Skip to main content


Latest article

Reconstructing a historical calendar: Haarlem and the lantern lecture season

By Dulce da Rocha Gonçalves The so-called social winter season, which aligned with solar time (from October to April) rather than with the winter season, was a bustling period of cultural activities in the Netherlands during the first decades of the twentieth century. As the local newspaper Haarlem’s Dagblad reminded its readers at the start of the season of 1925/26:   "With the end of daylight saving time, it seems to us as if the door behind the summer is shut with a bang; suddenly, the long evenings begin, seemingly without twilight, and we think again of books and courses, meetings and lectures, concerts, and performances. There are plenty of options, but a choice must be made." Lantern lectures were among the activities organized by the many associations and societies established in Haarlem, an average-sized city situated less than 20 kilometers west of Amsterdam and home to about 75 000 people at this time. To put it in today’s terms, a public lantern lecture could be
Recent posts

Who Makes AI?

  By Stephen Cave, Kanta Dihal, Eleanor Drage and Kerry McInerney Women are even less likely to appear as AI scientists in film than in real life – and when they do, they’re low-status and likely to get killed What do the films Metropolis (1927), AI: Artificial Intelligence (2001) and Ex Machina (2014) have in common? They feature male AI scientists in Frankenstein-esque roles, intent on masterminding the creation of new life. In our paper ‘ Who Makes AI? ’, we analyze 100 years’ worth of popular AI films to see who makes AI on screen. The results are striking: only 9 out of 116 (8%) AI professionals in influential films are female. This is even lower than the 22% of female AI professionals in real life. This dearth of women AI scientists on screen, coupled with the way male AI scientists are represented as anti-social geniuses with God complexes, is likely to be discouraging women from entering the profession. AI is one of the most impactful and lucrative technologies of our age. A

Memes can be seriously funny: The vaccination debate on social media

By Anastasiya Fiadotava, Anastasiya Astapova, Rebecca Hendershott, Merryn McKinnon and Anna-Sophie Jürgens. Sharing funny memes on social media is a way of making others laugh, but recent research shows it can also be a useful way of making controversial issues, like vaccination, more understandable. During the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination has become a popular topic for jokes, memes and other forms of humour. But heated debate - and hilarious humour - about vaccination has been around for decades. Despite the omnipresence of vaccination humour, little is known about its role and impact on public responses to highly politicised mass vaccination. In science communication, humour effectively makes content more entertaining and accessible; therefore, it is important to know what layer it adds to the vaccination debates. We collected and analysed humorous content and memes from social media and websites dedicated to popular culture between December 2020 and February 2021 to try to addre

Who needs community-level science-literacy?

By Lea Taragin-Zeller, Yael Rozenblum and Ayelet Baram-Tsabari I get off the phone with Rabbi Stastky (a pseudonym), and just can’t seem to get back to work. The story he tells me, leaves my mind (and heart) pacing. As part of a study on science communication and religion, I was interviewing Rabbi Statsky, a medical askan (self-ascribed community expert) who serves as an inner-communal mediator for Haredi (strictly Orthodox) men and women during their encounters with Israel’s “secular” medical system. Whereas Haredi Jews are constantly critiqued for their low levels of individual secular and science literacy, these askanim often claim that the knowledge and networks they provide to Haredi individuals surpass that of the average “secular” Israeli. To illustrate this paradox, he shared the following story: " On an individual level—especially young couples—they have a very low level of knowledge, I would even say too little, really no knowledge. I met a woman who came out of a surger

#AcademicTwitter series: How to (and why) use Twitter lists

  By Cristina Rigutto  &   Elena Milani Twitter lists are a simple way of grouping feeds of all the people you want to hear from on a given topic, place, organisation or even event. What makes them interesting is that, unlike your home feed, lists aren't affected by Twitter's algorithms and will display only the tweets from accounts you put on that list. Lists are also a great tool for helping your people to get to know each other better, improve networking, and connect with those who matter most to you, such as: Authors that publish in your field Research team members Colleagues from other organisations Journals in your field Alumni of a university degree or course Participants of a Twitter Chat you hosted People who share a common interest with you Speakers or attendees you met at a conference Journalists or blogger who writes about your field of research Research funding bodies relevant to your field You can create your own list (Twitter allows up to 1000 lists per acco