Natural History Society debate

Professor Matthew Holley makes a point.

The Natural History Society here at the University of Sheffield aims to engage students from all disciplines with science and its importance in our society. This year we have welcomed professional scientists to talk to us about their work over a drink in the pub. We’ve also had nature walks in the Peak District, a trip to Chester Zoo, a wildlife photography competition and David Attenborough film nights… to name a few!

This year we aimed to promote our events to an even wider audience and launched our first Science-Arts event, modelled on the university’s ‘Arts-Science Encounters’. Professor Matthew Holley, head of the Department of Biomedical Science, battled it out with freelance journalist, Emma Wilkinson, for our event: ‘Science and the media: a compatible pair?’ The aim of the evening was to discuss common conflicts that often occur between the two parties when communicating science and what can be done to improve this relationship. We considered issues such as how far will a journalist go to in order to produce a story, what role does the scientist play if science is inaccurately reported and, what is more important when communicating science: accuracy or entertainment?

We aim to hold events that are topical and relevant to all members of the university, whether science students or not. We feel that we achieved this with our recent Science-Arts event. We have very recently been awarded ‘Best Special Interest Society’ within the university this year and we will continue to provide stimulating and enjoyable events next year.