Tom Sheldon

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Tom Sheldon is the Senior Press Officer of the Science Media Centre.[1]

Education

Sheldon trained as a biologist and has degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Bioinformatics, and an uncompleted thesis on protein structure prediction[2] for a doctorate in Mathematical Biology.[3]

Career

Science Media Centre

Sheldon joined the Science Media Centre as Engineering Press Officer in April 2008[2], and was later promoted to Senior Press Officer. He 'handles any issues in the fields of engineering, energy and the environment that hit the headlines'.[1]

Views on public understanding of science

Sheldon gave oral evidence to the UK Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology inquiry on 'Climate: Public understanding and policy implications', noting:

Climate change has had more than its fair share of controversies over the last few years. However, those fights and battles tend to be media or political controversies rather than scientific controversies, but we always see those media events, storms and kinds of threats as opportunities for scientists to get into the media and make their climate research better understood by the public.
In terms of public understanding of climate science, it is vital for scientists to be brutally honest with the public about their research. We want the public to hear from as wide a range of climate scientists as possible who can explain the importance of CO2 in the atmosphere, polar ice melt, ocean acidification, links between climate and weather, as has just come up with the Met Office, and things like that.
Greg Philo from the Glasgow University Media Group and Tom Sheldon giving evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee.
Public trust in scientists is routinely reported from surveys as very high among the professions: it is 70% and 80%. That is very much because the public expect scientists to tell the unvarnished truth about things, stripped of all politics and messaging. Catherine referred to things being seen as led by agendas. Trust in science is routinely so high because science is not led by an agenda; it is neutral. Climate data tell a very important story that needs to be heard, but the evidence itself is politically and socially neutral. Scientists need to communicate that.[4]

Sense About Science

Sheldon volunteered with Sense About Science in summer 2007, contributing to their expose of pseudoscience and blogging for the Guardian newspaper. [1]

Writing

Sheldon has written several books including Sudoku Genius (2005) and had 'a sideline in children's books'.[3]

Affiliations

Science Technology Engineering and Medicine Public Relations Association (STEMPRA)

Sheldon is a member of the PR network Science Technology Engineering and Medicine Public Relations Association (STEMPRA).[5]

Publications

Contact

Email: tom [AT] sciencemediacentre.org

External resources

  • Video of Tom Sheldon giving evidence at an oral evidence session of the UK Parliament's Science and Technology Committee's inquiry into 'Climate: Public understanding and policy implications' on Wednesday 19 June 2013, (or see the transcript)

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Science Media Centre (2013), Staff, 11 August 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Science Media Centre (2008),Staff profile, via Internet Archive, accessed 11 August 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hodder (2013),Sudoku Genius, accessed 11 August 2013
  4. UK Commons (2013), Transcript 19 June 2013, 'Climate: Public understanding and policy implications', Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology, accessed 11 August 2013
  5. STEMPRA (2013), New members, accessed 11 August 2013