Climate Change

AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science

The AAAS Award for Public Engagement with Science, established in 1987, recognizes scientists and engineers who make outstanding contributions to the “popularization of science.” The award conveys a monetary prize of $5,000, a commemorative plaque, and complimentary registration and travel to the AAAS Annual Meeting.


Pennsylvania State University professor and climate scientist Michael E. Mann received the 2018 award at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

According to a recent AAAS news article “the honor recognizes Mann’s ‘tireless efforts to communicate the science of climate change to the media, public and policymakers.’

In the past year, Mann has had 500 media interviews and appearances and directly reached public audiences via social media. His op-eds and commentaries have been published in dozens of outlets, including The Washington PostThe Guardian, Le Monde, CNN and The New York Times. He has also advised actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who spoke about climate change during a 2014 speech delivered to the United Nations.

Mann was nominated by Susan Hassol, director of Climate Communication, a nonprofit science and outreach project. In her nomination letter, Hassol wrote that in one year, ‘Mann has done more to engage with the public on science than most active scientist-communicators do in an entire career.’”

Philosophia Scientiæ: CALL FOR PAPERS


A schematic illustration showing how nanoparti...
A schematic illustration showing how nanoparticles or other cancer drugs might be used to treat cancer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Still room at the bottom ? The conformation of nanoscience and nanotechnology today

Special issue of Philosophia Scientiæ 23/1 (February 2019)

Guest editors: Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent; Jonathan Simon

Submission Deadline01/12/2017

Acceptance Notification: 01/03/2018

Final version due: 01/05/2018

Still room at the bottom ? The conformation of nanoscience and nanotechnology today.

In December 1959, Richard Feynman launched the nano movement with his legendary catchphrase ‘there’s plenty of room at the bottom’. Almost 60 years later, there are many reasons for thinking that the nanosciences are now reaching or have already reached maturity: A large and growing volume of publications in the area, undergraduate and graduate programmes, international conferences, and a wide range of research around different aspects of nanoscience and nanotechnology. In comparison to chemistry, physics and biology, this is, of course, a young field, but we want to take the opportunity of this publication to take stock of what has been achieved and how the domain has evolved over the course of its short history. Thus, in this volume we invite philosophers, as well as sociologists and anthropologists of science and technology to reflect on where the nanosciences have come from, where they are now and the orientation of their development over the decades to come.

One way to think about this question would be to ask whether nanoscience has acceded to the status of a normal science as described by Kuhn, based upon a shared well-defined, consensual paradigm. Given its heterogeneous nature, one might argue that nanoscience cannot or should not pretend to such a status. Another question is to ask whether this heterogeneous or essentially interdisciplinary nature of nanoscience should lead us to expect new configurations of the field, even beyond the numerous ‘convergences’ already predicted in a relatively near future. In other words, is there still plenty of room at the bottom ?

Possible themes to be explored:

  • The contours of nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • The likely evolution of nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • The promise of NBIC and other convergence.
  • Illuminate the relationship between nanoscience and nanotechnology.
  • The realisation of the industrial applications of nanoscience.
  • The importance of foundational techniques (notably the scanning-tunneling electron microscope) and the orientations they give to research and to theory.
  • The relationship between traditional disciplines and the nano, notably in terms of the many convergence hypotheses (in particular the much-discussed NBIC convergence).
  • The history and function of particular materials – such as nanotubes.
  • The interaction between ethical interrogation around the nanosciences and the sciences themselves. Have ethical reflections had an effect on the area and vice versa ?

Manuscripts should be submitted in French, English, or German, and prepared for anonymous peer review.

Abstracts in French and English of 200-300 words in length should be included.

Articles should not exceed 50,000 characters (spaces, list of references and footnotes included).

Please send submissions to:

Guidelines for authors are to be found on the journal’s website:

General submissions within this range are welcome.


On Feelings


Feelings: What Are They and How Does the Brain Make Them?


The human mind has two fundamental psychological motifs. Descartes’s proclamation, “I think, therefore I am,”1 illustrates one, while Melville’s statement, “Ahab never thinks, he just feels, feels, feels,” exemplifies the other. Our Rationalist inclinations make us want certainty (objective truth), while the Romantic in us basks in emotional subjectivity. Psychology and neuroscience recognize this distinction: cognition and emotion are the two major categories of mind that researchers study. But things were not always quite like this.

From Nautilus

Mental Illness


Review – Thomas S. Szasz: The Man and His Ideas
by Jeffrey A. Schaler, Henry Zvi Lothane, and Richard E. Vatz (Editors)
Routledge, 2017

Review by Bob Lane
Aug 13th 2017 (Volume 21, Issue 32)

Have an interest in “mental illness”? Or, perhaps the mind/body problem as articulated in Cartesianism? Or, philosophy of language – if we can name it does that mean it exists? Or, nominalism/idealism questions – do abstract objects exist? Or, how about Russell’s teapot – Russell’s teapot was an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, to refute the idea that the onus lies somehow upon the sceptic to disprove the unfalsifiable claims of religion or any scientific or philosophic endeavour? Or, mental illness in general – does it exist? If so, just what is it? Or, free will/determinism? Or, is there a pill for every abnormal condition in the human condition? What is the nature of addiction? Cults? Aeschylus and schizophrenia? Philosophy of mind? Interdisciplinary studies? Neroscience? Psychiatry? Interested in knowing more about Thomas Szasz? All of the above? Any of the above?

July Letter from South America

Dear Bob,
You recently posted news about censorship, specifically about a new Florida law that lets anyone challenge topics children learn in school. One complaint is that evolution is taught as if it is ‘reality’. Regression. It is like we are living in Descartes times! And we need him again to appease the Christian right and its anti-evolution stand and let science and rationality keep working (but isn’t that what Pope Francis tried to do when he affirmed that “evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation”? ) We are living this kind of regression in politics over here. It is like every right wing politician wants to turn every important issue into a religious dispute. In a religious country this strategy pays off. Last year, when we had a referendum about a peace process with the oldest guerrilla group in Colombia, there was a strong campaign against it alleging that the agreement included legalization of gay marriage, adoption by gay couples and a broad support for homosexuals. The agreement did include a provision for inclusion, tolerance and more opportunities for single mothers.
Also last year there was a major scandal that involved the Minister of Education. Due to a sentence from the Supreme Court, which ordered the ministry to implement a program to stop bullying of gay and transsexual kids in schools, the Ministry published an informative leaflet that was supposed to help teachers and staff at schools deal with students’ different sexual orientations. The opposition party went up in arms: the government was trying to corrupt our kids and force people to compromise their moral views. The scandal paid off and helped the opposition win the referendum.
Many people now see with concern how political parties associate with churches, aligning their political goals with the religious views. We have an election next year and I am afraid it is going to be ‘religiously’ nasty. Regression. I don’t like the two kinds (or maybe they’re the same kind): those politicians/religious leaders whose goal is to turn the state into the religious state they dream of, or the other kind: the kind that abound here, those who just calculate when to create a moral debate in order to divide and win.  
Then they get elected. And it is no wonder how bad they are. It is shocking how far a politician can go to benefit himself. People in politics who seem smart, honest and educated turn out to be so obscure, so horrible, and so manipulative. It is so ironic that the former anticorruption watchman in Colombia is being extradited to the United States on charges of laundering money collected from bribes. He would approach politicians being accused of corruption and work a scheme to clear them from the charges. But in a kind of Shakespearean act, one of the politicians, object of the official’s briberies, blew the whistle with the DEA and they set the anti-corruption chief a trap.  It worked.
I find it so urgent to learn how science works, how critical thinking works, how important it is to be skeptical, always believing in a politician for good reasons and not believing for equally good reasons; otherwise, it is just a very easy game for them.