In September 2013 at the British Science Festival we did some experiments with students from local schools. The idea was to get them thinking about how information and idea spread through populations of people. This could be anything from fashions to rumours and gossip. The experiments had a visual element as the student could see on a projected screen how the network was developing through time. We also mixed things up a bit to make them think about how information might spread if there was an incentive to being one of the majority. It was good fun and I think the students got something out of it. The full article for the Conversation can be read here.
Our new data mining and modelling paper is out today, “Word Diffusion in Climate Science“. Investigating the diffusion of climate science words in the Google ngrams dataset. We make observation that there is often a disjoint between the findings of science and the impact it has in the public domain. This existence of a disjoint is particularly significant when it is important the science reaches the public. Our hypothesis is that important keywords used in the climate science discourse follow “boom and bust” fashion cycles in public usage. If these cycles are linked to the science leaving the public eye then perhaps scientist need to think about they can do to ensure important findings reach as many people as possible.