Chatting about science and politics across the globe: #onsci August 11 2011

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:

  1. What are the roles of scientists, and of science, in the political process?
  2. Is it the role of all scientists to be more political? Or only those with appropriate skills?
  3. Should scientists be responsible for keeping the general public informed regarding science, politics of science?
  4. How does public knowledge and understanding of science feed into the development of good policy?
  5. Should we encourage more scientists to enter public office? What can we expect from them if they do?
As would be expected in a robust chat session, these and many other related topics were addressed, and generated some fantastic discussions.
Heather Bray (@heatherbray6) has used Keepstream to create a collation of the event so that participants can revisit their discussions, chase down files and follow links they may have missed previously.  Those not able to attend are also warmly invited to take a look at some of the activity around this topic.  For example, you may be interested to check out which Australian members of parliaments have a background in science (see tweets at the top of the collation). Heather also highlighted this fantastic quote from one of our participants:
Old hands and newcomers: we’d love to have you join us for the next #onsci event, scheduled for 9m AEST September 15 2011. Our topic is in development at the moment, it’s going to be a good one! Keep an eye on this blog for more details, or follow #onsci and @onsci on Twitter.

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