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Who gets your vote for changing the world?

Posted by on April 19, 2014

by Natasha Neill, executive officer at the Society of Biology launches her online poll on biologists who have changed the world

‘Biology: Changing the World’ is the Society of Biology’s first project looking at biology heritage. Various activities and resources are planned over the next nine months, and the first of those is our poll to find the top ten biologists who have changed the world. We’re asking you to get involved and vote for your champion – and encourage others to do the same!

From public nominations, existing ‘blue plaques’ celebrating scientists and the historical ‘greats’ we selected a range of individuals who’ve made different sorts of contribution to biology and the world. The poll is open to members, supporters and friends of the Society of Biology, and the results will be released toward the end of May. Voting in the poll will take place online and information on the 40 individuals to vote for can be found on our website. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring some ‘voting campaigns’ from voters championing their chosen individual – hoping to get your vote and ensure their scientist makes the top 10. If you are interested in being a ‘champion’, please get in touch.

Looking towards the coming months, a lot of the project activity will be going on at the Society of Biology head office, with me and Anita frantically searching the internet and history books for inspiring stories and objects. Biology Week 2014 will be an important time for us – and I can’t wait for the launch of our mobile app and website, and the unveiling of our ten commemorative plaques – which should follow shortly after.

Public engagement with the project is really key to its success and the support of member organisations, and individuals that we’ve spoken to has been great so far – but there are always more stories or unsung heroes to be found. If you have any individuals, or notable scientific locations that you want to see included in the project, please do get in touch with us.

Last week I underwent archival research training, looking at how to identify the primary sources that I’d be using to add interesting stories to the individuals we’re featuring. One thing that was clear to me was the sheer volume of information that there is, and how interesting, and surprisingly unknown, the majority of this is. Our project will hopefully be the first step in making sure that the history of biology is brought to life.

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