Issue 46

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 from Amazon (including Kindle), 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.  The book is also available on Amazon Kindle.


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.  The book is also available on Amazon Kindle.




Critical thinking skills are an important element in teaching.  “Infectious curiosity manifested in childlike wonder and persistent questioning” are synonymous with the Socratic method often held up as an example of the highest ideals of education.  In “The use and abuse of Socrates in present day teaching”, Anthony Rud Jr examines how the Socratic method is put into practice and, in spite of an enduring core of the Socratic legacy for education, identifies abuse of the method which results in Socratic teaching reduced to “just a questioning exercise” or worse to “ritualized combat”.


Sometimes the best of intensions is not reflected in actual outcomes.  In a recent EU-wide project on Gender Issues in Engineering, it was found that even though a set of good policies were in place, these were not translated into good practices.  In “Turning Good Policies into Good Practice”, Lisa Lee, Wendy Faulkner and Carme Allemany highlight the problems and call for a “culture change” to improve the rate of retention and progression of women in engineering research.


Many senior citizens have embraced information and communication technology.  However, there are a significant percentage of senior citizens who are in danger of being left out.  In “Trapped in the Digital Divide?” Birgit Jæger examines the situation in Denmark and describes a programme aimed at older people.  Whereas information and communication technology are permeating all of society, the elderly are the only group which is significantly behind in the use of the Internet.  The programme Jæger describes aims to proactively encourage seniors and avoid the digital divide based on age.


“Openness has been considered arguably the great strength of the scientific method”.  In “Muddying the water or clearing the stream? Open Science as a communication medium”, Ann Grand et al make the case for greater openness through open science projects.  This extends to open access journals, published data sets, researchers posting their laboratory notebooks on the Internet and blogging.  This involves researchers opening themselves up to a new kind of scrutiny, but such Open Science “offers a way for scientists to clear the stream of communication by presenting their work transparently, directly and completely.”


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


Nigel Sanitt Editor

ISSN 1741-1572



The Use and Abuse of Socrates in Present Day Teaching, Anthony G. Rud Jr.

Turning Good Policies into Good Practice: Why is it so Difficult?, Lisa Lee, Wendy Faulkner and Carme Alemany.

Trapped in the Digital Divide? Old People in the Information Society, Birgit Jæger.

Muddying the waters or clearing the stream?  Open Science as a communication medium,  Ann Grand, Karen Bultitude, Clare Wilkinson and Alan Winfield.