Live from ESOF 2014

judyhalper

Judy Halper is a science writer at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She manages the Weizmann Wave, as well as the Weizmann science new site, the Weizmann Wonder Wander. She is a member of a kibbutz in the Weizmann area.

Day 5 — goodbye

The last lecture of the last session  was by Cass Sunstein. Sunstein is one of the architects of “nudge” thinking. He is a law professor, but he works with behavioral economists to develop his ideas and policy proposals. He has worked with the Obama government to develop “nudge” policies and his ideas are being copied…

Day 4 — All the rest of the world

Yesterday was policy day, as far as keynote speakers were concerned. Lidia Brito is the UNESCO director of science policy and capacity building. Among the usual points about the need to change, building capacity and recognizing stakeholders, here is what I believe is her take home message: Science is changing, and that’s a good thing.…

Peter Krause, the ever-friendly and patient press officer for ESOF, says the best thing about the organization is that it began ten years ago as a grass-roots idea: scientists who wondered why Europe had no equivalent of the AAAS and decided to create one. Since then, it has grown in all directions, but it still…

Day 3 — Melting Ice Cores and You

I have definitely reached information overload, which is unfortunate because I am missing Brian Schmidt’s talk. However, of all the things I have heard and seen today, there is one talk I need to write about: Ice cores in Greenland. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen is one of the most cited scientific authors. period. That is probably why…

Day 3 — The sun comes out

The sun came out and I was called out of a session, so I took advantage of the sunshine, after three days of grey and drizzle, to see the outdoor booths set up all around the buildings in the Carlsberg complex, here. In fact, in conjunction with this main festival of science, the city of…

Aside from the actual science, I am learning that 1) Copenhagen can be quite cold in the summer and 2) that the natives here are quite friendly. More than once people on the street have stopped to help me find my way. And the streets are full of people — walking, riding bikes, taking buses.…

Day 2 — engineering life

Today we get to the science and the issues surrounding it. Karl Deisseroth gave the first keynote lecture. For anyone who’s been asleep the past few years, Deisseroth’s lab at Stanford is at the cutting edge of a new kind of brain research. They invented optogenetics — turning brain circuits on and off (in mice,…

Day 1 — continued

I should start with the ESOF 2014 opening ceremony, but instead, I need to go back to the rest of the journalists conference. Specifically to the prize – yes there was a prize. It went to a guy with dreadlocks down past his waist who stages science events in Christiania — the still-existent hippie/anarchist community…

Today is the “First” European Science Journalists’ Conference. So far, we are in the midst of the usual: Is there a crisis in science journalism? Clearly the business is changing, and those who work for the print media feel the pinch, and yet people have access to more reporting on science than before. Kathryn O’Hara…

On My Way

In less than 24 hours I’ll be going through security checks, hoping my stopover in Warsaw will go smoothly. Nothing is packed yet, but the credit card that was eaten by a voracious ATM at the beginning of the  week has been replaced, gifts have been purchased for various people, included the couple who will…