Subject: History and Philosophy of Science
After a degree in physics at the University of Lund in Sweden and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Dr Björkstén did a PhD in physical chemistry at the EPFL, developing a new type of electrochemical solar cell in Professor Michael Grätzel’s group. During the last two decades, she has alternated science writing and broadcasting with academic research and teaching related to science and technology studies (STS). Her earlier affiliations include Uppsala University, the Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences and the Nobel Museum in Stockholm.
She is currently head of science at the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation (Sveriges Radio) and has worked extensively in both radio and television broadcasting, including international broadcasts such as the documentary Dirty Waters (describing the impact of animal farming on water quality around the Baltic sea). With a background as senior science editor at the Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet, she is also a regular contributor of essays to that publication.
During her time as Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall, she will be working on a book about human population genetics and the wider implications of recent scientific and technological developments, as well as the role of politics and ethics in shaping the research field. In a previous book with a similar approach, Vetenskap ur funktion (Atlantis, 2006) she described the role of public worry, as expressed in mass media in the USA and Europe, in formulating research questions concerning possible health effects of mobile phones as the new technology emerged at the turn of the century.