This 2009 Conference issue of Sofia contains edited versions of the talks given by our three speakers, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Michael Reiss and Tom Shakespeare.
Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, the astrophysicist, spoke about authority, in religion and, particularly, in science. Professor Michael Reiss, Director of Science Education at the University of London Institute of Education, discussed the teaching of evolution and the debate about 'creationism'. Writer and researcher Tom Shakespeare raised some questions about disability and genetics. These three very different talks ranged widely over their scientific fields and provided much food for thought and discussion. Our three experts all spoke extremely well and could be understood even by those, like me, who went to schools where science (except a little gentle biology) was regarded as unnecessary for young ladies.
At the Conference, we launched the new SOF book, This Life on Earth and it was rather delightful that one of our Trustees supplied a dozen bottles of best bubbly from her own vineyard (supplemented by a good many more bottles of ordinary Cava). Sales were also effervescent and the first edition of the book has now sold out. By the time this Sofia arrives, the second edition will be printed. So do order your copy if you have not already got one or buy more copies to give as presents.
In this issue of Sofia we also have the report of a Conference Workshop on Evolution run by David Paterson and a specially commissioned cartoon by Josh. The SOF Sift column continues with a contribution from Ottery St Mary in Devon and we have a new column from Radio Rockall (possibly a pirate?)
Please do continue to send your letters (and don't just write in when you want to moan about something!) But note that Ken Smith has retired as Letters Editor to concentrate on Portholes and local groups. So letters should now be sent to Sofia Editor, Dinah Livingstone.