Leader: BA excites enthusiasm

September 5, 2003

The British Association for the Advancement of Science, which meets next week in Salford, has a simple mission: to create excitement about science.

The task ought to be painless enough in an era of massive public interest in science. Issues from stem cells to a possible asteroid collision with Earth fill newspapers, and every bookshop has a shelf of popular science titles. And although the BA has not shared in the recent growth of popular interest in science, its imminent move to the Science Museum in London will put it in the right place to make the most of the opportunities. The BA has always outperformed its small size and resources. It does far more than merely holding the annual conference with which it is synonymous. But its need for funds means that it is often too close to sponsors whose main interest is in science that might lead to business success. This year's focus, on science for sustainability, is a promising improvement and may allow a wider public to be engaged.

This is especially necessary at a time when industry is becoming more reluctant to spend heavily on research, and when science is facing a difficult government spending review. The BA's task of showing that new knowledge is exciting in its own right, and central to modern society, has never been more vital.

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns