Thursday, 13 October 2011

Toxic dinosaurs and blue-sky frontiers

This Monday I have the pleasure of giving a lecture in a wonderful English Pub in the village of Bollington, near Manchester. The Vale Inn is this weeks venue for the Bollington SciBar, one of many such organizations that facilitates the public engagement in science. Splendid! The talk is from 6:30pm on Monday the 17th October and will be the first of many public lectures and events that I speak at between now and Christmas.

The topic for discussion at this meeting is something very close to my heart, public support for ALL scientific investigation. My argument is simple. How can we predict advances in science, when they so often come from disciplines that are quite 'left of field'...the ultimate scientific googly. It is clear that this is something that is on the minds of many folks when it comes to publicly funded science, as I am often asked, 'How can you justify playing with dinosaurs on public funds'...a fair question. In my preliminary defense, I must raise that most of my funding comes from abroad, however...this is not the case for all dino-diggers.
Can digging for dinosaurs provide insight to burying waste?
To hear my full answer to this question, come along to the Bollington SciBar and you will see how science does not always follow a predictable course. I will argue that advances in one field are so often ricocheted from another. But can I dare justify playing with dinosaurs from the public purse...

I have always argued that dinosaurs are a passport into science. Many grow-out of this dino-phase, but some do not...I am living proof of that. The universal appeal of dinosaurs has sometimes been pigeon-holed as nothing more than 'blue-sky' science or 'stamp-collecting', with outcomes offering little relevance to 21st Century life. However, in my talk I will argue that this is changing with the advent of multidisciplinary approaches to the analyses of fossils. These new approaches to antediluvian life will undoubtedly have major impacts on both present and future generations.... interested? Why not come come along to SciBar and find out more.

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