Food Diary – June 19, 2011 – …and academic professionals

An article has appeared in the journal Public Engagement of Science (will add a link when I have found it again), discussing how scientists, despite being reputed as recluses, are actually very happy to talk about their work. The issue is, they mainly talk to each other, and not to the public. Is this because they believe they do not have any kindred souls in a greater audience who will understand their work? Or is it because they feel that they must vulgarise their work in order to achieve wider understanding? Of these, personally, I feel that the ‘dumbing down’ is the most unnecessary (if not slightly silly); it should be possible to select portions of research to relay to the public – there are always more and less accessible parts.

Otherwise, I nearly panicked when I could not log in to SAGE journals. More so than when I saw that an eyelash had somehow made its way into my nearly set nail varnish. Is this the mark of a person-who-does-research?

Is eating a lot of random food is also the mark of a researcher?

breakfast19
Cuppa tea, two buttered crumpets; open crispbread sandwich (buttered) with ham and cucumber.

Does anybody know of a way to pack sandwiches without the usual sogginess caused by vegetable fillings? I need to start bringing packed lunches, but do not appreciate soggy food that is supposed to be dry. Could I make my own grown-up’s Lunchables pack? Hm.

snack19
Nectarine.

I had no urge to really cook a proper lunch.

lunch19
Pizza and beetroot.

Then I went for a run. For those of you who are familiar with the last scene in the actual matrix in the Matrix Revolutions, with all the Agent Smiths? Yes, it was rainier than that.

snack19b
2 x crispbread with pate (a lot of it); fruit and fibre with low fat fromage frais.

Then there was a colossal, tempered salad for dinner. Perhaps I could pack salads? The problem with them is opposite to that of sandwiches: you do not want a dry salad.

dinner19
Salad on tuna, spring onion, yellow pepper, iceberg lettuce and sweet chilli sauce.

Finally, because I am weak, some evening snacks.

snack19c
Coffee, nectarine, mini-cars.

Water count: ~1.5l. Though I am sure being drenched outside should have helped moisturising on the outside.

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4 thoughts on “Food Diary – June 19, 2011 – …and academic professionals

  1. I think scientists chat to ‘the public’ about their work more than most, say, accountants do. I don’t think that it is ‘dumbing’ down or vulgarising their work that shifts outreach down the list priorities. To me that suggests scientists with either a disdain or a fear of ‘the public’ – neither of which is a stereotype I have experienced yet. I think that the lack of outreach is to do with how the science ‘system’ is organised.

    Your colleagues at conferences and seminars as they offer much more concrete rewards for the time invested with shared ideas, networking and inspiration as other accountants do to accountants. Professions that prioritise ‘the public’ do so because they are the ‘end users’ of the products or service that they sell.

    For scientists the end user is another scientist.

    I think this is a fundamental reason that outreach is not prioritised. Indeed the outreach that is most supported is aimed at inspiring children to become scientists when they grow up. This is because it is the form of outreach that fulfils the scientists’ implicit primary need to appeal to their end users and secondary need of appealing to funding bodies whose end users are the economy and the electorate. (In that order.)

    Well there’s my two cents which has no grounding in theory or proper understanding of capitalism. It could counter-argued with the same evidence that shows pure capitalism fails when humans act: we don’t make decisions purely weighing benefit versus cost.

    For the sandwiches what my friends do is bring in wraps/ bread and fillings and a knife and make them in situ at lunch.

    1. I definitely see your point, and I do agree – more often than not, the end user of the work of a scientist is indeed another scientist. My personal view is that we are now in a time when people are becoming more aware of how the work of scientists affects them, in which case, I think they have a right to know about it.

      However, I do think that we may need to start with small steps (like everything else in life). Both for “the public” and the scientists. The last big Ipsos MORI survey of SCIENTISTS’ attitude towards Sci Comm showed that a lot of scientists deemed themselves unable to do a good job when facing a lay-audience; mix that up with jargonised language (I know we all love it), and there’s a recipe for trouble.

      Finally, it is DEFINITELY true that there is not enough incentives for scientists to engage the public. Some of them need it, some others (like yourself?) do not. We will have to see how that one develops. Although younger scientists today are already showing signs of embracing the new extension to their role in society.

  2. Annat lunchtips: omelettrulle (=eggwrap)!
    Gör en tunn omelett (två ägg i en rätt stor stekpanna, så blir det som en pannkaka) och rulla ihop med valfri fyllning. Plasta in rullen och ät sen som en macka.
    Kan varieras i mängd, och blir till skillnad från bröd inte blött. Ägg mättar dessutom betydligt bättre än bröd (och ger åtminstone inte mig lika stort sockersug efteråt). Och ytterligare en bra grej: ägg är billigt. Det har blivit några såna luncher för mig här i Norge…

    1. Äsch då, jag äter ju inget bättre. 🙂

      I could make an omelette, then make an omelette wrap, and then wrap a tortilla around it! Mmm…

      What else do Norwegians eat? Other than KvikkLunsj?

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