Science. Keeping it in the family.

Happy final Monday in January everyone! It is crazy how quickly this month has gone and very worrying how I still have no stem cells to use for experiments :(. There has been one problem after another to contend with – but that’s one of the joys of a PhD. Despite having no embryonic stem cells, I have been super busy answering the questions I have in my cancer stem cells. Between experiments and upcoming guest blog posts I am writing – time has been limited over the last few days, so today’s blog post is going to be personal, short and sweet.

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A huge goal of my blog is to inspire the younger generation – especially younger girls – to get interested in science and what it means to be a scientist. Now obviously I plan to do that through all these blog posts showing an insight into life as a scientist as well as a BRAND NEW upcoming feature called Kidz Science where I will talk about some really cool experiments you can do at home without any expensive equipment – so watch out for those! But I do realise that me just writing about my life as a scientist in a blog post twice a week more than likely  isn’t really going to grab the attention of the masses no matter how much I bombard your Facebook news feed and Twitter feed with links to my blog. I want to do something a bit more substantial. As I discussed in my previous post My #StemCellResolution. What’s yours? I don’t really know what that idea will be yet – it might be a series of story books, it could be a science based game or potentially an after-school or science summer camp type idea.

But for now, these are only ideas and dreams, but to start my mission of inspiring the younger generation, there is surely no better place to start than with your own family right?

Now I’m probably a bit late to try and influence my 22-year old brother and sister. But I have a younger sister who is still only 9. During one of my very rare trips back home to Wales I asked her what her favourite subject was at school. Her reply was ‘science’ which I was obviously secretly very pleased about – although I’m still not sure if she just said it because she knew that I was a scientist!

Anyway, I thought I could jump on the opportunity to try and encourage this love of science in the form of a girlie science Christmas present. I got her this Sparkle Science chemistry set from Amazon where you could make a lava lamp, some glitter chalk and a crystal necklace. What more could a girl want eh?

This year I wasn’t home for Christmas so the presents were delivered a little late, but she seemed keen to get stuck in after opening it. I was a bit concerned however, when in the box were a few white tubs of chemicals such as aluminium potassium sulphate and citric acid – much like the tubs of chemicals found on the shelf in my lab just without the Sparkle Science logo on 😛 although I think my experiments would be alot cooler if there was some glitter added 😛

After explaining that she needed to be very careful with these chemicals just to emphasise that you need to be smart and mature with science sometimes – they are obviously not dangerous otherwise they wouldn’t be in a science kit aimed at kids aged 8 years plus, but obviously DO NOT go eating them!!! – there was no time to start doing any science :(. But we did do some science spelling inspired by the names of the elements that made up these chemicals – simply naming elements from the periodic table and then spelling them – now I’m sure I didn’t even know the periodic table existed when I was 9 let alone be able to know the elements and spell ones such as phosphorous and aluminium!

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The next day I get a photo of my sister after making her glitter lava lamp along with the message – ‘I’m being a pretend scientist, like you’re a professional scientist!’ 😛

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So I thought I’d share this photo of my pretend scientist sister with my professional scientist selfie – complete with goggles, a snazzy blue lab coat and a bad hair day! – to show that anyone can be a scientist and that I have started to inspire others to love science – even if it might be cheating to start with your own family and buying science themed Christmas presents!

Let’s just hope her favourite subject in school hasn’t changed by the next time I ask her!

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If your kids have shown a bit of scientific flair there are plenty more science kits available from Amazon, OR you could watch out for my brand new KIDZ Science feature that’s coming up very soon! In the mean time, if there’s a science question that you want to ask or your kids have asked you and you don’t know how to answer it – get in contact and I’ll try to help out or I’ll make it a part of my Science Explained  feature!

Science is fun and can be enjoyed by all the family at any age!

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Please don’t forget to keep up to date on all my new blog posts and more! Find me and Soph talks Science on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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