A panel discussion on From Star Wars to the Battle of Ideas.
Science fiction often tells us more about social attitudes and anxieties than science itself, and can be a spur for debate about everything from genetics to consciousness, from war to climate change. Sci fi can move people to engage in science, inspiring young people to become scientists, and encouraging the general public to debate the consequences of science for society. It can also frighten us, making us wary of new technology and its unintended consequences. Is this all to the good, or does sci fi skew our understanding of science?- IoI
Professor Mark Brake
Professor of science communication at the Centre for Astronomy and Science Education, and director of the SETPOINT Wales, RoCCoTO and South Wales Science Shop projects.
Dr. Elizabeth Burns
Elizabeth Burns is an Oxford graduate, a biochemist, playwright, and visual artist. She has a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Oxford, where she held a prestigious post-doctoral fellowship. Her science-based play, Autodestruct: The Ultimate Cure for Cancer, was featured at the Edinburgh Fringe Theatre Festival.
Dr. Burns has also consulted for the film Square, a movie about the human genome (directed by Frederic Planchon and produced by the London-based company Academy).
Dr. Burns has been commissioned to do a year-long series of oil paintings for the British Medical Research Council and is currently a member of the Biochemistry Department at Oxford University. Dr. Burns has been invited to India as part of the British Council's science programme and articles about her science-inspired artwork have been featured in national and international newspapers, including The Guardian in Great Britain.
Dolan Cummings is research and editorial director at the IoI. He edits the IoI's reviews website, Culture Wars and is a co-convener of the yearly Battle of Ideas festival, next taking place in London in October 2007.
Cummings's interests lie in the relationship between ideas and politics, the role of the intellectual, ideology, and religion in public life. He is especially interested in the question of intellectual authority and how it is contested. Cummings firmly believes that politics should start from the needs and passions of the public, and that this puts a premium on open debate and free speech. Most recently he has edited a collection of essays, Debating Humanism by contributors to the Battle of Ideas 2005.
His interest in the role of intellectuals builds on Ideas, Intellectuals and the Public, a conference he organized in 2003.
Stephen Foulger, curator of The Science Museum's Science of Aliens.
Rev. Neil Hook
Neil Hook is currently the university of Glamorgan's RoCCoTO Researcher, an Associate Lecturer in Science: Fiction and Culture and Subject Leader in Science Fiction at the University of Glamorgan's Centre for Astronomy and Science Education (C.A.S.E.). Neil has been associated with C.A.S.E. for over five years and is responsible for providing research support for the RoCCoTO project. He is also responsible for the majority of Science Fiction teaching. A gifted and committed communicator, his fields of interest include the teaching of Science Fiction at all levels of education, the interaction between Religion and Science Fiction, and Proto-Science Fiction.
Dr. Geeta Nargund
Dr. Geeta Nargund is a Consultant in Reproductive Medicine at St Georges Hospital and an Hon Senior Lecturer at St George's Hospital Medical School, London. She has been trained in Dublin, Leeds and Kings College Hospital units prior to joining St Georges Hospital.
She has published extensively on the use of Advanced Ultrasound Technology in Reproductive Medicine. She pioneered the use of follicular Doppler for assessment of egg quality in infertile women and 'One-Stop' fertility diagnosis using advanced ultrasound technology. She has also published the first scientific paper of cumulative live birth rates with Natural Cycle IVF (IVF without ovarian stimulation).
She is passionate about a 'holistic approach' to women's health. She aims to work towards establishing scientific and systematic studies to uncover the biological link between reproductive health and psychological and life-style factors.
She is also the Chief Executive of a national charity HER TRUST ( www.hertrust.org ) a women's health charity. Through this charity she is committed to raising public awareness about health and thereby helping women help themselves to better health.
Mark Stevenson is an English science-fiction comedian.
From talking to sweaty comedy clubs about how Einstein theories relate to sex and dating through to delivering lectures on the science of laughter at London's Science Museum Mark's unique take on the world is popular with audiences of all flavours. Importantly Mark is something different to add into any comedy show. Simply put, there are very few acts who weave neuroscience research into a routine and make it laugh-out-loud funny.