Mark Henderson

Monday, February 7 2011 at 7:30PM

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Strutton Ground

Mark Henderson

What's the talk about?

Mark Henderson, Science Editor of the Times, is writing a book about science and politics. It’s called The Geek Manifesto, and it will be published next spring by Bantam Press. It will celebrate the emerging confidence and activism of people who care about science and critical thinking – the geeks – and explain how this emerging force can change politics for the better.

As he plans the book, Mark is seeking your ideas about what ...he should include. In this event, he’ll explain the project and ask you to share your thoughts.

Mark’s central thesis is that science and politics don’t get as much out of one another as they could. Science doesn’t always get the support it deserves from government: poor funding, badly-framed regulation, and policy initiatives such as the immigration cap often hamper researchers and their research. Equally, politics doesn’t draw often enough on the problem-solving power of the scientific method — the best tool yet developed for working out what works.

The Geek Manifesto will explore the policy failures that have been influenced by this disconnect, and examine what both governments and the geeks themselves can do to improve matters. Mark would particularly like you to think about four questions:

- What are the best examples of geek activism, what have they achieved and what can we learn from them?

- What else can geeks do to hold politicians and civil servants to account, and to promote better use of science in public contexts?

- What are the best examples of bad practice, where poor use of evidence or poor awareness of the methods of science have led to policy failures?

- Where have politicians and civil servants done well? Are there examples that could be emulated elsewhere?

You can also discuss the project on the Geek Manifesto blog: