On Monday 14th January, the Franco-British Connections had the pleasure of hosting their first event of 2013, in the beautiful great hall of Goodenough College. The event, entitled ‘The Communication of Social and Scientific Research in France and the UK’, aimed to give an insight on how research is transmitted from an academic setting to the general public, and it was a great opportunity for students to explore and analyse the ways in which these communication methods vary between the cross-channel neighbours, namely France and the UK. The event welcomed numerous students, academics and professionals for an overall very entertaining evening. Following the introductory speeches by representatives of The Franco-British Connections, the French Embassy, The Franco-British Society and the Imperial College French Society, the evening commenced.
The first speaker was Professor Bloch, who researches anthropology at the London School of Economics and the Ecole Normale Supérieure. Prof. Bloch brought up outlined the particular relationship between social science research and the wider public in France, amongst others thanks to the French Education system, which is geared and inclined towards philosophy; but also due to the presence of an important intellectual French community, ranging from politicians to members of the press, which makes it more inclusive and relevant to the population.
Next was Professor Valls-Gabaud, who used to be the deputy director at the Observatoire de Paris, and now continues to pursue his astronomy research interests there. He has also been a visiting scientist at the Royal Greenwich Observatory and at Cambridge. Professor Valls-Gabaud gave a very extensive and entertaining overview of the communication of science, more precisely astronomy, in France. He also put forward some interesting ideas for improvement, mainly directed at improving the science learning experience for children.
Lastly, Professor Lord Winston, who is a professor at the Imperial College School of Medicine, and has also been presenter of several successful and award winning BBC documentaries. Professor Winston explained his views on the communication of science from a medical and political point of view, and again highlighted several areas of improvement in the domain of education.
The evening then proceeded with a question and answer session, where members of the audience were able to interact with the speakers and ask some really interesting questions. Many questions sparked some engaging and amusing discussions between the speakers, and several of the highlighted points left the audience very thoughtful. To finish the evening, all were invited to the wine reception, where speakers and guests were able to meet and further discussion.
We would like to thank everyone who came to the conference, and hope that you all enjoyed it as much as we did. Also a big thank you to Goodenough College for being our hosting venue, and to the French Embassy and Eurostar for sponsoring the event. Hopefully see you all very soon for further Franco-British Connections events.
For pictures of the event, please visit our Gallery.