Showing posts with the label happy science

Getting Women into Science, EU Directive

All my wonderful lady friends (I'm talking to the non sciency bods here) I need your help. Please watch the video below and leave a comment on my blog page (at the bottom of this page) letting me know what you think of the video (giving your current job - you don't need to leave your name). Does it make you want to work in science? Update 18.7.12 Thanks for all the comments! I  forwarded them on to the EU commission that produced the video. They did receive quite a response to the video from across the globe, and a few 10000 blog posts!! Here are a few reflections  - Science, a people thing  - I think this is the blog post I agreed with the most  From the Guardian - Science: it's a girl thing! A viral fiasco New Statesman Huffington Post (UK)   - they ask 'is the video sexist?' Wall Street Journal - describe it as a porn film They did take the video down, and here is the website now -

What Does a Biologist Do All Day?

I'm a molecular pharmacologist, but what on earth does that mean I do at 10am on a Monday? The vast majority of my PhD in Medical Sciences has been spent in a dark room, counting. Counting breast cancer cells that have moved. YES, moved. Let's start at the beginning. I work with breast cancer cells that have been taken from a donor who had breast cancer. Cancer cells can be grown in a laboratory environment if you give them the correct nutrients and keep them at the correct temperature, a cosy 37 degrees, just like in the body. The cells I use were collected back in the 1970s and have been kept growing in the lab ever since. Cancer cells can be grown on a flat surface (or in a solution), in plastic dishes, like this: The cells grow in 'media', a solution that contains all the nutrients they need to grow. The media is usually pink as it contains phenol-red, an indicator that changes colour if the pH of the media changes (pH needs to be around 7.2-7.4 for op

Negative Calorie Food: Science Myths and Legends

Celery Cupcakes: A dieters dream? A popular diet belief is that there are some amazing diet wonderfoods that contain negative calories, like celery . So if you eat lots of them, you will burn extra calories; without even lifting a finger. The theory goes, negative calorie foods contain fewer calories than they take to digest. Celery is a reported 'negative calorie food'. If one lump (this is a hypothetical example) contains 6 calories, but it takes 10 calories to digest then the body uses 4 calories and does not gain any. I had some faith in the principal of this idea, it seemed to make sense in my head. Maybe I had just turned my skeptical inquisitive brain off, or maybe, a part of me just wanted to accept that it might be a possibility.. A quick google search revealed a host of information, news articles and blog posts on this subject. Dr Stu posted a blog post summarising some of the literature about negative calorie foods  very recently. Sadly, but pred

Eating More Chocolate Makes You Skinny

Answer this question for me - How many times a week do you consume chocolate? Can you (a) remember how much chocolate you have eaten in the last 7 days? Was it the same amount as last week? (b) Do you know you ate 5 Mars bars, a Twix and a bar of Cadbury's while watching Titanic 3D last night, feel that might be a little excessive and lie to me? If you are skinny would you happily say 'Oh I eat about 6 bars a week'? If you know you are not so skinny would you lie about your consumption? What do you think other people would say in answer to this question? Would you trust their answers? This is the exact question that was asked to participants in a study looking at the relationship of chocolate consumption and BMI. Did they take into account any of those scenarios or questions I just asked? No. A well timed (just before Easter) news story appeared EVERYWHERE this week, claiming that Chocolate 'may help keep people slim' (headline from the BBC ). T

What to do after a PhD?

Struggling to decide what to do after you finish your PhD? Try out my handy, 'nofuss-science-career-decider'. Start the process by clicking the link and saying, 'HELLO'

Have a Happy, Scientifically Correct Valentine's Day

I'm going to share a secret. I LOVE Valentine's day. But I don't do soppy, romantic gestures very well. So if you, like me struggle to share your feelings with that special someone and you live too far away from London (like me) to enjoy one of these fabulously, amazing real heart cakes (yes, these are for eating!) I have created a science themed Pinterest board , for your science love pleasure. Featuring everyones love favourites, the brain, serotonin, dopamine and Carl Sagan. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Valentine's Day! Don't forget to keep your eyes and ears open for any dubious 'science' valentines stories/research appearing in the news and online :-) Maybe we will all be enlightened with the 'love formula'. Source:  via  hapsci  on  Pinterest

Why Good Biologists are Better Than Sherlock

Me, pretending to be Sherlock with my 'critical thinking' hat on Sherlock Holmes is famous for his ability to apply logical reasoning. His amazing ability to watch, to observe, to put two and two together and make a conclusion. A critical thinker, his theories are not wild and are only based on fact. He studies, finds ways to find and gather all the information he can.. and then boom, hits everyone with the name of the culprit.  My argument, is that a good biologist (actually, any good scientist) needs to be at least as good as Sherlock to perform, and if they want to be really successful they have to be better.

The Cosmic Comic - Interview with Helen Keen

Published in Issue 1 (June 2011) of Au Science Magazine . Find out more about Helen here Helen’s show, 'It IS rocket science' is a humorous look at the people involved in space exploration. It was recently aired on BBC Radio 4 and has been performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. I caught up with Helen in Aberdeen where she did a short version of her show for, 'Skeptics in the Pub' in March.

Cannabis: menace or medicine?

Latex gloves, white lab coat and an expression of intense concentration. This is not your stereotypical image of a cannabis user, but it is one. Scientific researchers from all over the globe are devoting their time to uncovering the secrets of cannabis. If you are able to believe the hype, cannabis can relieve pain, prevent infection by HIV and fight cancer. In the UK, the first medicinal license for a cannabis-based medicine, Sativex , was granted in 2010, yet cannabis remains an illegal substance. So, is it medicine or menace?

The Scary world of Science

Obscure bad-science stories (of the  'Wine, gives you cancer but makes you thin' variety) seem relatively thin on the ground at the minute. There are some lurking, but they are mostly playing second fiddle in the health sections to the very important NHS reforms and to 'Andrew Wakefield sues the BMJ'. Maybe I haven't been looking closely enough, or I am starting to shut out the noise. There hasn't been anything that has stirred the fury in me enough to blog about it. Or, and this might be the bigger reason... I am being distracted by something else...

Acne, a side effect of being a successful 'high flying' career woman? Not at all.

This is the latest blight to 'successful', 'high powered', 'bossy' women... According to The Telegraph , The Daily Mail , Marie Claire , and Female First : - 'Acne new problem for successful women' - 'Acne, curse of the high-flying career woman: Growing stress levels to blame for outbreak of pimples' - 'Stress causing acne in successful women'

Why I dislike the term Scientist

What does the word 'scientist' mean? Really mean? Who can call themselves a ‘scientist’? Someone who studied a 'science' subject at degree level? But what if they became a HR manager and worked in a non 'sciency' company, are they still a scientist? Do you need to have a science PhD to be called a scientist? Or be actively doing science research? But what about all the people that work in science without 'sciency' qualifications? Are they still scientists? Apparently the word scientist was coined by William Whewell in 1834 at a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, to describe a group of people all studying different scientific disciplines (I have to admit, I haven't found any solid sources for this but you can read more about the term scientist here ). The word scientist can be used by anyone. The description of someone as a scientist in my view is pretty meaningless; it tells you nothing about the person. I think ther

Science - all about the new, in an old fashioned way.

Scientists work on the unknown; they are at the forefront of knowledge. They know what is new in technology, engineering and medicine before anyone else. Ironically, the way scientists record their information is firmly stuck in the dark ages, they hand write stuff, with pen and paper. The record of the experiments they carry out is contained in handwritten lab books. Hardly anyone still works with paper and ink anymore, is this an example of where something that isn’t broken shouldn’t be fixed, or can technology help make life easier? Filling out a lab book is annoying. Just writing one basic experiment can involve 2/3 pages of handwritten notes, 3 trips to the printer and a lot of cutting and sticking. As most experiments are repetitions of previous ones the methods are the same but the methods still need to be written out by hand in the lab book. For the majority of experiments results are revealed through a computer and the graphs created from results are also created by a comput

Anyone here a Doctor? YES, ME! Oh no, not that kind of Doctor - Gillian McKeith (not PhD)

Last week I gave in, I put aside my pride and joined Twitter. The only people that I thought might be interesting on Twitter are Ben Goldacre, Tim Minchin and Stephen Fry, so I added them and began to follow.......Oh how glad am I that I joined last week!!! Much to my delight (although probably not to my supervisors) I got to watch the unfolding of Ben Goldacre (actual Doctor) vs Gillian McKeith (not a medical doctor, dubious PhD). If you do not know what this debate is about - check out this link for a quick summary of what happened . People are covering this amazing spectacle all over the Internet as it unfolds (and I am sure there is more to come) so I am going to discuss - what does being a Doctor mean? Who is a Doctor? Can you trust people that call themselves Dr ... and what on earth is a PhD?! Doctor type 1 -  Medical Doctor , usually found in hospitals/GP surgeries looking a bit ropey due to overwork and stress. These people have studied Medicine at a university. Medical Scho

New Scientist

This is my first experience at blogging, so to tell you a bit about myself. I am a new scientist, I started a PhD in Medical Sciences about 4 months ago. I gave up a good job and moved 500 miles in the pursuit of love and freedom... (very sad but true and the translation of that statement is - I moved to be nearer my boyfriend and away from a job that was working me 10hrs a day and the odd weekend). I currently spend a lot of time sat at my desk wondering what I should be doing and thinking up elaborate goals and experiments that I won't be able to do. If I am not doing that I am on facebook or planning a ridiculous holiday experience that I have neither the time or money available to go on. I do spend some time in the lab, mostly getting lost! I have seen online quite a few blogs about science/PhDs etc and it seems to me all people do is moan (my boyfriends theory is that people, "don't go on the internet to say nice stuff"). I am a pretty positive person and