22 episodes

Science and technology studies (STS) combines a wide range of research subjects, including: history of science, philosophy of science, sociology of science, science policy, and science communication. We Are STS is an official podcast of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London (UCL).

We Are STS UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS)

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Science and technology studies (STS) combines a wide range of research subjects, including: history of science, philosophy of science, sociology of science, science policy, and science communication. We Are STS is an official podcast of the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London (UCL).

    #15 Gemma Milne on SMOKE AND MIRRORS in conversation with Jack Stilgoe | WeAreSTS

    #15 Gemma Milne on SMOKE AND MIRRORS in conversation with Jack Stilgoe | WeAreSTS

    Will robots steal my job? Will gene editing cure my cancer? HYPE is a fundamental part of science communication, the development of new technologies, and the crucially important interface between business, investment, and new technology. How does HYPE work? Can it be used for good?
    In this conversation at the 2022 STS1Book celebration at University College London, Gemma Milne discusses her book, SMOKE AND MIRRORS, with Jack Stilgoe. They discuss her interest in HYPE as an ever-present phenomenon in our society, and how it affects thinking about technology today. Gemma and Jack reflect on the importance of hype-awareness in society. It’s not always a bad thing, Gemma says, but we need to be alert to how hype skews the conversation.
    Gemma Milne. 2020. Smoke and Mirrors. How Hype Obscures the Future and How to See Past It (London: Robinson). ISBN: 9781472143662.
    SMOKE AND MIRRORS was the STS1Book for 2021-22. Each year, the Department asks all staff and students to read one book in common during the summer, then arrive for the new session ready to discuss both its substance and its broader value. Incoming students should read this prescribed book. It will be the subject of activities during induction week and will be used in Year 1 courses. Titles are selected for inclusion by the STS Undergraduate Programme Tutor from suggested offered by students and staff. For more information:
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/about-sts/sts1book-programme
     
    Want more?
    Gemma talks about SMOKE AND MIRRORS in WeAreSTS episode #8.
     
    Also
    Gemma Milne also is co-host of the fabulous “Radical Science” podcast.
    https://radicalsciencepodcast.com
    She creates a newsletter, “Brain Reel”: https://brainreel.substack.com
    Website: https://gemmamilne.co.uk
    Twitter: @gemmamilne
    Professor Jack Stilgoe is co-host of the podcast, “The Received Wisdom,” with Shobita Parthasarathy
    https://shobitap.org/the-received-wisdom
     
    Featuring
    Interviewee:
    Gemma Milne, Science and Technology Writer
    https://gemmamilne.co.uk
    Interviewer: Professor Jack Stilgoe, UCL Professor of Science and Technology Studies
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/stilgoe
     
    Music credits
    “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
    https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
     
    Production information
    Yue Zhu recorded this episode live at the STS1Book celebration in May 2022.
    Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.
     
    Podcast information
    “WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast
    STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.
    “WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.
    Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

    • 47 min
    #14 Period policies: Exploring the debate on menstrual leave | WeAreSTS

    #14 Period policies: Exploring the debate on menstrual leave | WeAreSTS

    As someone who prides herself on being interested in women’s health and progress related to it, Sofia Sancho still had no idea what “menstrual leave” was when it suddenly was all over the news earlier this spring.
    Menstruation is a regular physiological phenomenon, happening to the vast majority of people with uteruses. Many people manage their periods just fine, but for some they can be extremely debilitating. For them, being able to take some extra days off work every month to manage symptoms can be a big relief. However, the policies have received a lot of critique. They can be difficult for companies to adopt in a viable way, and researchers worry that the sociocultural norms and stigmas that exist surrounding menstruation will lead to the policies doing more harm than good. 
    In the episode, Sofia invites you to join her on a deep dive into the world of menstrual health policies, as she explores the debate surrounding them. Why are they important? Why are they so controversial and debated? And how is any of this related to STS?
    Sofia dearly thanks her guests Ms Lorren Rea and Dr Shema Tariq for helping her on this quest.
    This episode is created as part of the STSNewsRoom 2022.
     
    Want to learn more?
    Literature cited in the episode:
    https://profjoecain.net/14-period-policies-exploring-the-debate-on-menstrual-leave-wearests/
     
    Featuring
    Reporter and original research
    Sofia Sancho
     
    Interviewees
    Ms Lorren Rea
    Head of Employment Policy at UCL
    Dr Shema Tariq
    Clinical Research Fellow/ Honorary Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV
    Host
    Professor Joe Cain
    Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain
     
    Music credits
    Intro and Exit music
    “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
    https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
    Music within the episode
    “Cool Jazzy Brass & Vibraphone” by M33 Project
    https://freemusicarchive.org/music/m33-project/single/cool-jazzy-bass-vibraphone/
    License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/
     
    Podcast information
    WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast
    This site also includes information for how STS students and staff can get involved with our programme.
    Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain, unless otherwise noted.
    WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.
    Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

    • 31 min
    #13 BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough | WeAreSTS

    #13 BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough | WeAreSTS

    Natural history documentaries are hugely popular on British television. They offer great examples of science communication, and they have a long history, stretching back to the early days of broadcasting by the BBC, and more.
    As luck would have it, here in STS, we have an expert in these programmes and the people who create them. Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon is Associate Professor of Science Communication in the department. He teaches science journalism, sociology of science, and lots more. He also is co-director of our new MSc in Science Communication.
    A few years ago, Jean-Baptiste published a book on the history of British natural history documentaries, BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough (Palgrave). And yes, while research it he met and interviewed the one and only, David Attenborough.
    In this episode, Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon discusses his recent book, BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough. This is a history of British natural history filmmaking across the twentieth century. It also is an analysis of how filmmakers establish their identity and authority, such as through “making-of” segments added to their films.
    Crucial to Jean-Baptiste’s analysis is the work of Sir David Attenborough, whose career as a broadcaster and natural history filmmaker has profoundly influenced British wildlife television. In researching his book, Jean-Baptiste interviewed Sir David. We talk about his experiences meeting the master of natural history of television.
    The book we discussed was:
    Gouyon, Jean-Baptiste. 2019. BBC Wildlife Documentaries in the Age of Attenborough (Palgrave). ISBN 9783030199814.
    https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-19982-1
     
    Featuring
    Interviewees
    Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon
    Associate Professor of Science Communication
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/people/dr-jean-baptiste-gouyon
     
    Host
    Professor Joe Cain,
    Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain
     
    Additional voices
    Jasmine Chakravary, UCL Class of 2021, spoke about our STS master’s degrees
    Pierre-Elie Balsan, UCL Class of 2023, spoke about STS
     
    Music credits
    Intro and Exit music
    “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
    https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
     
    Interval music
    “Silly Intro,” by Alexander Nakarada
    https://filmmusic.io/song/4786-silly-intro
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
     
    Podcast information
    WeAreSTS is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, or to leave feedback about the show:
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast
    This site also includes information for how STS students and staff can get involved with our programme.
    Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain, unless otherwise noted.
    WeAreSTS producer is Professor Joe Cain.
    Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

    • 40 min
    #12 Top Marks for Philosophy of Science and Medicine in REF Impact | WeAreSTS

    #12 Top Marks for Philosophy of Science and Medicine in REF Impact | WeAreSTS

    Professor Sarah Edwards and Professor Phyllis Illari discuss their contributions the STS’s impact in philosophy of science and medicine. They were lead contributors to two top-rated “impact cases” in UCL’s 2021 entry to the REF assessment, the UK’s research excellence framework. That’s a national review of university research productivity. Sarah’s project involves policy-making about emerging diseases. Phyllis’s project involves policy-making when evidence in conflicting and incomplete. Simply put, “impact” is a measure of how much a influence an academic university research project has had on non-academic communities, such as business, media, schools, and medicine.
     
    Summary of Professor Edwards’s project
    Edwards’ research informed the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Ethics Guidance and a Training Manual for clinical research during epidemics of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, for which no effective treatments or vaccines are known. The ethics guidance applied to 4955 studies undertaken into WHO’s priority infectious diseases and pathogens with over 88 million participants globally. Edwards' research has benefited individuals participating in clinical research by promoting wider access to new and repurposed medicines and by protecting the rights and interests of current patients. Edwards initiated the development of an Afrocentric ethics framework for clinical research during epidemics across Africa and supervised a project for the African Union Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC), involving wide consultation, engagement, and training. Her expertise has been consulted over clinical research for COVID-19 by organisations such as WHO, Africa CDC, and the US FDA which issued new guidelines leading to >370 early approvals of medicines and medical products with surveillance for research.
     
    Full impact case study
    https://results2021.ref.ac.uk/impact/999f7328-c0ea-441f-8808-bee2281a2c27?page=1
     
    Summary of Professor Illari’s project
    Public bodies, such as health boards or government departments, must reliably interpret evidence to properly inform their decision-making. Illari and Clarke’s work explores the diverse types of evidence obtained from biological and social mechanisms and systems, and how these are used for multiple purposes. This has impacted on 1) international methodologies for evidence assessment in health by increasing the plurality of evidence they use, particularly evidence of mechanisms (NICE, IARC), and on 2) UK ethical frameworks for AI and data science by improving their evidence use, particularly their attention to anticipating and monitoring how systems including populations react to new ethics frameworks (Cabinet Office, DCMS, West Midlands Police, the NHS). The beneficiaries are patients who need high quality medical advice both in England and Wales and internationally, and all people in the UK affected by government and NHS data projects such as the UK Cabinet Office Framework for Data Ethics and the NHS Code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology.
     
    Full impact case study
    https://results2021.ref.ac.uk/impact/716079e1-ae40-478d-a477-ba7ef89b5383?page=1
     
    More about REF
    REF is a complex administrative process. For more about UCL’s work across all REF categories:
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/research/evaluation/research-excellence-framework/ref-2021
    For more about REF from its organisers:
    https://www.ref.ac.uk/
     
    Featuring
     
    Interviewees
     
    Professor Sarah Edwards
    UCL Professor of Bioethics
    https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=SJLED13
     
    Professor Phyllis Illari
    UCL Professor of Philosophy of Science
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/illari
     
    Interviewer
     
    Professor Joe Cain
    UCL Professor of History and Philosophy of Biology
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain
     
    Music credits
     
    Intro and Exit music
    “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
    https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5
    License:

    • 38 min
    BONUS Scientific Research for Development, a seminar from Dr Michel Wahome | WeAreSTS

    BONUS Scientific Research for Development, a seminar from Dr Michel Wahome | WeAreSTS

    Dr Michel Wahome presents a wide-ranging critique of the “research for development” (R4D) model in science and technology policy, with special emphasis on its assumptions about innovation and progress. The deepest concerns we should have with this widely used model, she argues, is its deep faith the ability of science alone to solve social problems. The over-emphasis on science and technology alone is misguided. Alternatives - grounded in meaningful engagement, transdisciplinarity and decolonial practice - are available that deliver positive results.
    Michel researches technoscientific knowledge and research production in Global South contexts, and the interaction with prevailing ideas about development and technoscientific progress.
    This episode is the audio from a talk in the STS Research Seminar series from December 2021. It was recorded via Zoom, and this recording features only the speaker’s presentation. Powerpoint slides are available for download separately.
     
    Featuring
    Speaker: Dr Michel Wahome, Lecturer in Science, Technology, and Society
    https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=MWAHO83
    Host: Professor Jack Stilgoe, Professor in Science Policy
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/stilgoe
    Host: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain
     
    Music credits
    “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
    https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
    Ecossaise in E-flat (WoO 86) by Kevin MacLeod
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/3700-ecossaise-in-e-flat-woo-86-
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
     
    Production information
    Editing and post-production by Professor Joe Cain.
     
    Podcast information
    “WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast
    STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.
    “WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain.
    Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

    • 1 hr 9 min
    BONUS Pale, Male and Stale? Scientists on Netflix and Disney+ | WeAreSTS

    BONUS Pale, Male and Stale? Scientists on Netflix and Disney+ | WeAreSTS

    STSNewsRoom #3. Chelsea Tripp reports. The lack of representation on screen is a political issue on everybody’s lips. I investigate how popular streaming platforms, Netflix and Disney+, portray scientists in terms of gender, race, sexuality, neurodivergency, and socio-economic background. Is representation of the scientist moving away from being presented as white, straight, and male? If not, why do big corporations like Netflix and Disney+ continue to present this image of scientists, and what can we do to improve representation as individuals?
    The research mentioned in the episode is available as a supplement to the podcast. Depending on your listening platform, you can download the pdf directly or from our website:
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/file/13005
     
    Featuring
    Presenter: Chelsea K. Tripp
    She is profiled in “UCL Scholarship Stories”
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/advancement/case-studies/2021/oct/scholarship-stories-how-deepmind-helped-chelsea-tripp-realise-her-potential
    She’s also featured in our annual magazine, STS Alchemy 2021
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/alchemy
     
    Interviewees:
    1. Dr Stephen Hughes, Lecturer (Teaching) in Public Engagement
    https://iris.ucl.ac.uk/iris/browse/profile?upi=SCLEM77
    2. Dr Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Associate Professor in Science Communication
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/gouyon
    3. Gemma Milne, science broadcaster, writer, and journalist
    https://www.gemmamilne.co.uk
    4. Jasmine Chakravarty featured in the break.
    WeAreSTS Host: Professor Joe Cain, Professor in History and Philosophy of Biology
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain
     
    Music credits
    Music in the show’s introduction and conclusion:
    “Rollin At 5,” by Kevin MacLeod
    https://filmmusic.io/song/5000-rollin-at-5
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
     
    In the break we heard:
    Silly Intro by Alexander Nakarada
    Link: https://filmmusic.io/song/4786-silly-intro
    License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
     
    Inside the episode, Chelsea uses this music:
    -Introductory and end music- “A happy smile on your face” by Music L Files
    -Suspense sound effect- “Under investigation” by Iconics Music Production and Composition
    -Clock sound effect- “Grandfather clock ticks” by Videvo
    -Applause- “Number 1 sound effect” by Soundjay.com
     
    Production information
    Editing and post-production of the episode by Chelsea Tripp.
    Show editing and production by Professor Joe Cain.
     
    Podcast information
    “WeAreSTS” is a production of the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL). To find out more, and to leave feedback about the show, visit us online:
    https://ucl.ac.uk/sts/podcast
    STS Students and staff also can find on the website information about how to get involved with our programme.
    “WeAreSTS” producer is Professor Joe Cain
    Twitter: @stsucl #WeAreSTS

    • 38 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
3 Ratings

3 Ratings

ehrman_s ,

Much anticipated podcast!

Great to hear STS scholars at all levels! Brilliant initiative showcasing the best of UCL Science and technology studies.

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