Field notes and the promise of science…

Read on below for my live-blog post on ‘Helga Nowotny on the promise of science’.

Live-blogging from the Nobel Dialogue conference was a new experience for me—the aim being to sit through a lecture/dialogue, digest the information, write a coherent and constructive blog post and then publish before (or while) heading to next discussion. Despite some thorough research prep ahead of the first day, and reading plenty of live-blogging advice about battery power and staying hydrated, I managed to arrive in the auditorium totally dehydrated, and proceed to deplete my macbook battery in 90 mins. Thus, my first post was executed by mobile phone on WordPress for mobile and submitted by sacrificing my attention to the next talk. Fortunately, the nice thing about having a team other other bloggers is that you know they have the next talk covered.

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In brief…(wry, ironic smile)


THIS weekend I will be attending the Science Online London meeting at the Royal Institution, where 150 delegates will be discussing science blogging and the nature of the web as a medium for the communication, practice and culture of science. It  also happens to be a year since I switched to my own installation of WordPress, and started what I’ve since referred to as a science blog. So I thought it might be a choice time to catalogue just some of the science I have been writing about in the past year.

LHC I started my ramblings last August, which was in time to comment on a report in Nature describing a virus that infects a virus, a virophage. The small virophage was called Sputnik, and it infects an enormous virus, called Mamavirus. This was an astounding piece of observational work, and having realised that such parasitism exists, and adjusted their views to the sizes of particles involved, the researchers reported that this phenomenon may be common in nature. Certainly, if parasitism is occurring at this scale, this may have major repercussions for what we understand about the biology and life-cycles of other important single-celled organisms that are also susceptible to viruses, such as algae. Algae are major players in the production of oxygen and fixing of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, thus viruses that can (and do) infect algae could have indirectly influenced the state of our climate over the millennia.

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