Learning about the interplay between science, politics, law and society was fascinating

BSc Medical Genetics Beth Firmin
Beth Firmin
BSc Medical Genetics
As part of her third year, Beth did a Science Policy and Communication project into the potential therapeutic benefits of hallucinogens such as LSD and Magic Mushrooms. This project combined science, politics, and law, and fuelled Beth’s desire to bring science to a wider audience.
BSc Medical Genetics Beth Firmin

"While I’m glad to have had the experience of lab work during my degree, my favourite aspects of it have been the theoretical side of science and learning how this knowledge and its applications affect the lives of the general population. The idea of conveying scientific concepts to people in a way that is engaging and accessible really appeals to me, which is why I chose a third-year project in Science Policy and Communication.

“Something I really liked about my project was that I was able to choose a science-policy related topic to research and write about, giving me the opportunity to explore a topic I found very fascinating. I chose to focus on the potential therapeutic benefits of serotonergic hallucinogens, such as LSD and magic mushrooms, in the treatment in mental health issues. This topic interested me due to the relevance of mental health issues in society and the range of different opinions people may have about the controversial idea of using class A drugs therapeutically.

“In addition to learning the science behind how serotonergic hallucinogens may benefit mental health, I enjoyed considering the associated legal, social, economic and ethical issues, such as legal restrictions slowing the pace of human hallucinogen research. Learning about the interplay between science, politics, law and society was fascinating.

“In this project, I was able to develop my ability to write for different audiences and purposes. I wrote four blog posts, aimed at fellow Molecular Biology and Biotechnology students, and a parliamentary style document, which aimed to present a factual, unbiased account of a topic to a politician, who is unlikely to have a scientific background.

“I thoroughly enjoyed doing this project, which has confirmed my aspirations of a career in bringing science to a wider audience. The skills I gained and developed during this project will help me a lot achieving this, and I have recently been accepted onto Sheffield’s Masters degree in Science Communication."

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