Radio Astronomy driving new competences and innovation on the European scale

LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) is the world’s largest and most sensitive low frequency radio telescope. It was designed, built, and is now operated by ASTRON, the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy. LOFAR’s reach now spans Europe – from Ireland to Poland, with the newest LOFAR antenna station being delivered to Ventspils University of Applied Sciences in Latvia. Here we propose that LOFAR is a prime example of how state-of-the-art facilities leads to the sharing and building of competencies and innovation: it is one of today’s major success stories of research infrastructures on a European scale.

Can academics entering politics bring more evidence into policy

In Greece and Spain, a new generation of left-wing academics has now entered polictics. They claim to reinvent the way policy is shaped by relying both on evidence and on meeting the need of citizens. However, the way in which the results of academic research are actually taken into account in policy making is not straightforward. So are they likely to rely more than their predecessors on evicence-based policy?

Climate diplomacy in full steam ahead of COP21

Climate change is on the mind of many scientists, beyond experts in the field. It is where science diplomacy has been at work in the month preceding the climate change conference, COP21, opening in Paris on 30th November 2015. But does science diplomacy make a difference? EuroScientist talks to various experts in the field and analyses the likely outcome of such talks.

Alessandro Vespignani: open data is key to preserve nature of science

Physicist Alessandro Vespignani is one of the main experts in networks and statistical and numerical simulations. He shares his views in this exclusive podcast in EuroScientist on how the era of Big Data requires scientists to adapt their approach to replicating such data. Specifically, he believes that we have to update the idea of replication, or better, the idea of how to verify or falsify an experiment.

ESOF 2014 Copenhagen Special Issue – Print Edition

What can a conference like this one bring to you? Those among our readers who have a sweet tooth will agree that such events can be compared to the cherry on the cake of academic life. Once every two years, it is time to enjoy a stimulating flow of discussions. Participants are guaranteed to have fruitful encounters with other people from various horizons. They may not be like-minded but, at least, share similar concerns about European science, policy or science communication. This is what ESOF 2014 is about!

Jean-Patrick Connerade: Science meets poetry, with a Danish flavour

Jean-Patrick Connerade, is emeritus professor of physics at Imperial College London, UK, and the president of the European Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters (EASAL). He is also a poet in his own right, writing in French, under the pen name of Chaunes. To many, science would seem the very opposite of poetry, being born of reason and rational deduction, whereas a poem appears as the fruit of imagination. Amongst all literary forms, poetry is the one most likely to be associated with the irrational. This could perhaps explain the hidden tension which has driven so many scientists, from Omar Khayyam to Robert Oppenheimer and from William Hamilton to Marie Curie to write poetry.

Scientists can’t network and other myths

Recently, a newly minted science doctorate asked me for some help finding a job. He had applied for hundreds of advertised openings, both postdoc and non-academic positions, but to no avail. So I asked him about his networking strategy. “What networking strategy?” he replied, clueless to what I was referring. I spent the next hour emphasising the importance of networking in finding hidden job opportunities and communicating your value to decision-makers. I outlined for him a customised networking plan which would enable him to meet and interact with professionals who have the power to hire him for the jobs he so desperately wanted. When our meeting concluded, I asked for feedback on the career consulting session – “Did you find our discussion helpful?” I inquired, thinking I was up for a major pat on the back. “No,” he said instantly. “You didn’t tell me where I can apply for a job or places where there are more advertisements for jobs.”