Jason Palmer, science journalist of The Economist visited the observatory

Kairi Janson | 23.10.2017

On October 13, 2017 Jason Palmer, a science journalist of the weekly The Economist visited Tartu Observatory. Prior to that he gave a lecture at the University of Tartu on science media and how the scientists could work with it.

Jason Palmer 2017

The observatory team put the main focus of the visit on pointing out that projects like ESTCube help develop next generation of scientists and technologists. At the same time it was stressed that the observatory does not only grow satellite engineers, but also scientists of other technology fields.

Palmer’s visit started with an overview of the observatory’s astronomical work and getting to know the laboratories of the observatory. Among other things Palmer could participate in making a shock resistance test on the model of ESEO (European Student Earth Orbiter). Before that the observatory team members took Palmer on a house tour, showing him the most important parts and rooms. The visit was concluded with a discussion about the remote sensing activity in Tartu Observatory.

Palmer arrived in the observatory after having held a lecture called “How the science media work, and how you can work with them” at the University of Tartu. To illustrate the importance of media as a platform for communicating science, Palmer talked about the results of a Special Eurobarometer study from 2013. It showed that over half of Europeans are interested in science and technology, but noticeably less feel informed about the field. More than half of the Europeans feel that public dialogue is needed.

The lecture was aimed mainly on young scientists and dealt with how science gets to the media and what are the threats regarding this process. Palmer also gave out many practical tips on how to make sure that the media reflected science in the best and most accurate way possible. The whole slideshow in English is available from this link: http://panopto.ut.ee/Panopto/Pages/Embed.aspx?id=95e762bd-3a6f-4351-b331-a9657424e698&v=1.

Jason Palmer is co-editor of Espresso, The Economist’s daily morning briefing app. He joined The Economist as a science and technology correspondent in 2014, after a year-long stint as a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to that, he spent five years as Science and Technology Reporter for the BBC. He was a Richard Casement intern at The Economist in 2007. He holds a PhD from Imperial College London.