Issue 37

Mindboggling: Preliminaries to a science of the mind   by Roy Harris.  Do you have a mind?  Answers to this question have divided Western thinkers for centuries, and still do.  Mindboggling sets out to identify a nucleus of basic issues about the mind, and present the main arguments for and against in each case.  Targeted to a lay readership, each chapter discusses a different theory, myth or idea about the mind.  Anticipate wails from theorists whose theories have been given short shrift.  Mindboggling is available on Amazon, from Bookshops or direct from Publishers.


Science on Television by Bienvenido León.

The book is a clear and systematic guide to the narrative and rhetorical techniques used by science documentary filmmakers. The book is priced at £18.50, but for direct orders we are offering a 20% discount.


Motivating Science is a collection of articles from the first five years of The Pantaneto Forum.  We are offering a 20% discount for direct orders.




We accept as a fact of life that when it comes to public finances: politics always trumps economics, but in areas of public health and social policy, scientists often forget that the same rule applies. Recently, in the UK, the chief government drugs expert and chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs was sacked for “crossing a line into politics”. Other members of the same Council also resigned in protest. So what is the scientific evidence for effective treatment for drug addicts? In “Policy makers ignoring science and scientists ignoring policy”, Dan Small and Ernest Drucker review evidence of programmes in four different countries on heroin addiction. The question politicians (and the public) have to face is: “Is drug addiction a public health issue which has become embroiled in criminality, or a crime issue with public health consequences?


Government funding in the universities in the UK has not kept up with the increase in student numbers. Consequently, academic staff have come under increasing pressure, and in the light of the worsening economic conditions this problem is going to get worse. L. de Meis et al have looked at this problem in Brazil and conclude that a significant proportion of Brazilian scientists will leave academia as a result of stress and burnout. Many scientists in the UK would recognize the same problems unfolding in the UK.


Online learning has already become a significant factor in university education. In “Successful online learning – the five Ps”, Jim Flood characterises the five important factors in making online learning a successful venture.


At the Pantaneto Forum, I have always encouraged articles on science in Africa, which, I believe, will become much more important on the world stage over the coming generations. In Malawi, Alice Saiti describes a teacher education programme, run from Mzuzu University, for science and mathematics teachers, who, in Malawi are, in general, very poorly qualified. The course that the university has run has been successful in raising the standards of science and mathematics teaching, and could serve as a model in other countries.


The proceedings of the Science Matters conference, which we reported in Issue 28, October 2007, have just been published and are available from the publishers – World Scientific.


Nigel Sanitt Editor

ISSN 1741-1572



Policy makers ignoring science and scientists ignoring policy: the medical ethical challenges of heroin treatment, Dan Small and Ernest Drucker

The growing competition in Brazilian science: rites of passage, stress and burnout, L. de Meis, A. Velloso, D. Lannes, M.S. Carmo and C. de Meis

Successful online learning – the five Ps, Jim Flood

University Interventions in Improving the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in Community Day Secondary Schools in Malawi:  Assessment of the Impact, Alice Saiti