DIY Science

Me and the chap who was struck by lightning

Me and the chap who was struck by lightning

The famous chemist (and Nobel Prize Winner) Professor Lehn said: “Many people think of science as just being a body of knowledge, but it is also a spirit, a way to approach things.” I’ve spent the last 10 years researching how people approach science, technology and the environment through my research on enthusiasm as an attachment, affiliation and passion, specifically my work seeks to understand the ‘spirit’ that Professor Lehn was talking about. And it’s been excellent fun. I’ve met technology enthusiasts who collect and tinker with old telephones and computers. I’ve also recorded wetland birds with volunteers who have counted the same patch for over 30 years. My current project focuses on tree health and the role of people as eyes and ears on the ground. It’s all about citizen science – people like you and me participating in science – developing our own projects but also contributing to university or government programmes. But as scientists are keen to point out – they are citizens too – so my work also looks at the ways in which professional scientists participate too. Tonight, I’m contributing to a BBC2 show called Dara O’Briain’s Science Club that is tackling DIY Science. As you will see, there is plenty of work to be done in this area – a starting point is recognising the ways in which we are scientists in our daily lives. Remember, DIY science is not just about a body of knowledge – it’s also a spirit, a way to approach things. Enjoy the show!

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