Some springtime science communication

Adam Hart, Professor of Science Communication:

The last couple of weeks have pretty busy for me as a science communicator. The first trip was to St Albans and the headquarters of the Royal Entomological Society. I am a Fellow of the RES, and among other things it means that I am entitled to put the letters ‘FRES’ after my name, which looks nice down at the bank! The first thing to do when I arrived was to sign, finally, the “Obligations Book” and formally declare that I will uphold the values and obligations of the Society. This is something all fellows are encouraged to do and it’s taken me a few years to get around to it. The book itself is a fantastic historical record and is signed by Darwin, Wallace, Queen Victoria and the current Queen. My scrawl was duly added to the list for posterity.

The main business of the day however was the inaugural meeting of the Outreach and Development Committee. This is the first new committee at the RES for 25 years and it is our mission to increase public engagement with and understanding of insects, as well to look at the development of the RES over the coming years. We have a number of ideas forming, including new work with schools, a new magazine and increasing the scope of National Insect Week.

From St Albans it was off to Edinburgh Science Festival to host a panel event on bees called “What About the Bees”. An engaged and knowledgeable crowd kept us on our toes as we explored some of the issues affecting pollinators in general and bees in particular. The session finished with some hands-on work, making seed bombs and tasting mead, which is no bad way to finish any academic session…

Finally, I went to Shropshire to visit Harper Adams University and the British Beekeeping Association’s Spring Convention where I gave a lecture on the opportunities and problems of communicating bee science with the public. It was the first time I had given the lecture, but suitably fueled by coffee it seemed to go down well. Then it was a push home through the traffic of the M6 just in time for the start of the post-Easter teaching session!


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