If Bold Signals were to have a central thesis, it would be that science is people.
At the time of this writing, I have recorded the first five interviews for the third season of Bold Signals. I asked a social psychologist about studying unconscious biases and promoting reproducible research, chatted with a physicist about traveling long distances to examine tiny particles, listened to a neuropsychologist and a cognitive ecologist describe their work studying behavior in subcortical structures and in prairie voles, and talked with a science journalist about what it means to write about science from the outside. These interviews cover a lot of ground, but they’re united by the notion that science is a fundamentally human enterprise.
Look forward to all this and more, as Bold Signals returns for its third season on December 12th!
What does it mean to talk about science?
Since November 8th, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to talk about science in an environment full of fake news and “post truth”. As a scientist turned librarian, I want to believe that the accuracy and integrity of information matters. As a person who reads the news and lives in the world, I’m not sure what to believe.
I’ve never been shy about the fact that the whole point is to show that science is populated by a the diverse group of hard-working, dedicated people. In an environment where political figures are calling for end to “political correctness” and “politicized” science, I think it’s important to show that science, like politics, is all about people.
So, in addition to the usual interviews, this season will feature two regular segments borne from my anxiety about what it means to talk about science today.
- Scenes from a Replication Crisis: I’ve usually used the first segment of each episode to muse about current events in science. From my thoughts on a controversial new book to my concern about a breach of research ethics, I have always grounded these segments in science’s present. Instead, in an effort to further understand how science is a product of people, I’ll use this segment to explore science’s past and examine the pressures and incentives that have led science’s ongoing “replication crisis”. Listen as I describe the life and times of Ronald Fisher and try to make the history of p-values interesting to people without a background in statistics or epistemology!
- Bold Signals Documentary Club: If the first segment of the podcast is explicitly about the evolution of scientific methods, the last is about how we talk about science. Last season I used this segment as an excuse to read a bunch of science fiction. This season, I’ll be watching documentaries. I’ll explore the ways in which science is presented and perceived. In the first batch of episodes, I’ll be reviewing Cosmos: A Personal Journey. Listen as I critique probably the most beloved science documentary series of all time!
A Note on the Release Schedule
If you were paying close attention, you may have noticed that the release schedule started to slip at the end of season two. I handle every aspect of producing the podcast myself and, though it may not sound like it, a lot of time and effort goes into each episode of Bold Signals. After moving across the country and starting a new job earlier this year, it became difficult to release a new episode every other Friday.
I’d like very much to keep to a regular release schedule, but I have another pretty major life event set to occur near the end of the year. I’m not sure to what extent this will affect the podcast’s release schedule, but I suspect it’ll be rather irregular this season. Sorry for the inconvenience and thanks in advance for your patience.
As always, episodes will be uploaded to both Soundcloud and figshare.