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Literary Festival 2012: Science in the Media


Download: Audio

Editor's note: Unfortunately the last few minutes of the question and answer session are missing from the podcast.

Speaker(s): Professor Jim Al-Khalili, Professor Pedro Ferreira, Professor Elaine Fox, Mark Henderson
Chair: Professor George Gaskell

Recorded on 29 February 2012 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

Media reporting of the sciences can shape public opinion. While it may be insightful and revelatory, it can also be misleading and sensationalist, even irresponsible. This distinguished panel will examine the positives and negatives of the media's role in science communication.

Jim Al-Khalili is a British scientist, author and broadcaster. He is a professor of physics at the University of Surrey where he also holds a chair in the public engagement in science. He is a vice president and trustee of the British Science Association and holds an EPSRC Senior Media Fellowship.

Pedro Ferreira is a professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a fellow and tutor in Physics at Oriel College, Oxford. His first book, State of the Universe, was published in 2006, and he is currently working on a popular history of Einstein's theory of General Relativity, to be published in 2013. He has written for Nature, Science, New Scientist, Physics World, Physics Today, Scientific American, Sky at Night, CERN Courier, BBC Focus and The Guardian.

Elaine Fox is professor of psychology and cognitive neuroscience at the University of Essex and currently visiting fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. She is one of the world's leading experimental psychologists. Her research is dedicated to uncovering the mysteries of how the human brain unconciously analyses information. She is current writing about the discovery of specific genes that tip people towards either a pessemistic or optimistic mindset, which in turn are linked to vulnerability and resilience. Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain will be published in Spring 2012.

Mark Henderson is Head of Communications at the Wellcome Trust and former Science Editor of The Times. His first book, 50 Genetics Ideas You Really Need to Know was published by Quercus in 2009. His second book, The Geek Manifesto, which explores the relationship between science and politics, will be published by Bantam Press in May 2012.

This event is supported by the Hire Intelligence speakers' agency.

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