On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BBC Radio 4 show ‘The Life Scientific’, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sat down with his distinguished guests and reflected on what qualities make a scientist and how, now, successful science is moving past laboratories and journals and into boardrooms and parliaments. Sue Black, forensic scientist and member of the House of Lords, emphasised the need for communication of science to be two-way; instead of assuming a didactic position, scientists ought to listen just as much as they are talking, in order to embed science in society. Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said, on the relationship between policymakers and scientists, that ‘conversations with multiple voices in the room create a better interface between research and government’ to break down the artificial separation between the two.
So, can anyone be a scientist? According to this panel of scientists, it takes a huge range of people to make science ‘work’, not just the socially awkward stereotypes you see on ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Science is driven by curiosity about the world and is only as exclusive as asking the question ‘why?’.
To listen to the whole podcast, you can visit the BBC Sounds website.