australian Science Communicators

President’s update

Thank you to ASC President Craig Cormick for the update. Below is the transcript from his first address at the 2017 ASC National Conference.


Let’s talk about these times we are living in.

Times of False News and times of Alternative facts.

Times of popularist politics and times of contested truths.

Times of polarised opinions and times of diminished trust.

Times of intuitive knowledge and times of reinforced biases.

Times of denial of scientific truths and approval of scientific falsehoods.

Times of anti-science and times of silencing of scientists.

Silencing of Scientists!

 

Let’s talk about these times.

 

Times of growing alternative beliefs and times of self-styled experts.

Times of decreasing impact of the media and rampant impacts of new media.

Where everyone is an authority and strength of opinion is confused with being correct.

Times of diminished funding for science and science communication.

And times of such very creative science communications being created,

But not always seen nor heard by vast numbers of the population.

Not seen nor heard!

 

Let’s talk about these times.

 

For we are also living in times of great enthusiasm for science communication.

Times of growing numbers of talented communicators,

Across a very wide range of disciplines and knowledge and mediums.

Times of a focus of understanding in the challenges facing us.

Times of an imperative to do better.

To do more with less.

To measure impacts, not smiles.

To convince not oppose.

To nudge not unsettle.

To find new tools and new methods and new understandings

Based on solid research into how communication works

–  and how it does not.

And how it does Not!

 

Let’s talk about these times

 

And be the voice of reason, not of antagonism.

To listen before we tell

To educate rather than indoctrinate

To be right rather than righteous.

And to accept that not everyone is going to get it.

And that for many our science-centric view is not the way they see their world.

Not the way

They see their world.

 

Let’s talk about these times.

 

We will stand upon the shoulders of giants to see further

And we will see far beyond the dusty monolith of the deficit model.

We will see how people’s values are the key to understanding their choices and behaviours.

We will see how framing can be used to unpick and alter perceptions

And we will see genuine engagement with publics is integral to two-way communication of science and to social licence.

Genuine engagement.

 

Let’s talk about these times.

 

For above all these are times for standing up for what you believe in.

For fighting the good fight.

For calling out bad science

And vested interests

And dangerous bad medicine

And piss-weak government decisions

And anti-science scare campaigns

And fear mongers and dick-heads,

And Haters of all kinds.

Of all kinds.

 

Let’s talk about these times

 

Without being superior or arrogant or dick-headed ourselves.

For we have so much to do.

And so much still to learn to be able to do it.

So we can look back over what we have seen and heard and shared and learned and taught, and then say, with a humble sense of pride:

‘We are science communicators. And we are making a difference!’

 

Let’s talk about that.

 

 

 

Online editor position at COSMOS magazine

COSMOS is a popular science magazine based in Toorak, Melbourne. It publishes both a hard copy quarterly magazine and online daily news and features.

With a meteoric rise in its online readership, they are continuing to grow our audience while diversifying the range of high quality online offerings.

As part of that growth they are looking for a talented online magazine editor to take the magazine the next step of the way.

The successful applicant will have a scientific background combined with proven writing, editorial and online skills.

The primary role will be to work as part of the news team to select, assign, write and edit news stories as well as to develop other online material.

Want to find out more? The job is listed on SEEK here.

Applications close 25 February 2017.

 

 

President’s Update

Thank you to Joan Leach for the President’s Update!

Welcome to 2017!

I hope ASC members are starting out 2017 on a high note. The end of last year brought a new report from the US on Science Communication—it’s available for download here. While ASC members will be well aware of the communication techniques it advocates, the report also motivates a future research agenda for science communication. I look forward to talking with ASC members about how these suggestions work in the Australian context in the coming months—one to discuss at our February conference for certain.

Our AGM will be held at the 2017 ASC conference in Adelaide. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to let ASC know what is important to you. I’ll also be passing the President’s baton on at this meeting. I’m delighted that Craig Cormick has contacted me to confirm he is interested in standing for ASC President. We will post his proposed platform with the AGM papers. Others may yet be interested; do let me know if you’d like a conversation or you, too, wish to stand so I can draw members’ attention to the candidates. I’m delighted that Craig has put up his hand—he comes with 25 years experience across multiple science communication sectors. When I asked him why he was interested, he was also characteristically witty and said, “My reason for standing for President is, quite simply, the knowledge that one day we are all going to be asked, what did you do in the subtle war against science and the advancement of truthiness?”