Science & me

The Versatile Blogger Award

Soph talks science is now an award winning blog!

Yay!

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I was so flattered and overwhelmed to be nominated for the Versatile Blogger award by Sara who created neurotravels.com. I have never met Sara persoanlly, but I have loved following the start of her blogging journey and her adventures on social media. She is a neuroscientist who like me loves science communication but is always combining the science with travelling and soaking up different cultures and lifestyles. Something I am super jealous of!

Being recognised by a fellow blogger for this award makes it that little bit more special, especially as Sara wanted to nominate some fellow science bloggers and show them her support. It was completely flattering to know that someone I have never met is really enjoying the blogs I produce and the content I share on social media. It’s given me the confidence boost I needed to know that I must be doing an alright job at this! And people are actually listening to what I have to say 😛 ! So I want to thank Sara again for my nomination and you should go check out here post about being nominated in the link above.

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The whole purpose of the Versatile Blogger Award is for bloggers to reward other bloggers who inspired them with their valuable content, exceptional stories and writing skills, so I would like to nominate the following blogs and continue along the same lines as Sara and nominate some of the awesome science blogs that are out there!

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A Pulgarita

You might recognise this one as Catia has already been featured and guest blogged on Soph talks science, but she fully deserves this recognition. Catia is Portuguese but is currently studying for her PhD at the infamous MIT in Boston, USA. I love Catia’s blog as it wonderfully mixes her life as a PhD student with some travels – again something I wish I could achieve more! I love that I will learn something in every post that Catia write whether it is a PhD top tip, something from a recent event she attended or the must do activities of her latest trip. Plus there is a super cute reason why her blog is called A Pulgarita 😛 You inspire me with how you manage to write so often about your experiences, so please keep up the awesome work! Check it out here!

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Heidi R Gardner

Again, another name you might recognise as Heidi has also guest blogged on Soph talks science before, and I know she has already been nominated, but Heidi runs a blog that I love reading so I had to share it with you. Heidi is a PhD student and scientist, but she doesn’t work in a lab. Instead she works in clinical trial recruitment and has loads of great info to share on that each month. She also talks about the challenges that every PhD student will probably encounter and can realte to in such an honest, personal and beautiful way. She is also starting a new scicomm adventure called Science on a Postcard which I am excited to see where it takes her 🙂 It is a great blog, and I cannot do it justice with my words alone, so go and check it out here!

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Surviving Science

Natasha is another science blogger who wants to pass on her experience of PhD life including all the ups and all the downs. She works on resistance mechanisms to targeted cancer therapies, particularly breast cancer in Edinburgh. If you are a wannabe grad student, then you must check out her blog! An honest dipiction of grad school life filled with tops tips and advice and humour. Her latest post 7 reasons your Western blot didn’t work (again) got me literally laughing out loud because I can relate so much to this! Another science blog that you must check out, so go do that here!

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Another part of the Versatile Blogger award is to share 7 personal facts about yourself, so here are my 7 quick fire facts about me!

  1. I am Welsh and proud.

If you’ve ever met me you would never have guessed that I am Welsh because I don’t have the accent – at all! I put this down to living in Bath for a few year at uni and I haven’t been back home since for a long period of time! But you can take the girl out of Wales, but you will never take Wales out of the girl!

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2. I have cooked for Russell Crowe and Stephen Hawking!!

This is my claim to fame right here!!! I might have been mixing with the A-list and science elite in a different manner to how I would have ever expected but there’s not many other people like me who can say this!

3. I love to travel and will hop on a plane at any chance I get!

In fact, my fiance and I were talking about this last night – our next trip! Unfortunately it won’t be until next year but I will have to take advantage of the awesome things to explore on my doorstep instead until then

4. I’m a deltiologist

No this is not some weird scientist. It means I collect postcards. Specifically I collect postcards from each place I travel to with the aim of creating a massive postcard wall in my house. Find out more about my postcard project on my sister blog Soph talks travel!

5. I love learning languages

If there is one wish I could be granted, it would be to be able to be fluent in as many languages as possible. Simple. Nerd goals I know!

6. I love watching and playing every kind of sport

Sport is one of my favourite things outside of science and travel. Sitting down to watch sports on the weekends or in the evenings after a long day in the lab is just bliss. I used to play everything I could when I was younger and I really miss that now. Especially playing cricket with my Cresselly ladies!

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7. One thing I cannot live without is cheese!

Whether that is the traditional kind that you eat, or blasting out a bit of cheesy 90s tunes in the lab! Cheese is perfect for every occasion!

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So thats that! Please go and check out these awesome bloggers and their blogs. They truly deserve all the support and recognition they can get! Have a great weekend all and see you for a brand new post on Monday!

If you love my blog just as much as Sara does, make sure you never miss a post by subscribing with your email address in the top right corner of this post, and you will be informed immediately when I new one is published. Or if you want more science, I am sharing daily science over on my social media account which you can check out via the links below!

Science love.

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Science & me

Could I actually be a full time science communicator?

‘What do you want to do after your PhD?’

Those words that fill a final year PhD student with dread, panic and worry!

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When I’ve been asked this question I have always said that I will probably stay in research. Why? Because I love it! I love being able to make world first discoveries no matter how niche my research is or how frustrating the science world can get.

But is this a safe option?

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I also love this new world that I’ve jumped into – the science communication world. I started this blog and now trying out social media more and other methods like Youtube or zines to share my research, the life of a scientist and science generally.

I’ve always thought about this as a hobby, or something that might help me grow in my research career. But this weekend I’ve actually thought could this be a full time career for me?

I never considered that it could be a career for me because a) I didn’t know what life as a science communicator involved and b) I didn’t know if I had the skills or ability to do it. But this weekend I got a huge confidence boost. One of my new scicomm friends Heidi included me in her latest blog post – 6 science communicators that I’m learning from – alongisde some other sci-commers who are absolutely slaying what they do! I was so overwhelmed to be included amongst these other names. This coupled with me passing the 3000 follower mark on Instagram – (yes! 3000! How crazy!? Thanks to each and every one of you who wants to share my science adventures) – yesterday had me feeling the happiest I had in a long while!

But it got me thinking. Am I actually a good science communicator? Is what I’m sharing in blogs and social media posts actually being well received? I love sharing science and really don’t want to give it up! So, could I actually do it full time? Do I even want to do it full time?

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I am heading into that final year of my PhD where I ultimately will have to make that decision: what am I going to do once I’ve finished and I actually have to leave education! Do I stay in research and continue communicating my research and lab life, or do I leave the bench and move into science communication? Do I take the safe option or more of a risk?

I guess only I can answer that question. At the moment, I still have no idea, but this weekend has given me the confidence to actually properly consider a career in science communication.

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I am still learning every day as a science communicator and a scientist. I’m getting more and more opportunities as a science communicator and a scientist. So, I guess I will have to see what I can learn and achieve in this next year before making my decision as there are still so many questions flying around in my head:

What would I actually do?

Is it even a possibility or me?

Will I miss research?

Will I regret not doing it?

Would that mean I have failed as a scientist?

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Has anyone else had this dilemma? Has anyone got any advice for switching from the lab bench to the scicomm stage? Or has anyone got some tips on how I can try and find out if a career in science communication is for me before I cross that bridge?

For now, I will continue to love the research that I’m doing and I will continue to share my research and life as a scientist with everyone – because I love doing both! But I’m inspired!

Science love.

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Keep up to date on my life as a scientist and  my science communication efforts with Soph talks Science on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Science & me

Soph talks science turns 1!

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to me

Happy birthday to Soph talk science

Happy birthday to me!

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I cannot believe I have been doing this properly now for one whole year!

The time has gone by incredibly quickly! But I am still learning every day how to chat science better and portray grad school life with you, and I just LOVE what I’m doing even if this blog has to get put on a back burner while lab life gets busy. But I love it, and I love and am truly grateful for the opportunities I am getting from it too!

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But, I do have a tiny little confession to make amidst this celebration. For the eagle-eyed readers amongst you, you might have noticed that there are blog posts on here dated earlier than 2016, so how can today only be the blog’s first birthday??

And you would be right. However, I can explain.

When I came to the end of my undergraduate studies, I was debating what to do next. Get a job or go into a PhD – you obviously know the answer to that debate. But at the time, my younger self was thinking if I wanted to get a job in science writing! I had NO experience, so I thought I could try and write a blog in the meantime to try and help with that lack of experience. I wrote a blog post here and there, but nothing that was really going to help me with any science writing experience. That was until 22nd July 2017. I made a commitment to write a science blog properly!

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I have likened my blog journey so far to that of human development, so let’s take a look back at where my blog came from and the similarities to where each and every one of you came from 🙂

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Stage 1 – The Conception

Human development starts with the fertilisation of an egg; the conception. The idea for me of writing a science blog was conceived in 2014 with my very first post So, where do I go from here?. This was the beginning of an incredible journey for both my science blog and also each and every fertilised egg.

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Stage 2 – The Cell Divisions

We began with one cell! Or one idea! Now over a matter of hours (or a matter of months for my blog), one cell splits to give rise to 2 cells. Each of those splits in two to give four cells and so on and so on until we reach the 16 cell stage. Over time, the number of cells is multiplying and likewise, the number of different blog posts I tried out and published multipled too, starting with Are cancer stem cells ready for prime-time?? and What are stem cells? and finishing with Tennis ace to undergo stem cell treatment.

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Stage 3 – The Blastocyst

Now you’ve probably heard me mention this word a lot before and that is because this is the stage during human development that embryonic stem cells are derived. The cells in the developing embryo continues to divide and grow in number, in the same way the number of blog posts for me continued to multiply. Eventually, the embryo will form the blastocyst consisting of an outer surrounding layer called the trophoectoderm, which will turn into the placenta for example, and also that group of pluripotent cells in the bottom of this picture called the inner cell mass – the bit that gets taken out to make embryonic stem cells. Now these pluripotent cells as I’ve told you many times before are going to create an entire human body, so each one of those cells at this stage has the potential to become any cell type that you find in your body.

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My I won my first science prize!!! …. well sort of! post was my blog’s blastocyst stage! I realised that I could make my science blog into something amazing, and at this point I realised it could go in so many different directions. It could become anything I wanted it to be; a blog about grad school life, a pure science blog explaining big science news or a blog showcasing amazing scientists and their work. I just needed to decide what!

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Stage 4 – The birth

After the blastocyst stage, there is still a long way to go and lots of development to do. Whether that be the formation of essential organs and limbs, or the development of a blog website, a logo and a brand – there was development to be done!

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Then, on the 22nd July 2016, Soph talks science was born with Feeding time in the lab. From the initial idea, to the potential of what it could become, to the development of what it is today with this blog post, this was the big event to bring it into the world! But I’m still learning now, one year on! I am learning what things are good for science communication and what things don’t work, in a similar way to a newborn getting to know it’s surroundings and learning new skills.

So there it is! The development of my  blog has been similar to how YOU developed in the first place, hence the old blog posts with a publication date of before 2016 and hence why I am celebrating on 22nd July!

See – you didn’t think you would learn any science in this post now did you?

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Finally, I want to thank each and every one of you who has read, shared, liked, commented on and followed my blog over the past year. Thank you all for your support.

Soph talks sciene is still growing every single week which is so rewarding to see. I hope you continue to follow my scientist life through my blog and/or my social media platforms as I and my blog start learning some new skills this coming year. I hope you continue to learn with me and please please please ask any questions you might have, and there is no such thing as a stupid question so ask away!

So, I’m off to pop open the bubbly and eat that delicious looking cupcake to celebrate! And here’s to the next year of Soph talks science 🙂 Maybe for Soph talks science’s 2nd birthday celebrations we can learn about the science of cakes :p

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Science love.

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Science & me

Feeling the BENEFIT of highlighting my face AND my study notes

Brains or beauty?

Brains OR beauty?

Why can it never be brains AND beauty?

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I am not a morning person. But after hitting snooze a few times and finally pulling myself out of bed, I still manage to put on some make up before heading to the lab to get a step closer to that Nobel prize winning discovery I am going to make – I hope anyway :P!

But I don’t feel that if I don’t put make up on, I’m going to have a bad science day, or that I’m going to make that discovery because I look good with my full face of slap on! Beauty and brains are not mutually exclusive and I choose BOTH!

But what is the issue? Why am I sharing this?

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The  problem

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Picture taken by @science.sam

This!

This is the problem.

‘Skip Class, Not Concealer’. This is the tag line that Benefit Cosmetics, a brand that I used to love and buy from, has opted for on a global ad campaign.

Really?

There has always been an ugly side to advertising but to imply that you have to choose between looking good and having an education is infuriating! I have slogged my ass off at school, throughout uni, in evening and extra classes and now at grad school to get the best out of my education that I can and have ALL the options! But for this campaign to imply that I can’t look beautiful doing it! AAARRRGGGHHH!

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This slogan is a step too far! This ad for me is saying that if you don’t look beautiful, then don’t go to class! I am not normally one to get immersed in these sorts of issues but this one really struck a nerve and angered me. The amount of times at uni I turned up to lectures hungover or still with remnants of last nights fancy dress plastered across my face. I didn’t care what I looked like. The important thing was that I was there to press record on my dictaphone and learn something that eventually got me my First class honours degree, my Masters degree and hopefully soon my PhD.

I mean how can something like this firstly get chosen out of what was probably multiple ideas and then finally go through rounds and rounds of finalising without anyone at Benefit Cosmetics thinking ‘Is this really the message we want our brand to be known for?’. And then for someone from the company to come back and say it was meant to be taken in a ‘tongue and cheek’ way! I for one LOVE my comedy! I am often found at comedy gigs and think I have a good sense of humour. But I cannot understand from any angle how this ad could be perceived as funny in any way!

There are boys and girls around the world fighting for the chance to get an education and a global brand like Benefit is palming it off as if it is not a big deal. Well, Benefit you are wrong! An education is a HUGE deal and I for one am not going to sit back and let the world think otherwise! An education is important for me to be able to do the career I want to do to the best of my ability, and also so I can use my brain, call out and fight back against awful ads like this one!

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The fightback

During my PhD journey, I have been incredibly lucky to come across an amazing online community called The Stem Squad which is full of inspiration women working in science, technology, engineering and maths. It was one of these gals @Science.Sam who brought the issue to my attention and has since lead the fight back against this campaign by sharing their messages across social media using the hashtag #SkipBenefitNotClass.

Here are a selection of the messages found across social media:

But since, the social media campaign against the Benefit ad has grown to include entrepreneurs, doctors, mothers, nurses, lawyers and more so the number of people involved in this fight back is ever growing and it is not to late to post a selfie/blog/video with #SkipBenefitNotClass to state your case. For me, this is just showing that girls (and guys) that have brains AND beauty are a force to be reckoned with!

One of the reasons I started my blog and Instagram features was to break down the stereotypes associated with being a scientist. I for one will not give into these stereotypes and will not be silenced. I am so happy that SO many other guys and gals are standing up for what they believe in.

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The future

So most of this post as been a bit doom and gloom, so I wanted to finish by looking to the future and hoping that this won’t happen again.

Firstly, I want to make a shout out to L’Oréal who have a  L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science programme which recognises the achievements and contributions of exceptional females across the globe, by awarding promising scientists with Fellowships to help further their research. A cosmetics brand that is empowering women to be role models in what is considered a ‘not conventionally female’ career path, so I want to say thank you. Check out the 2017 winners are here.

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All companies can make an advertising mistake. I completely get that. But this is not the first Benefit campaign that has caused a stir. Now, unfortunately for whatever reason, Benefit do not look like they are going to pull the ad, as their Twitter account was reeling out the same reply to all displaying their outrage to the campaign.

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Some stores have agreed to take  down the adverts but Benefit Cosmetics are not taking any action to change their controversial campaign so far! Maybe it just needs a re-brand! And I even have the solution for you! Pitch it as ‘don’t skip class, wear this concealer instead’!

Of course it will need a catchier slogan as I’m not a marketing whizz! But if there was a concealer out there that could have hid my hungover eyes at the lectures I still attended at university, or there was a concealer out there that could hide my tired eyes after endless 12 hour+ days in the lab at grad school, I would buy it! Just pitching it the other way, to me, sends the complete opposite message! It would be a message of empowerment for whoever chooses to wear makeup for whatever reason, and show them that you can still look on point and work towards that exam, ace your degree or achieve whatever you want!

A simple solution right?

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In a world where social media is taking over and younger generations are being influenced more and more by what they find on these platforms, cosmetics brand should be promoting their followers to make the best out of themselves. You have a global reach! Be a brand that send positive messages and encourage younger generations to go out and get everything they want to!

I will always be here standing, hopefully, as a role model to all young girls and showing that you can still be pretty and get somewhere in a male dominated field such as science! If science is what you love to do, you can do it and it doesn’t matter what you look like! And I’m not the only one. Instagram, for one, is full of truly incredible women in STEM who did not skip class and highlight their face as much as their study notes to get those 1 or 2 or even 3 degrees that are as real as those lashes!

I just want to remind girls, and guys, out there that you are so much more than your looks! I would 100% take class over concealer any day!

Being brainy AND beautiful is awesome!

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Science love.

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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 🙂 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 🙂 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 😛

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 😦 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 – what 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 🙂

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 🙂

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.