THURSDAY, 15 APRIL 2021Disclaimer: The contents of this article represent opinions and views shared on Twitter, and do not necessarily constitute peer reviewed scientific research.
As coronavirus vaccinations roll out across the globe, preparations have begun for a new era. How will industries recover from a global pandemic? What will be the resulting effects on the job market? Will socialising resume in the same way as before? It’s hard to predict what the future will look like, and many of the questions being asked are also relevant to science, and on the agenda of those sharing their opinions via Science Twitter.
With the academic job market a tough place at the best of times, many are coming to Twitter in this especially uncertain age in order to point out new and long-standing issues with the hunt for jobs and grants. Others are keen on pointing out clear issues with academia in general that have the potential to change as society reflects and restructures. More positive outlooks are also available: seasoned researchers often use the platform to share their successes, and you can find plenty of advice intended for those looking to make key decisions about the future. Advice for prospective PhD students in a post-COVID era varies from ‘don’t do it [unless you really HAVE to]’, to ‘pick the right lab culture and you’ll have a great time’.
Hello I'm torn between a grad school where I like the research areas a bit more and a grad school where I like the surrounding culture a bit more and I'm scared I'm gonna pick the wrong one
— Sam (@thetruestsam) March 5, 2021
I'm speaking about "PhDs and loneliness" soon and so I'd love to know your take, your experience, folks.
🤔 What's your experience with loneliness during your time in graduate school, doing a postdoc, or otherwise working as an academic (instructor, researcher, professor)?
— Jennifer Polk, PhD (@FromPhDtoLife) March 3, 2021
Academic and non-academic science communication has never been more important than it is today, as many try to understand the science-based policies that are affecting our lives more than ever. Twitter has emerged as not just a place to communicate science, but also to question our culture of science communication itself, and debate how it should be changed moving forward. There were certainly many opinions on the recent acquisition of NewScientist – the well-known outlet for popular science - by the notorious tabloid Daily Mail. How will scientific information be presented to the public in the future?
Um the Daily Mail just bought New Scientist for £70 million 😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬😬 pic.twitter.com/Ew7ouhevg2
— Raven the Science Maven (@ravenscimaven) March 3, 2021
The way academics communicate even for the simplest of things does not stop to amaze me - from blatant rude to passive aggressive hidden in a veil of 'polite words'.... we need more self-reflection in academia @AcademicChatter
— Niki Frantzeskaki (@NFrantzeskaki) March 2, 2021
Some things, however, haven’t changed – there will always be certain issues that remain widely debated amongst the scientific community. One such issue is the spread of misinformation, or information that may not be trustworthy. Who should we listen to when receiving information, and why are there such conflicting opinions out there? These questions will continue to be discussed, by those with a small following, as well as individuals like Dr Adam Rutherford or Dr Philip Ball, two vocal and prominent science communicators.
Just emailed the lead author of a review article about how X might be used in clinical medicine to ask if I might talk to him about it, and he says he doesn't foresee X being used in clinical medicine, and now I'm wondering if there's something I've been missing about academia.
— Philip Ball (@philipcball) February 5, 2021
Huh. @jordanbpeterson guessing that medicine kills more people than it cures, @BretWeinstein claiming that the evidence for coronavirus being human-made is mounting.
The most casual, cursory glance at the evidence would show these are both balls.
But no, grifters gotta grift. https://t.co/Ixkr5f8T5w
— Dr Adam Rutherford (@AdamRutherford) March 16, 2021
And, of course, there will always be the likes of Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson to throw out a science-related joke or two.
Since the Universe has no center, you can’t be it. pic.twitter.com/FmWSPMfZzV
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 15, 2021
Adiyant Lamba is a second year PhD student studying developmental biology, and News Editor for BlueSci.