1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
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  3. The Human Genre Project

Genomics Forum · News

Are Scientists Human?



Creative writing workshop to explore the “human face” of science.


How accurately do the media and contemporary culture – including hit TV series such as The Big Bang Theory and Fringe – portray science and scientists? If creative writers experience science first-hand, how might this influence the way scientists are represented in fiction? These are just some of the questions that are likely to be explored – and hopefully answered – in a creative writing workshop hosted by Genomics Forum Bright Ideas Fellow,.

Through her work as writer-in-residence at the University of Bristol’s Science Faculty, Tania has been able to experience at first hand the work of a range of scientists, and observe scientific experimentation, “as it happens”. This has allowed her to attempt to present a different face of science in a number of short stories she has produced during her residency. With funding from Arts Council England, she is now working on a new collection of short stories inspired both by these experiences and by the classic 1917 scientific text, On Growth and Form, by Scottish biologist D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Speaking in advance of the workshop – which will take place at the Genomics Forum at 11.30am on Friday 13 April – Tania Hershman said: “As a former science journalist, I’m aware that science is often portrayed in the media as being very black and white, a monolith, where it's all about right or wrong. Likewise, scientists are frequently characterised as being aloof, eccentric or even socially inept. “Having had the opportunity to see scientists in action in the laboratory, it’s clear that the popular representation of scientists is somewhat misguided. Whilst the language they use might be unfamiliar, they experience the same triumphs and setbacks any one of us might encounter during a typical day at work. “A science lab is a fascinating world, full of inspiration for the creative writer, but not a place many of us are privileged to enter. During the workshop I shall be sharing how I used some of the “fly on the wall” observations of scientists at work and the rhythms of life in a lab in my short stories – and helping people find ways to take inspiration from science to stimulate their own creative writing." Tania’s science-themed work will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Friday 13 April, as part of the Made in Bristol segment.The workshop will take place at 11:30am, Friday 13 April 2012, at the . No previous experience is necessary, and full details, including how to book places, are available from the .


drawing of a mad scientist