Tag Archives: women in science

Starting Grad School: A guide to your first conference. Part 1

I just (well, a few days ago, but: jetlag) came back from a massive international conference, and am feeling like it’s high time I shared some more advice for the first year Grad students. I could write you a couple of thousand words about attending conferences but, let’s me honest, nobody would read them. So for now I will just impart advice about two conference-attending topics:

  • Be prepared for anything
  • Don’t be a dick

I guess I should probably put a bit more meat on those bones, so here’s part one: How to be prepared for anything Continue reading

Round Up #4

Back when I was blogging regularly, and when I was writing more about science news and less about the woes of being a PhD student I did a few round ups of interesting things I had read that week which I didn’t have the time to write an entire blog post of. Given how much stuff I’ve managed to stray across this week (mainly because I seem to be back on Twitter, after a long hiatus) I thought it was time for another one.   Continue reading

Friday Roundup

Here are a few odds and ends that have caught my eye over the last day or two to finish the week with.

The 523Mb draft genome for banana, Musa acuminata, has been released (more on that later) in a paper in Nature by D’Hont et al  and with it this awesome Venn Diagram comparing the genes that are homologous between banana and some other important plants. (Arabidopsis is the model species for all plants – the equivalent of a lab mouse; Brachypodium is the model for grasses; Oryza is rice).

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Science: it’s a girl thing. We are nerdy and that is okay.

This week the EU Commission launched a campaign called Science: It’s a girl thing designed to encourage girls to  become scientists. It involved some nice shorts of female scientists talking about who they are and what they do.

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Science: It’s a girl thing (or “How to patronise women and alienate your audience”)

My morning has begun with rage. This week the EU Commission launched a new campaign designed to encourage teenaged girls to go into science (apparently by breaking down stereotypes…) It’s called Science: It’s a girl thing. The campaign so far is basically a series of short, fairly-bland-but-inoffensive youtube clips introducing female scientists: a kind of ‘This is what a scientist looks like’ campaign, if you will, accompanied by various stats.

Overall it sounds like a well-meaning campaign that isn’t going to cost anyone much money, and might have a positive effect in making teenage girls see science as a valid career path for them. But hang on a second. There’s a PR machine behind this thing, which kicked off today. And it’s turning into a train crash.

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On engaging with the public, and why we do science

This morning I read a fantastic piece by @ScientistsMags about science engagement, which so completely echoed my own sentiments I just had to link to it. Quite apart from the fact that I think we need more women in science and greater scientific literacy amongst the general public, there is another reason why I really like talking to sixth formers and school pupils about science; and even teaching undergrads. Every time I explain my research, I understand it a little bit better myself.

Excerpt:

You would think that a scientist would love nothing more than to talk about their work. They do, usually to another scientist. The general public is an afterthought or not even considered. … I do believe that if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough, and so did Richard Feynman.

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Where have all the women gone?

About a week ago Lesley Yellowlees President-Elect of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Vice-Principal at the University of Edinburgh, described the UK as being 50 years behind the States in terms of “advancing the cause of women scientists”.  While over a quarter of the fellows appointed by the (American) National Academy of Science this year were women, just 2 of the 44 newly appointed FRS were female. Why are there so few women in the upper echelons of science? Continue reading