Sarah: Last Thursday, our scheduled Twitter chat #onsci was a huge event. The topic “Science and Politics” attracted a lot of interest not only within Australia, but also across the globe: tweeps from Germany, the UK and Egypt were among those participating in pre-event conversations, and congregating around the onsci hashtag at 9pm AEST August 11 2011. Scientists, public servants, teachers, communicators and even a politician (thanks @edhusicMP) joined in. Host @sciencesarah (that’s me, using the @onsci account at the time) structured the sessions using the following broad questions:
- What are the roles of scientists, and of science, in the political process?
- Is it the role of all scientists to be more political? Or only those with appropriate skills?
- Should scientists be responsible for keeping the general public informed regarding science, politics of science?
- How does public knowledge and understanding of science feed into the development of good policy?
- Should we encourage more scientists to enter public office? What can we expect from them if they do?