I am a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication. I teach topics including digital communication, public speaking, and research methods. My main research interests are the use of methods from cultural evolution to look at how scientific information is transmitted online, in the lab, and in the real world. Current research projects are looking at escape rooms, twitter and science comedy.
My PhD and some current work is on cognitive science and language evolution. How did human language get to be how it is? I am particularly interested in the emergence of linguistic structure (phonology, morphology and syntax) in both humans and non-human animals, and how modality (speech or sign), iconicity and social factors influence linguistic structure.
I am currently researching public perceptions of digital data collection in relation to robotics and smart cities as part of the EU Horizon 2020 project, SciRoc. I am also interested in investigating the effectiveness of grassroots campaigning on the internet, and how this can be utilised to engage the public in complex policy issues, especially around digital rights.
Science Fiction and Linguistics
I have written an article series on the influences science fiction has had on linguistic research, which I am now developing into a book. I have also developed a comedy show/talk on this subject which I have presented at various science and arts festivals. You can hear me talking about sci fi and linguistics on BBC Radio 4 here!