So long, and thanks for all the brain food

Huge thanks to Dr Kristin Alford for curating Real Scientists this week. It’s been a real eye-opener and privilege to have an insight into her incredibly busy life, and to the kinds of big ideas and thought processes she uses and teaches.  Kristin made us look at the language and ideas we use in our day to day work, both scientific and otherwise, the cultural contexts that influence language and the decisions that we make.  There was an #onsci chat held on Thursday, 7 March, curated by Kristin for Bridge 8, engaging scientists, communicators and the lay public to think about how science can inform the future.  We got to sit in on some engaging conferences and see how we could use daily events as teaching moments about science. There was a sneak peek into the new Creative Thinkinganimations that Bridge 8 is working on, and an insight into the immense amout of work that goes into organising the Australian version of I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here.

Best of all, Kristin’s summarised her week herself; the Storify for her week is available here. It’s an invaluable reference point.  What I got most out of this week is that it’s not enough to plan for the future, to come up with ideas, you have to seriously envision and map out what it will look like and how it will come about.  That’s important in science and the future of science, and how we want to change the world. Thanks, Kristin.

Our next curation rotation takes us to the jungles of Latin America to meet Phil Torres, conservation biologist. Details soon!

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow, we’ll need you, tomorrow: Dr Kristin Alford joins Real Scientists

Dr. Alford with the Governor General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce

Dr. Alford with the Governor General, Her Excellency Quentin Bryce

From the beamline to the role of science in society and the future: this week we welcome Dr Kristin Alford: TEDxAdelaide organiser, science communicator, ex-engineer, future strategist and founding director of Bridge8.  We thought we’d take a big picture view of science from the eyes of a foresight strategist and former engineer turned science communicator. How can science inform the future? What will the future look like?  These are the questions that occupy Kristin in her work.

This strategic view isn’t something we focus a lot when we’re doing the hard yards in the lab and something we wanted to explore. Kristin and animator James Hutson of Bridge8 produced the brilliant Critical Thinking animations featured on Brain Pickings last year, and runs many science communication programs.She’s responsible for bringing the hugely successful UK I’m a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here online reality show for scientists to Australia, now its third year.  Her main work focuses on foresight strategies for companies and government, and recently, with the Governor General, launched Negotiating our future: Living scenarios for Australia to 2050, exploring the role science has in our future.

Kristin also hosts the monthly online science chat #onsci and moderates online science communication teaching courses.  She’s a huge figure in science communication in Australia and we’re looking forward to her novel take on science and science communication as well as marvelling at her jet-set incredibly busy lifestyle, managing multiple projects while bringing up three daughters. Kristin is based in Adelaide, Australia. She usually tweets at @kristinalford, but for the next week she’s with us. Enjoy!