Scientifically speaking


Knowledge talks, wisdom listens, and both read. This is where we gather the latest snippets of STEM related speech and serve them up for your delectation.
This is not the serious science of challenging, checking, and probing; this is destructive and loudly clamouring scepticism born of vested interest, nimbyism, public-seeking controversialism, or sheer blinkered, dogmatic, political bloody-mindedness.

UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey MP speaking on 'destructive' climate change scepticism
4 June 2013

UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey MP speaking on 'destructive' climate change scepticism
The radio emissions that we have observed have a certain shape to them. By analysing the shape of these radio waves, we can tell that they have been produced by processes similar to those that generate radio emissions above the Earth's auroras. In light of this, we are pretty sure that they have been caused by the acceleration of charged particles along magnetic field lines. Whether on Earth or on other planets, auroras occur when charged particles are funnelled along the object's magnetic field towards its poles. When they hit the atmosphere, they cause it to glow. However, before this happens, special kinds of radio wave are emitted into space. This was actually the process by which Jupiter's magnetic field was discovered; before we even knew about Earth's radiation belts. The presence of these radio waves is a strong indication that auroras are occurring outside our solar system.

Dr Jonathan Nichols, Lecturer and Research Fellow at the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy
23 January 2013

Dr Jonathan Nichols, Lecturer and Research Fellow at the University of Leicester's Department of Physics and Astronomy
The number of applications is huge where mathematics can have a significant impact. While the contributions of mathematics are readily appreciated at the industrial level, its influence extends to many societal areas as well, for instance to healthcare, pollution control, transportation, distribution and communication networks.

Professor Maria J Esteban, Director of Research at CNRS and Chair of the Applied Mathematics Committee of the European Mathematical Society
23 January 2013

Professor Maria J Esteban, Director of Research at CNRS and Chair of the Applied Mathematics Committee of the European Mathematical Society
The technology that you have in your home right now is likely to be far superior to that provided to you within your work environment. Your personal technology is probably much more flexible, and aids your life to a far greater extent, than these locked down, bunkered systems that organisations continue to use.

Dr Tim Watson, Director of the Cyber Security Centre at De Montfort University
17 December 2012

Dr Tim Watson, Director of the Cyber Security Centre at De Montfort University
At the moment quantum mechanics consists of a set of rules that work very well at predicting the results of experiments, but the philosophical basis is missing. In our excitement at applying these rules we have neglected to ask why they work.

Professor Sir John Pendry, Imperial College London
15 November 2012

Professor Sir John Pendry, Imperial College London
We are not pretending to have built the next great robot. Even so, from a physicist's perspective, I am confident that the principle we have identified could be instantiated within more complex devices.

Professor Daniel Goldman, Principal Investigator at the Georgia Tech's CRAB Lab
1 November 2012

Professor Daniel Goldman, Principal Investigator at the Georgia Tech's CRAB Lab
Despite having the greatest negative impact on healthy life years, neurodegenerative diseases have not received the same level of research funding across Europe compared to other age related illnesses, such cancer and cardiovascular diseases. There is also a huge disparity between the cost of caring for people with dementia and the amount of money spent on research into solutions.

Philippe Amouyel, Chair of EU Joint Programme - Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND)
17 October 2012

UK manufacturing has declined from a level of over 25 per cent of the country's GDP during its heyday, to approximately 10 per cent as it stands currently. Even before the government proposed a rebalancing of the economy in favour of manufacturing, I think we all appreciated that this needed to happen. If our manufacturing base had continued to decline at the same rate, the UK would have had difficulty creating wealth and living standards would have been impacted. The High Value Manufacturing Catapult has a pretty aspirational goal. Over the next 30 years, we intend to push the percentage of manufacturing-related GDP back north of 20 per cent. This is a really ambitious target, but everybody associated with the Catapult is committed to turning it into a reality. We intend to have a huge impact.

Will Barton, Head of Manufacturing at the Technology Strategy Board
15 October 2012

Will Barton, Head of Manufacturing at the Technology Strategy Board
I spend my life doing something that I find absolutely thrilling and exciting. When you make a mathematical discovery, it only starts to live when you tell somebody else about it. If you keep it to yourself, it doesn't have chance to breathe. To give birth to mathematics you need to communicate it. This is absolutely essential. Communication is part of the process of doing science.

Professor Marcus du Sautoy
26 September 2012

Professor Marcus du Sautoy
There are several things that I am quite proud of, but the discovery of pulsars has to be the biggest one. That is a while back now – 45 years I think. I would also say that for a woman, giving birth to a baby is an important event. I have done things that I think are important but that are not as high-profile as the discovery of pulsars. I have been able to do all sorts of interesting things.

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
7 August 2012

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell
I always had a sense of adventure and living in Australia made me realise pretty early on that there were a lot of things that we hadn't discovered. When I was young, there were new species of kangaroo being identified right there in my own country. The island of New Guinea – where I did my field work – was also wide open for exploration and adventure. I found four species of tree-kangaroo in New Guinea so it was great fun being there at that time, doing that pioneering work.

Professor Tim Flannery, Chief Commissioner at the Australian Climate Commission
31 July 2012

Professor Tim Flannery, Chief Commissioner at the Australian Climate Commission
The facility to use mathematics fluently – almost like one would use an additional language – is hugely beneficial in terms of taking science further. To be able to change the subject of an equation or to know from looking at a set of data whether or not it is statistically significant, allows a pupil to get on with the science.

Annette Smith, CEO for the Association of Science Education (ASE)
30 July 2012

Annette Smith, CEO for the Association of Science Education (ASE)
There is a unique protein for every single task in the cell. These proteins act based on their structure alone, without consciousness or the control of a higher mind or centre. Everything a protein does is built into its linear code, which is derived from the DNA code.

Dr J Craig Venter, Director of the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)
20 July 2012

Dr J Craig Venter, Director of the J Craig Venter Institute (JCVI)
The way I put it is that if you liked being dependent on oil from the Middle East, you'll love being dependent on nuclear technology from China. I say that half-jokingly but I do think that it could be a moment of awakening – a Sputnik moment – when China unveils a liquid fuel thorium reactor that is actually producing power for the grid. That day might not be too far away.

Richard Martin, author of Superfuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the future
4 July 2012

Richard Martin, author of Superfuel: Thorium, the Green Energy Source for the future
I think that our life science sector will be hugely important to the revitalisation of Ireland's economy. We were fortunate over the boom years, and even before that, to have built up a strong base of multinational corporations within this sector. One of the spillover benefits of these corporations is the effect that they have had on our indigenous business community. A lot of the highly trained management personnel from these multinationals have gone on to establish their own enterprises. Whilst many of these companies started out in supply relationships, they have now moved up the innovation-value chain to conduct their own product development. This has to be driven by innovation as the global life science market is so competitive that only the most innovative companies survive.

Dr Keith O'Neill, Director of Life Science and Food Research Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland
29 June 2012

Dr Keith O'Neill, Director of Life Science and Food Research Commercialisation at Enterprise Ireland
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Lets face it, so long as Theresa May is home secretary we're not likely to see any progressive change in drug policy in the UK. I mean, the woman just made Qat a class C drug against solid scientific evidence. Reminds me of the reclassification of cannabis as mentioned in this article. Can someone please give these politicians a good shake and make them see that what they're doing is extremely counterproductive! Argh!!


Commented Anonymous on
Cannabis psychosis: are politicians making the situation worse?

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