Carl Sagan explaining why it is vital for democracy that science and technology is understood by the electorate, and by its representatives. The brilliant science and science communicator understood the danger of a society based on science and technology in which there was a lack of understanding of scientific and technological principles and ideas. In such a society decisions about science and technology will be taken in non-transparent ways by powerful lobbies. Worse still, ignorance of science will also mean that decisions about important issues will be wrong. Sagan was very prophetic. Today issues like climate change, genetic engineering, Artificial Intelligence, energy, drug discovery, advanced weapons, space exploration, to name but a few, are treated by an ignorant press and a mostly ignorant political class as an opportunity to gain political points or better ratings. Science communicators are fighting against the tide of history.
Dave deBronkart, better known as “e-Patient Dave” , was diagnosed in January 2007 with kidney cancer at a very late stage. Odds were stacked against him, with tumors in both lungs, several bones, and muscle tissue. Thanks to his own research and help from patient groups he discovered and received great treatment: extensive surgery and biologic therapy helped him win the battle over his cancer. His last treatment was July 23, 2007, and by September it was clear he’d beaten the disease. Dave is now actively engaged in opening health care information directly to patients on an unprecedented level, thus creating a new dynamic in how information is delivered, accessed and used by the patient.
This is his TED talk.
“Feline Quanta” refers to the famous thought experiment proposed by Ernst Schrödinger, one of the fathers of quantum physics. Schrödinger tried to show the absurdity and weirdness of quantum reality and how different it is from our ordinary reality. This excellent video explains what the thought experiment is all about and how a quantum feline (…sorry, cat) can be both dead and alive at the same time…
Garbage Alchemists describes the life of four creative designers, architects and sculptors in Thessaloniki, Greece who formed a company called “Scoopa” and do upcycling: they dig into garbage and pick things that they transform into designer objects. The film was written and researched by George Zarkadakis and directed by Kyriakos Bouyouris for the EU project Ebits.
The challenge in this project was to reach young audiences (8-18 yo) across Europe and communicate to them issues about energy use; including alternative technologies for energy production, energy efficiency etc. The goal was to inform and increase awareness about energy issues among young people by linking to their culture and aspirations.
“Garbage Alchemists” was deemed one of the most successful short films in the project that included productions from 13 partners from 9 countries. It used two main ingredients in order to connect better with young audiences: (a) the “heroes” are young people in their 20s and early 30s, i.e. of an age that much younger students may aspire and look up to; (b) it presented a fascinating way of energy preservation called upcycling whereby garbage is transformed into designer objects.
“Mixing with Prometheus” is one of the three short films researched, written and produced by George Zarkadakis (Feline Quanta) for the EU project E-Bits. It tells the story of Marfi, a barwoman who designs a new non-alcoholic drink while inspired by Prometheus, a prototype energy saving building in Athens. The director is Kyriacos Bouyouris. For more information on the Ebits project please visit: http://www.energybits.eu/
“You are my sunshine” is one of the three short films George Zarkadakis (Feline Quanta) researched and wrote for the EU project E-Bits. The film follows a band of young students as they put together a song inspired by the sun and solar energy.
E-Bits aimed to engage young students across Europe with issues of energy use and conservation, including alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Feline Quanta were subcontracted by the Institute of Computer Technologies and Publications of the Patras University (a partner of the Ebits Consortium) to research, write and co-produce three 10 minute films; the films were directed by Kyriacos Bouyouris and shot on various locations in Greece. There were then uploaded on YouTube and were played, along with other similar films produced in 9 other countries, on educational television stations across Europe, reaching an audience of 20 million people.
Ryan Watts and Mark Dennis explain how they found a new way to get medicines through the blood-brain barrier, and how Genentech supports groundbreaking science. It is a fine example of science communication using best practices.