Wally Funk's Race for Space by Sue Nelson
Wally Funk’s Race for Space is the first book to cover the true story of a female pilot who led the way for women in space
Published by The Westbourne Press in Hardback, 4th October 2018, £14.99
'An extraordinary, quirky book ... A global Thelma and Louise-style adventure ... It's a great story, and it throws fascinating light on the story of female space travel.' Daily Mail Book of the Week
'Fascinating story ... Wally Funk's character leaps off the page ... she is fantastic and so inspirational. ... if you want to see someone with spunk and determination, that is the book to read.' Naga Munchetty, BBC Breakfast
'Wally Funk's story is a textbook study in indefatigable, American, can-do spirit.' The Guardian
ABSW Podcasting course in Leeds
10:00-17:00, Tuesday March 12, 2019
The Conservatory, Duke Studios, No 3 Sheaf St, LEEDS, LS10 1HD
Cost: £100 inc VAT for ABSW members (you can join to attend - just complete the registration form for this course and pay for your membership and training course in all in one payment, then complete our membership application form).
In Conversation with the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government
Did you miss this ABSW and Science Museum event, would you like to know more?
Board member and organiser of the event Bob Ward has written a blog post on the event along with a full audio recording.
ABSW member Alison Cooper has also provided a brief review:
Dr Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser outlined his vision and priorities for science, within the current international climate.
Science relies on international collaboration across the world. The UK ‘punches above its weight’ in terms of research output. Brexit presents a risk of the scientific community not being open to individuals, and these interactions are essential. He will aim to keep the UK as close as possible to EU research initiatives, whatever happens.
Globally scaled case studies can demonstrate the UK’s contribution e.g the ‘Ebola Crisis in Conga’ gives insight into how vaccines work in a real situation. This is under reported because of war.
There are exciting developments in genetic editing, such as CRISPR babies and germ line therapy, for example to treat HIV. It is important to bear in mind, there may be off target, unintended, ‘late effects’ that can’t be known for many years. Preventative therapy is a big step if a person may not be at risk.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a disruptive technology. There are some areas where it could be beneficial, such as finding patterns in data, and opportunities to look at processes. Public expectations about AI, for example replacing people in jobs, present a danger of it not being used when it could be effective and save time. We should resist this, recognise potential biases, regulate, and aim to improve it for the NHS. Increasing the diversity of algorithm builders and coders is important.
Information from NHS and stored in the Biobanks positions the UK ahead in international research. He wants to ensure that use of public data benefits the NHS.
The newly formed UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), previously RCUK, has an influential agenda for multidisciplinary research. This is needed for translational research (route to public/patients). Gaps in the funding landscape need to be addressed, to resource all parts of the pipeline, recognising research is not a linear process. This includes support for fundamental, ‘blue skies’ research. The pull through to innovation (products) needs strengthening and could make use of Systems Engineering Processes, with a move towards an ‘investment’ rather than ‘grants’ culture.
He is fascinated by the potential for emerging data visualisation tools. These can transform policy decision making.
He recognised the importance of supporting diverse career pathways for opportunities in science and to consider broader practical and people implications for research.
Here's how we promoted the event:
Would you like to know how Brexit will affect British science? Or the threats that antimicrobial resistance and climate change pose to the UK? Or the impact of the UKRI/research council shake up? Or how we should manage the risks and opportunities of artificial intelligence?
These are some of the searching questions that you could ask Dr Patrick Vallance in one of his first public outings as the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government.
Dr Vallance took up his new post in April 2018 following a distinguished career in medical research and the pharmaceuticals industry, including a period as President of Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline.
In a unique appearance at the Science Museum's Lates, Dr Vallance will begin by outlining his priorities before being quizzed by Dr Roger Highfield, Director of External Affairs at the Museum, and former editor of New Scientist and science editor of The Daily Telegraph, and will also take questions from the audience.
If you are a member of the Association of British Science Writers and want to hear answers from the UK Government’s top scientist, without the intervention of a spin doctor, then join us at the Science Museum on Wednesday 28 November.
How to build a career as a freelance science journalist - event report
Martha Henriques event organiser and Board member reports on this ABSW panel discussion...
ABSW 'missed the deadline' late christmas party
Is January looking like one long, dark, cold and empty month?
Fear not, every year the ABSW misses the deadline, and holds its Christmas Party in January.
So come and join us for some free drinks and bar snacks and a chance to catch up with colleagues old and new.
Wednesday 9 January 18:30 til late
The Station Master's Office, The Parcel Yard, King's Cross Station
Falling walls conference and press trip to Berlin - Gemma Milne reports
I recently returned from the Falling Walls conference and press trip for Berlin Science Week, made possible through the ABSW and EUSJA. Both the conference itself and the gathering of journalists from all over Europe - and indeed, the world - were well worth my time and, simply, a great reminder of why I love to write about science.
The trip consisted of a press day on the Wednesday, followed by two days of the Falling Walls conference - in its 10th year, a global multidisciplinary gathering of high level scientists and up and coming innovators.
For the press day, there were 10 EUSJA journalists (the delegation I was a member of) and 10 Falling Walls Journalism Fellows (journalists from all over the world, who had applied for a similar scheme, directly through the conference). This meant that there were 19 fellow science writers, from Brazil and India, to the US and Russia, to swap stories with and generally get to to know while we toured some of Berlin's science and technology institutes - including the Natural History Museum.