News and events in the science worldby Anjana Ahuja / August 21, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in September 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
James Wilsdon becomes chair of the Campaign for Social Science on 1st September (campaignforsocialscience.org.uk). The former Demos thinker, and current Professor of Science and Democracy at Sussex University, was the founding director of the Science Policy Centre at the Royal Society and has long pushed for science to be taken more seriously in political circles. With behavioural psychology gaining popularity, he’s the perfect person to nudge forward the CSS’s objective of reinstating a Chief Social Scientist in government. The University of St Andrews is Cupid’s favoured venue, not just for royal marital unions but also entomological ones. The institution is the backdrop for the Royal Entomological Society’s annual conference from 4th to 6th September, which will focus on insect mating and includes a romantic-sounding session on “nuptial gifts.” Don’t be fooled: while future kings lavish sapphires on their consorts, male scorpionflies charm their paramours with the corpses of insects they’ve dragged out of spiders’ webs. Further lovely six-legged sex facts can be found at mapoflife.org. Channel your inner nerd by heading to the British Science Association’s festival in Newcastle from 7th to 12th September. I like the sound of Lab Notes, a collection of amusing yet scientifically accurate songs, and PrimeGrid, which will allow festival-goers to join the search for the world’s largest prime number. I’m not quite as taken with the opportunity to dissect an octopus. Book, scalpel or not, at britishscienceassociation.org.