Science & me

A #SciHustle update.

I’m back!

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I’m going to start of today’s blog post with a quick apology. Lab life and all my other commitments got insanely busy over the last few weeks so we haven’t had a new Soph talks science blog post for 2 weeks now – so I’m sorry for putting my blog on the back burner with no prior warning or explanation.

But there’s no need to worry anymore because I’ve sorted my life out again and I am back on my blog schedule – at least for the next two weeks before I go on holiday ūüôā but there will still be blog posts coming during that time with some fabulous guest bloggers so watch this space for that!

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But anyway – back to today! There has been a few reasons why my lab life got a bit out of control! I have started a brand new experiment with a technique that I have never done before so I have been doing a lot of practice and reading around that to make sure I get it right. I have also started to get the Pint of Science Southampton publicity ball rolling and I have become the admin for a BRAND NEW twitter page plus trying to find guest bloggers for while I’m away (I still have a few gaps if anyone else is interested?). All of this made me a bit crazy! But now it’s all under control again – I started thinking about whether I had taken on too much or whether I could be even more organised to stop it happening again. But it just made me realise again why I have signed up to all these things in addition to being in the lab studying for my PhD – it is all in the name of science communication or #scicomm! So I thought I could just write a quick update on all the scicomm activities I am involved with that can maybe inspire you to get involved or get involved in some scicomm activities of your own!

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So, why am I interested in scicomm? For me, it is SO important to share science and scientific research with the public. Scientists are often stereotyped so I want to show that scientists are ‘normal’ people with ‘normal’ lives. I also think that science research is not portrayed accurately in the media – and although my little blog is not going to be seen by as many people as your daily newspaper, I feel it’s my duty to try and help this situation even a little by sharing the truth behind research and what it actually means so the public can make their own informed opinions about things rather than being forced into one opinion by articles they might read on the internet. But mostly just to try and get people interested and caring a little bit about science and what is going on in labs all over the world!

A previous Scientist in the Spotlight Karen R took over the @iamscicomm Twitter account earlier this year and spent one day talking about science side hustles using the hashtag #scihustle. So, I thought I would take this chance to update you on all my current #scihustles and why I am getting involved in them!

 

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1.Pint of Science

So, anyone that follows me on social media probably already knows that I’m involved with the Pint of Science festival this year in Southampton. This is the first time I’ve been involved with it and am really looking forward to our festival in May.

So, for anyone that doesn’t know – Pint of Science is a science festival that happens in pubs across the UK and even in other countries such as France and Spain. The main aim is to make current scientific research more accessible to the public and I can’t think of a better place than the pub. I imagine most people find the thought of talking to scientists about their research slightly intimidating – perhaps because you might be visiting them in their natural habitat – the lab – or perhaps because you don’t have an interest in science or maybe you just simply don’t understand the jargon we use. Well – Pint of Science is bringing scientific researchers out of the lab and into an environment that you feel more comfortable in. They will still be talking about their research but in a fun and engaging way that everyone can understand.

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So, although I am not speaking at the festival, it is my job to make sure there are people at the events to listen to these researchers and the fascinating research that they do. If you’re in Southampton or the surrounding area in May this year check out our Facebook event¬†here¬†to get tickets and see what is in store for you this May! Anyone else can head to http://www.pintofscience.co.uk to find an event near you!

I have got involved in this festival because I want to learn how other researchers present their work to the public so I can get some helpful hints and tips that might help me and also because working as one of the publicists for the event is going to give me some great additional media skills and knowledge that might come in useful for the development of Soph talks science or when I’m looking for a job after my PhD.

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2.SciBlogHub

My second #scihustle is a Science Bloggers Database. There is a list of science blogs from basically every field from biology, to conservation, to physics, to teaching and all in between. If you are a science blogger or thinking about starting a science blog then head over to our Twitter account @SciBlogHub to find our database and find new science blogs for some inspiration.

We have also started a new feature – a weekly Twitter chat every Wednesday where one of ¬†our science bloggers hosts #scibloghubchat and starts a conversation about different aspects of scicomm – so far we have had tips about blogging, starting a science podcasts and even chat about elevator pitches and selling your research! Make sure you don’t miss that as you can ask experienced scicommers so many questions about their research or even tips about getting started in scicomm.

I could not turn down this opportunity as another part of what we do is retweeting new blogs posts of anyone that tags us on Twitter. This allows any science blogger to reach a wider audience through our followers. SciBlogHub is a tool to promote your blog, a tool to find new blogs to follow whether you are a scientist or not and a tool to learn and discuss scicomm with our weekly chat. All of these things were going to benefit me and my blog – an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.

If you want to apply to host #scibloghubchat, browse our database for cool new blogs to follow or just get in contact with us, head over to our website www.scibloghub.com to get all that info and more. And if your science blog is not part of the database, watch out for the next opportunity to add your name to our list coming soon!

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3. Soph talks science vlog

Okay – so this one is not real! But it is something I am looking into starting – a Soph talks science vlog – or video blog! During my short spell of science blogging I have fallen in love with writing about something that I love and sharing my life as a scientist with you! But as I’ve integrated more and more into the scicomm and science blogger community I have realised that maybe I am missing a trick to grow my audience! The popularity of using videos -whether that is through a YouTube channel or using live videos such as those on Instagram and Facebook.

Last year my PhD supervisor asked me to help them out with a promo video for a new MRes course they were setting up. I know that it is not the same as hosting my own science video blog but marketing lady who was doing all the recording and editing just kept telling me how friendly and approachable I looked on camera. A great confidence boost for me! But with the growing popularity of videos in scicomm combined with this confidence boost, it got me thinking – maybe I could host a science vlog. What the content would be at the moment I’m not sure – would you prefer to see different science concepts explained or would it be a good thing to make my scientist life that bit more real and exciting with moving picture? Or maybe a mix of both is best?

I am still umming and arrghing about what the best move for this is – so if you are a science vlogger and would be keen to help me out then please contact me ūüôā It is something I am really excited to get started – would you be interested in watching a video more than reading a blog? Let me know! After all – I will develop different media skills for myself but it’s no good if you guys don’t want to watch it!

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4. PubHD

I sense a bit of a theme with my #scihustles – science and pubs ūüėõ

Again this is another one that is in the development and idea stage. PubHD is another project that gets scientists into the pub to talk about their research. There are already different teams set up in a variety of countries across the UK and Ireland but not here in Southampton – so I may be embarking on a journey to set one up here – so watch this space!

 

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There are so many other scicomm activities happening that I would love to get involved in – but unfortunately lab work is getting more hectic and trying to keep on top of that whilst managing the commitments I already have leaves no time for anything else unfortunately ūüė¶ Maybe in next year’s update some would have been swapped in for new opportunities.

What scicomm activities are you involved with or what do you want to get involved in and why did you get involved in the first place?

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

Scicomm & Science writing, Science & me

#Pint17 preview – Tech Me Out

Today is the last #pint17 preview post celebrating British Science Week! And today we are finishing with more of a futuristic theme than most with the turn of the Tech Me Out team.

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As the theme suggests we are talking all things technology and the research behind these futuristic advances. With the era of the machine well underway in our world, will it ever stop? Or do we even want it to stop? What are the benefits of these advancing technologies in so many different fields? All these are questions that the Tech Me Out events are going to answer for you. With so much incredibly cool research going on that fits under this team’s bracket happening right here in Southampton, to only pick a few different scientists for you at this years festival is a really hard job for for our team.

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Who are the Tech Me Out team?

Today I want to introduce you to Aaron, Elisabetta, Catarina, Jack, Nikolaos and Pete.

This is your Tech Me Out team for #pint17 #soton. These tech-savvy guys and girls have a host of different expertise. So, it is the responsibility of this team to make you excited for what our future holds for every aspect of our lives thanks to the research happening now!

Team techmeout

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Where will the Tech Me Out events be?

The Tech Me Out team have secured the super cool Belgium and Blues for their events in May. Beer, blues, steak & mussels with a side order of science Рwhat more can you want?

Details of start and finish times and any more info you might need to know will be made available in the coming weeks with the official Pint of Science 2017 launch just around the corner!

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What will I learn at the Tech Me Out events?

Now for the best bit of the blog post – what are the events going to be about? Well, the Tech Me Out team have nearly sorted their events details so I can give you details for ALL THREE EVENTS!

Night 1 – One of the Tech Me Out nights is called Technology in the Wild. Now when I say the word technology to you – you probably think of big machines, computers and robots and that sort of thing right? Well, the Tech Me Out team want to show you the research behind some new technology that uses nature or its design is inspired by the things that are surrounding us in the wonderful world we live in. The speakers are going to talk about cryogenics and freezing the natural world to preserve it for future generations. Another speaker will focus on how we can use technology to try and solve the global food and hunger issues we are being faced with, and the final speaker is going to look at marine robotics. We have explored less than 5% of our oceans and despite our best efforts to design small robotic submarines to send down into the deep depths of the ocean, it is still restricted by the immense pressure and lack of light. But we do know that there are several species that live on those deep seabeds so this talk is going to give you an insight into how those animals are inspiring the next generation of marine exploration.

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Night 2 – Another night at the Tech Me Out events is called Good Vibrations and is going to feature some seriously cool research on sound and virtual reality. One speaker is going to talk about tricking your brain with sound. I am sure most of us enjoy going to the cinema and getting immersed in the moment with the sound effects that feel like they are all around us! Any movie buff would love to replicate this at home with a series of speakers dispersed around your lounge. But this speaker is going to show ¬†you an easier way to get that experience with a new prototype device that they have! Would you really want to miss out on a chance to be one of the first people to see this new device? The second speaker is going to talk about virtual reality! The gamer’s dream! But is it just computer games that this technology is being used for? The answer is quite simply no! This speaker invites you to learn about how the stunning visuals and sounds are created in this technology and how it recreates the perception of these events in the brain! Virtual reality is rapidly changing the way we interact with every day life – so come and see how this technology could be a part of your world! The final speaker is perfectly suited for the Pint of Science festival and is going to talk about pub acoustics! I am sure you have all been in noisy pubs and you have probably been in very quiet pubs, but do you really think the noise in the pub can affect your mood? What about the way your beer tastes? These are all questions that this speaker is going to ¬†answer for you amongst many more to explain to you how sound affects your pub experience!

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Night 3 – The final Tech Me Out night is probably the one I am most interested in due to the nature of my own PhD research. It is called Hardwired for Health and is going to explore how current technology is going to produce our future medicine! We have all heard of ultrasound yes? It is routinely used to check up on pregnancies and other medical applications, but one of the speakers this night is going to show you how it can be used to make cartilage for damaged knees or even build model lungs to see how we can treat asthma. ¬†Our second speaker is going to talk about the new technologies that could replace animal testing in the medical world. Whether you are for or against animal testing, you are going to be all for this new technology that is going to be an ‘organ on a chip’. Find out what these chips will be used for, how they work and how they are going to change the face of clinical trials and testing as we know it. Our final speaker is going to be talking about growing replacement body parts in the lab. We are all aware that there are not enough organ donors to match the number of people on the transplant list. This final speaker is going to talk about one way research is currently trying to tackle this problem using stem cells amongst much more.

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So, I’ve managed to give you an insight into all the talks and speakers that will feature at the Tech Me Out events. There is so much exciting research going on that I’m sure you are going to struggle to choose which events to attend – I know I am! But I guarantee that you will learn something new and you will be excited about what our technological future holds.

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Why should I attend the Tech Me Out events at #pint17?

I think I have given you ALL the reasons you should attend the Tech Me Out events in May but if you still need convincing the team have got this message for you:

‘Peer into our crystal ball and see what our technological future has in store! You won’t want to miss out on learning about the research that is happening now that WILL affect your future’

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The Tech Me Out team are still working on finalising their program and activities for #pint17 #soton. But if you want to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates by join our¬†Pint of Science – Southampton Facebook event. Or if Twitter is more your thing, then follow the accounts shown below ūüôā

If you’ve missed the other #pint17 preview posts, click¬†here¬†to see what our Atoms to Galaxies team might have in store for you or click¬†here¬†if you want to learn about the brain with the Beautiful Mind team. Click¬†here¬†to discover the research happening right now that will affect your body or¬†here¬†to find out how you could help save our planet! Or ¬†click¬†here¬†to see how science is affecting the society we live in!

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We hope to see you in May learning about the amazing science research going on in Southampton in one of your local pubs!

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

Scicomm & Science writing, Science & me

#Pint17 preview – Our Society

Happy Friday everyone! I’m going to celebrate by publishing the penultimate #pint17 preview, so today we get a sneaky peak into what the Our Society team are brewing for our festival this summer.

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Right now you might be wondering what has the Our Society theme got to do with science? Initially I had exactly the same thought. But let me tell you why learning about more then just the super cool research is important for science. The Our Society theme of the Pint of Science festival covers things like law and politics to history and policy – so as well as knowing what science is doing right now, we need to understand how far science has come and what might be holding it back. There are also so many aspects of your normal day to day life that you probably don’t even realise have a scientific basis or scientifically will affect you. And it’s the job of the Our Society team to bring you all these different aspects.

But first of all..

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Who are the Our Society team?

Let me introduce you to Claire, Grace, Tsiloon, Lyndsy and Chloe! Your Our Society team for #pint17 #soton!

These are the people that are bringing you the science behind your everyday lives.

Team oursociety

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Where will the Our Society events be?

The View Bar will be the home of the Our Society for #pint17 #soton.

Details of start and finish times and any more info you might need to know will be made available in the coming weeks with the official Pint of Science 2017 launch just around the corner!

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What will I learn at the Our Society events?

Now for the best bit – what will the Our Society events involve? The Team are still working behind the scenes to round their three events up, but I have got the details of two interesting speakers that I can share with you.

So – the Our Society team also have a climate change night but a very different take on it. I won’t go into why attending this event is going to benefit you as we are all aware of the problems that climate change is causing. One speaker at the Our Society events is going to use comedians, musicians and artists to highlight and study some of these changes that climate change is having particularly focusing on how the Arctic is being affected.

But there is a different theme I want to focus this preview post on and this Our Society event looks at nutrition in society.

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This is just a supermarket aisle right? Technically yes! But did you know there is some science behind your basic supermarket aisle?

I’ll ask you another question – do you think you are in complete control of what you eat, or do you think your local supermarket plays a part in that? Well – one of the speakers at this evening is going to tell you how your weekly food shop is being influenced by your supermarket and affecting your dietary choices and all the related current research.

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Why should I attend the Our Society events?

This theme might not be covering ‘conventional’ science research that you might naturally and instinctively think of, but it is going to make you more aware of how a variety of different scientific topics and research will affect you in society. So, if it affects you, it is surely something worth learning about, right?

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The Our Society¬†team are still working on finalising their program for #pint17 #soton. But if you want to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates by join our¬†Pint of Science – Southampton Facebook event. Or if Twitter is more your thing, then follow the accounts shown below ūüôā

If you’ve missed the other #pint17 preview posts, click¬†here¬†to see what our Atoms to Galaxies team might have in store for you or click¬†here¬†if you want to learn about the brain with the Beautiful Mind team. Click¬†here¬†to discover the research happening right now that will affect your body or¬†here¬†to find out how you could help save our planet!

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We hope to see you in May learning about the amazing science research going on in Southampton in one of your local pubs!

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

Scicomm & Science writing, Science & me

#Pint17 preview – Planet Earth

Day 4 of celebrating British Science Week and it’s also Day 4 of of my #Pint17 preview blog posts. Thursday is the turn of the Planet Earth team and your first chance to see what they are brewing for this year’s Pint of Science festival in Southampton.

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Much like the Our Body theme yesterday – there are no excuses why you shouldn’t be interested in an event that is going to teach you more about the big and beautiful planet that we live on. The topics that the team are putting together are issues that we ALL should be interested in as they are going to affect every single one of us – more to be revealed later in the blog post. But there is so much beauty in this world that we live in and most of it we have yet to discover. But unfortunately we are slowly destroying our planet bit by bit and creating even more problems for ourselves to solve. The Planet Earth team have chosen just a couple of these burning issues related to our planet to tackle at this year’s Pint of Science events in Southampton but sharing some of the science and research behind dealing with these problems. And maybe you can find out how you can help too ūüôā

But before I get stuck into the themes, I need to introduce you to the people working behind the scenes to bring them to you.

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Who are the Planet Earth team?

Meet Gwen, Max, Emily, Mairin, Ally, Amy, Elena and Caitlin!

This awesome and down-to-earth bunch are made up of undergraduates & postgraduates studying a heap of different fields that involve the wonderful world we live in – from marine biology and oceanography, to geology and plants. So they literally are covering every aspect of our globe from the depths of the oceans to the tops of those mountains and all between. With such an array of knowledge – the team have had a tough job just choosing three themes for #pint17 this May – but they have done it, and they have done it brilliantly. So – it is time to fall in love with our planet again!

Team planetearth

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Where will the Planet Earth events be?

So, where should you be spending 3 nights in May? These environmentally friendly events will be held at another awesome venue in Southampton –¬†Mettricks Guildhall.

Details of start and finish times and any more info you might need to know will be made available in the coming weeks with the official Pint of Science 2017 launch just around the corner!

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What will I learn about at the Planet Earth events?

So, I keep mentioning that the themes that the Planet Earth team have chosen for you will affect all of us Рbut what are they? Well РI can exclusively reveal some details for ALL THREE Planet Earth themed nights and the questions they will discuss at #pint17 will cover climate change, over-fishing and biodiversity!

Now – when I say climate change, you might be thinking to yourself ‘What else could I possibly need to know?’ – the ice caps are melting, the water levels are rising and the temperatures are soaring! What else is there? Well our climate change night at the Planet Earth events is taking a different spin on¬†just ‘boring old climate change’ – instead one of the questions to be tackled asks ‘Are our climate change models wrong?’.

Now I am not saying that climate change isn’t happening, there is undeniable evidence that shows that it is! But the group of people out there that didn’t believe in climate change are altering their views and instead are now questioning the scientific models researchers are using to predict the potentially devastating effects it will have. So come along and find out how scientists are fighting back.

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This themed night also has a fantastic activity attached to it – you get a stand up comic too! One ticket for a science festival and a comedy gig all in one – what more could you want? But this is not your ordinary stand up comic – this stand up comic is also a scientist! So get ready to learn about their research in the form of jokes and laughter ūüôā

The second Planet Earth theme is marine night and one of the questions being tackled is over-fishing.

There are fewer fish in our oceans that EVER before Рand once again it is all our fault! This is not only going to affect what fish available to us for food as well as the price of fish, but it is also going to affect the food available to the wider marine populations amongst many other reasons. I think we are all aware of conservation projects to save the population of different animals we find on land Рbut we must not forget those that live in the deep blue sea! This night will also feature two marine conservation charities: Surfers Against Sewage and The Black Fish. Find out what work they do and how you can get involved to save our fish! And also get your questions ready for all our scientists!

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The Planet Earth biodiversity night is going to ask the question – can we put a price on nature? There are so many undercover operations that different species do indirectly for us! For example, bees! They help to pollinate the majority of our crops and you might have heard that the bee population is in decline. If this becomes a serious problem and we don’t help to save the bees, as well as all the other incredible creatures on our planet, we risk losing so much food! This is just one topic to discuss at the third event – the team have recruited some other fantastic speakers to also talk about our forests and more! So the third Planet Earth night is going to put you back in touch with nature – as I think as a whole – the human race has definitely lost our green fingers!

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Why should I attend the Planet Earth events at #pint17?

The Planet Earth team have left  a really simple message for you saying why you should be buying those tickets for their events at #pint17 #soton in just over 2 weeks!

‘We need to take care of our planet, before the state of our planet takes care of us!’

Simple.

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The Planet Earth team are still working on finalising their program for #pint17 #soton. But if you want to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates by join our¬†Pint of Science – Southampton Facebook event. Or if Twitter is more your thing, then follow the accounts shown below ūüôā

If you’ve missed the other #pint17 preview posts, click¬†here¬†to see what our Atoms to Galaxies team might have ¬†in store for you, click¬†here¬†if you want to learn about the brain with the Beautiful Mind team or¬†here¬†to discover the research happening right now that will affect your body!

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We hope to see you in May learning about the amazing science research going on in Southampton in one of your local pubs!

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

Scicomm & Science writing, Science & me

#Pint17 preview – Our Body

We have reached the half way stage of my British Science Week #Pint17 preview blog posts! But before we get too sad that this mini feature on my blog is nearly over – we have another theme to introduce to you today. So, let’s take a look around the Our Body team brewery and see what plans they have for #pint17 #soton.

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Now we all have bodies so you have NO excuses to not want to learn more about our bodies and the research going on in Southampton that affects our bodies at this years #pint17 festival in #soton. There are so many different organs, cell types and other aspects of our bodies to learn about and for scientists to explore so once again the Our Body team have a really tough job choosing just three themes for their events. But instead of talking about the heart, your lungs or your stomach for example – the Our Body team have some bigger issues that our bodies face which I will delve into a little deeper later in this blog post.

But first I need to introduce to you the team.

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Who are Team Our Body?

Let me introduce to you Sofia, Camelia, Rachael, Megan, Emily, Ellie and Emily!

This is your Our Body team for #pint17 #soton!

This team is made up of undergrad students, PhD students and a doctor! And they are all working behind the scenes and using their research expertise to bring you some out of the box themes for the Our Body nights ūüôā

Team ourbody

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Where will the Our Body events be?

The Our Body team this year have secured the wonderful¬†Art House cafe. Where better to learn about our beautiful bodies than in a relaxing gallery cafe ūüôā

As with the other venues, all the details of event times and food/drink details will be launched in the next coming weeks.

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What will I learn about at the Our Body events?

The million dollar question. What knowledge will you gain from these events in May? So, I can exclusively reveal the themes for two nights of the Our Body theme.

The first night asks the question – where do our medicines come from? Now I don’t mean do you get yours from the doctor or do you buy your paracetamol in Tesco. But instead this really interesting themes is going to show you the journey of how a small chemical compound gets into the hands of doctors so they can help you get better and fix your body!

Have you ever wondered how that pill you’ve taken ever became a pill and the work that went into it for years before hand? Well – this Our Body event is going to teach you how we know that the medicine is safe and how we know if the medicine will work and more!

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The speakers our team have got for you are going to walk you through how medicines are developed in the lab, then move onto how they are tested in clinical trials and finally talk about how those new medicines are put into actual clinical practice. Fascinating don’t you think?

The second theme is a topic that is frequently in the news Рthe problem that is surrounding all of us and our health Рsuperbugs and antibiotic resistance. I am sure you have all heard of this crisis we are facing right? Well the speakers on this night are going to give you an insight into a few different aspects of this dilemma. A scientist to see how research is trying to prevent the spread of infectious disease in the wake of antimicrobial resistance, a doctor for a first hand account of how superbugs are affecting healthcare and finally a health protection consultant to talk about the prevention of spreading an infectious disease in your area. If superbugs do rise up and take over Рit is going to affect everyone! So  come and learn about how scientists are trying to prevent that on this Our Body event.

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As for the activities you can get involved with at the Our Body events – they are still top secret. But I do know that there is an activity related to the 100,000 genome project in the works. Perhaps the team are going to ask you whether you would want your genome sequenced? Ill let you have a think about your answer to that ready for the night ūüôā

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Why should I attend the Our Body nights at #pint17?

This one is simple. The Our Body team want you to come to their events because:

‘We all have a body – no matter what shape or size. And no matter how healthy or sick we are, at some point we will need medicine to help fix it. So why not learn about it this May at #pint17 #soton’

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The Our Body¬†team are still working on finalising their program for #pint17 #soton. But if you want to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates by join our¬†Pint of Science – Southampton Facebook event. Or if Twitter is more your thing, then follow the accounts shown below ūüôā

If you’ve missed the other #pint17 preview post, click¬†here¬†to see what our Atoms to Galaxies team might have ¬†in store for you or here¬†if you want to learn about the brain with the Beautiful Mind team!

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We hope to see you in May learning about the amazing science research going on in Southampton in one of your local pubs!

 

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

Scicomm & Science writing, Science & me

#Pint17 preview – Beautiful Mind

Happy Tuesday! And welcome to the second installment of my #Pint17 previews to get a taste of what we are brewing her in Southampton for our Pint of Science festival in May. And with tickets going on sale in less than 3 weeks, I’m hoping it will help you decide which events you might want to attend. So, today is the turn of the Beautiful Mind theme.

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Now this theme might sound self-explanatory – it is going to be loads of people just talking about the brain! Well, much like neuroscience, there are a lot more layers to it than simply how the brain works, or may stop working! We use our brains in EVERY aspect of our lives – from thinking and walking, to helping us see and talking amongst thousand of other things! They never switch off – even when you are tucked up in bed asleep every night! So even with a theme that upon first look might seem to be straight forward, there is still such a diverse range of research related to our brains or things we use our brains for happening right here in Southampton, and our Beautiful Mind team have got the difficult job of choosing between all that research and bring you the most interesting speakers and activities so you go home having learnt so much about your brain whilst using your brain to watch, listen, ask questions and of course reach out and grab that pint for a refreshing drink every so often!

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Who are Team Beautiful Mind?

Today I want to introduce you to Charlie, Joe, Jessica, Patricia, Katie and Krithika!

This is your Beautiful Mind team for #pint17 #soton! These guys and girls are all scientific researchers at various stages of their research careers. We have 1st year and 2nd year PhD students and even a principal investigator which means they run their own lab! But they all have one thing in common Рthey all study the brain, but with such a variety of different aspects from dementia, to your own body clock and how your immune system affects your brain.

 

These brainy people are going to make you fall in love with everything brain related and make you want to know more and more about the neuroscience research going on in the city.

Team beautmind

So this team have it nearly sussed – three themed nights decided, speakers ever so nearly confirmed, and activities coming together so I am going to give you a flavour of ALL THREE Beautiful Mind nights being brewed currently! But the full details of all the events are going to be kept under wraps until the official Pint of Science launch on 3rd April – DATE FOR YOUR DIARY! – so remember to check back then, plus we also want to keep you guessing a little while longer.

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Where will the Beautiful Mind events be?

A very important question – there would be no point me telling you what you can see at these events if you don’t know where you can find them.

These mind-boggling-ly awesome events will be held at the uber cool Stein Garten Southampton. A Bavarian Beer Keller and brains! What more could you ask for? Again Рexact details of start times and any food and drink details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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What will I learn about at the Beautiful Mind events?

Now for the best part – what are the plans for the Beautiful Mind events? As promised there will be a taster for each night the team has planned, so let’s get stuck in.

Night 1 – This night will ask the question ‘What happens to our brains when our environment changes?’. Hands up if you’ve ever experienced jet lag after a long haul flight? I’m assuming some of you probably have. Well, depending on which direction you’ve flown and how big the time difference is – you can find yourself absolutely exhausted and wanting to go to sleep in the middle of the day, or you are still wide awake with no signs of sleep in the middle of the night! We can blame this on your brain – or specifically your circadian rhythms which is also known as your body clock. This is going to be one of the topics for this night looking at how day turning into night affects what happens in our brains. This night will also look at how are brain responds to visual cues and how we learn from that. Some examples of this spatial learning to get your taste buds tingling are how rats remember the location of the food at the end of a maze, or similarly it’s how you remember you way around a city. But do you know what happens in your brain so you can remember your route? Come along to this night and find out!

Image result for rat in maze

Moving swiftly on to Night 2 – this night is going to focus on your Fight for Sight. If your a big soap fan like me, you might have seen the recent story line in Eastenders with Dot Cotton and her issues with going blind. In the science world, this is called age-related macular degeneration and this is an example of what it will do to your sight:

Image result for age related macular degeneration

1 in 3 over 80 year olds will suffer from this vision loss – but there is some awesome research going on in Southampton to try and tackle this problem. This is going to be one of the topics covered on this night and will also ask how our brains are linked to what we see. Get preparing your questions now and¬†head to this Beautiful Mind night to learn about what research is happening NOW, that might be able to help cure your blindness in the future when you are Dot Cotton’s age!

Night 3 is going to focus on Alzheimer’s disease. This particular night is something that I personally really want to attend as it is a topic that is close to my heart and also one of my biggest fears is losing my memories – so I am keen to learn anything about this disease. I’m sure all of you have heard of Alzheimers and I’m sure a lot of you have had some personal experiences with it but here is your chance to learn more about what is currently being done to tackle dementia. There are going to be two very different speakers on this night – one is an occupational therapist who works with dementia patients and the second is a clinician who is talking about the clinical trials that are ongoing and related to Alzheimers. So, there really is something for everyone on this night.Image result for alzheimer's

I have just touched briefly on some of the topics the Beautiful Mind speakers will cover – and not only that you can ask questions about anything so I’m sure you will learn so much more than just about your body clock, blindness and Alzheimer’s. And please dont be afraid to ask questions – scientists love to talk about their work so make the most of it ūüôā

But you wont just be sat listening to speakers all night long. We are going to put your brain through its paces and challenge it to the Stroop test! You’ve all heard of the Stroop test right? No? Well maybe this picture might jog your memory.

stroop

Still not sure what I’m talking about? Well, we are going to try and trick your brain – we are going to show you a series of cards like this one and we want you to say what colour the word is without saying the word itself. For example, with the picture above we want you to say GREEN, not yellow! Get me now?

Does that seem easy to you? I can assure you it is not that easy – but if you’re still confident that you will be able to do it with no mistakes then come down and join us in May and see how quickly you can do it. Can you be the champion of the #Pint17 Stroop test?

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Why should I attend the Beautiful Mind nights at #pint17?

I think I’ve given you all the reasons why you should attend the Beautiful Mind events by sharing so much insider info with you! But the main reason is so you learn more about the big and powerful organ that is our brains!

Despite all the taster info I’ve already given you, the team are going to answer so many more questions related to your brains such as:

Can computer games be used in diagnosing depression and memory loss?

Can your own immune system help treat blindness?

And how does light affect our brains?

Do you really want to miss that opportunity? I didn’t think so! So come to the Beautiful Mind events at #pint17 #soton this May ¬†because ‘Knowledge is power and your brain is power-ful!’

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Obviously the¬†Beautiful Mind¬†team are still working on finalising their program for #pint17 #soton. But if you want to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates by join our¬†Pint of Science – Southampton Facebook event. Or if Twitter is more your thing, then follow the accounts shown below ūüôā

If you missed yesterdays post, click here to see what our Atoms to Galaxies team might have  in store for you!

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We hope to see you in May learning about the amazing science research going on in Southampton in one of your local pubs!

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

Scicomm & Science writing, Science & me

#Pint17 preview – Atoms to Galaxies

British Science Week 2017 continues all this week and to celebrate I am going to share with you a little taster of what you can find at this year’s Pint of Science festival in Southampton this May and why you should be ready to buy those tickets in 3 weeks time!!

So let’s get stuck in and tell you all about what you can expect to see at our¬†ATOMS TO GALAXIES¬†events from 15th-17th May and all the info you need to know already!

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If you’ve ever asked yourself the questions how big is big or how small is small?¬†– then the Atoms to Galaxies events at the Pint of Science festival are for you. This theme tackles all the BIG questions surrounding the stars, black holes and planets in our solar system all the way down to the answering the questions that ask about the LITTLE details of the atoms and structures that make up basically everything around you! Obviously with only three Atoms to Galaxies events in Southampton each year and with such a vast range of topics to cover – unfortunately the team cannot cover all the incredible chemistry and physics research going on. So, our team are working really hard behind the scenes to put together a really varied and interesting program for you which all the final details will be revealed in the coming weeks – so stay tuned for all the updates!

But first…

Who are Team Atoms to Galaxies?

Meet Lissie, Lik, Matt, Margarita and Renata!

This is your Atoms to Galaxies team for #pint17 #soton! These guys and gals have a wide variety of expertise from quantum physics and maths to marine biology and teaching! Quite a team eh?  These are the people contacting the best speakers in the city and getting hold of the most interactive activities for you to get involved with this May to ignite your love of atoms, elements and chemicals all the way up to stars, planets and black holes.

Team AtoG.png

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Where will the Atoms to Galaxies events be?

These strastopheric-ly cool events will be held at the chilled and relaxed EBB and Flow Southampton.

Details of what time you can get there and whether there is any food available etc will be revealed in the next few weeks on http://www.pintofscience.com/events/southampton.

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What will I learn about at the Atoms to Galaxies events?

Now for the exciting bit! What will the speakers and activities be about?

All the chemistry talks are still being finalised but to give you a taster it could teach you about how elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen combine into different chemical structures and make up all the different things you come across in every day life – like your paracetamol or ibuprofen tablets, fireworks or even chocolate – or show you an insight into the day to day life of chemistry lab research techniques.

But there is one super cool activity that is 99% confirmed and I am really excited to share with you as part of this taster!

Who knows what this is a picture of?

Image result for Northern lights

Now I’m pretty sure all of you will know that this is a photo of the Northern Lights – a stunning phenomenon that I am desperate to go and see myself. Now – for most people to have the chance of seeing this spectacle – you probably have to shell out for a flight to somewhere like Iceland or Norway, and pay for accommodation for your stay and then pay for a trip to go out into the icy wilderness for a small chance of seeing this ‘once in a lifetime’ light show!

Now what if I told you that you could have the chance of seeing it in Southampton this May – except perhaps on a smaller scale!

Let me introduce to you the Planeterella. The Atoms to Galaxies team have pretty much guaranteed the appearance of this spectacular artificial demonstration of the Northern Lights and brings the awe and majesty of this phenomenon to your local pubs!

The Southampton Planeterrella

So, do not miss the chance to see this incredible demo at the Atoms to Galaxies events this May and get to ask your ‘HOW’ and ‘WHY’ questions about the Northern Lights and other space questions – and the added bonus of getting to see the aurora in the warmth of the EBB and Flow cafe without the expense of a flight ūüôā

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Why should I attend the Atoms to Galaxies nights?

Aside from the fact that you can see the magnificent spectacle that is the Northern Lights in the warm in May without the travelling expenses Рthere are plenty more reasons for you to attend the Atoms to Galaxies events Рto learn about how black holes work, whether our universe is a hologram or on the smaller scale how the atomic structure of chocolate affects the way it tastes for example, but the Atoms to Galaxies team wanted me to send you this message:

‘Come to the Atoms to Galaxies events this May because whether you are interested in all things BIG, or all things small – Atoms to Galaxies has it all!’

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Obviously the Atoms to Galaxies team are still working on finalising their program for #pint17 #soton. But if you want to stay up to date with all the latest news and updates by join our¬†Pint of Science – Southampton Facebook event. Or if Twitter is more your thing, then follow the accounts shown below ūüôā

We hope to see you in May learning about the amazing science research going on in Southampton in one of your local pubs!

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