Applied mathematicians in the service of pressing global issues

Nowadays there is a diffuse border between pure and applied mathematics. The pure mathematician – an atypical scientist inclined toward the abstract – – is capable of switching at any time to the role of applied mathematician in order to address and solve the pressing global issues that threaten humanity. From assisting manned space missions to modelling the processes of ice melting or the spread of an epidemic, the applied mathematician’s contributions are crucial for humankind. The confidence we have in the truths of applied mathematics, which – within the philosophy of science – is part of the so-called Wigner’s puzzle, is a kind of evolutionary feature of the discipline.

Can public opinion shape the future of genome editing research?

Newer genome editing technologies, such as CRISPR-Cas, are revolutionising scientific research and bringing about a myriad of potential applications in many fields. For science and technology to progress timely and efficiently, the societal debate must move forward at the same pace to help guide the direction of scientific research and to frame policy-making decisions. As this technology progresses, what will be the key questions to address as the public is engaged in these conversations? This article hints at some of them while a comprehensive list will be discussed at ESOF dilemma café session on Friday 13th –participate to find out!

Helena González: a stand-up comedian with a scientific flavour

Stand up comedy is very popular. Yet, when Helena González decided this could be a way for her to engage the public about her own research topic, she did not know how the public would respond. Together with colleagues from Big Van Science, she took to the stage back in 2013 and has not left since. Find out more how to turn life in a lab into the most compelling show.

Lorenz Adlung: slam poetry makes science more accessible

Lorenz Adlung did not go unnoticed when he took part in the March for Science in Heidelberg, on 22nd April 2017. In this interview, he shares his passion for communicating science in less conventional ways. He also explains his aspiration to associate a wider audience to his scientific journey, and argues why it matters that others follow suit. Included at the end are some samples in German and English of his poetic slams.

Scientific integrity: dropping points

Scientific integrity has become a major issue in scientific research. The debate about scientific fraud, plagiarism, and other forms of scientific misconduct has its origin in some highly publicised cases of eminent scientists accused of publishing fake data. These observations raise many questions. One of the known misconducts is the deliberate dropping of data points, acknowledged by 15% of scientists surveyed in recently published integrity studies asking them about their behaviour in the previous three years. This misconduct originates in a wrong understanding of what scientific knowledge is, and how it is progressively constructed, argues Michel Morange, director of the Centre Cavaillès for History and Philosophy of Sciences at the Ecole normale supérieure, Paris, France.