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“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong (1930-2012)

Fresh Reads from the Science 'o sphere!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fresh Science 13 December 2007

The juiciest posts from the science 'o sphere!

Top 10 Scientific Discoveries and Medical Breakthroughs of 2007, According to Time Magazine (Cell*Wise - USA)
Stem cells, stem cells and stem cells...

Sun: not the biggest object in the solar system! (Entertaining Research - India)
Now that is one puffed-up comet!

Life in the Dead Zone(Evolutionary Middleman - USA)
Dinosaur fossils from Antarctica!

I, Mutant: Adaptation Goes On (Hyphoid Logic - USA)
Human beings are still evolving, and the process is speeding up...

What IQ doesn’t tell you about race (Mind Hacks - USA)
Test standards are being adjusted all the time...


blacktag said...

Interested in setting up a monthly gathering per science cafe a'la the link below?

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Welcome to Fresh Brainz, Blacktag!

I actually went to one of British Council's Cafe Scientifique sessions a couple of years back. It was a senior British neuroscientist who gave the presentation.

Would you believe it - there was a TCM sycophant in the audience who smugly tried to show how superior TCM was compared to modern neurobiology by pelting the speaker with a barrage of questions. Which she skillfully answered, of course. Quite bizarre.

I'm not sure if the British Council is still doing it. I think it's a good idea, but depends on what you have in mind. If you prefer it to be like Cafe Scientifique - I don't have the clout to invite senior scientists to speak. Then there is the venue and sponsorship to think about.

If we keep it small it's doable.

Any suggestions?

blacktag said...

Actually, do we need 'senior scientists', or 'scientists who can communicate'? There are some great speakers among the medical profession.

After all, the audience would be a mixture of
(a) teenage geeks (as I was, not sure about you)
(b) middle-aged geeks (as I am now, now sure about you)
(c) enthusiastic mothers who want their kids in medical school (like my mother, not sure about you)
(d) environmental activists (they exist in Singapore?)
(e) bored shoppers
(f) teenagers studying on tables

Best is to find an underutilized cafe, tell them we can bring in a huge audience, persuade subsidized (but not free) drinks / snacks. That solves the problem of $. All we need is a few hundred bucks on publicity. Facebook, random Internet spam and chain-mails might take care of the rest. You're in A* can plaster Helios and Nanos and god knows what else they have in there. ;)

What makes or breaks these sessions would usually be the speaker, rather than $. :) Having listened to more than my fair share of speakers, I find that usually the really good ones that can mix humor and intelligence are the most approachable for this sort of thing. Quite a few senior scientists are really bad speakers.

Lim Leng Hiong said...

Hmm... sounds like you prefer a larger event. The British Council doesn't appear to be continuing with it, but I just found out that the Science Centre is holding Science in the Cafe regularly -

If you find this interesting, we can gather some people and meet for this activity to see how they do it.

As for doing it on my own - I'm just a grad student, not an A*Star scholar and certainly not an appointment holder. It's highly unlikely that I can invite any scientist to speak in my event, especially someone who is a great speaker.

Of course if you know of any good medical talks, or if you are giving a talk, I'll be delighted to attend.