Posts

Academic Blogging - Getting started

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Looking to share your research project online via a blog or social media but not sure where to start? I often get asked how you blog. So here's a post with some hints, tips and how to get started with a blog. I think blogging can be an extremely useful tool but it isn't for everyone, it is hard work and can be extremely difficult to do well. There are also risks involved and it usually isn't the best way of engaging with the public. Researchers can blog for a number of reasons . It could be to share work with a wider audience or to share it with peers and there's plenty of folk (myself included) that blog about working as a researcher in a general sense. These posts are mostly read by other researchers. I found blogging through my PhD quite therapeutic and it helped me make a few new friends along the way. I've included lots of links in this post to resources elsewhere on the web. I'm definitely not the first person to post about blogging so I hav

Why do scientists work in strange cabinets...?

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Scientific laboratories are often surrounded by strange cabinets or 'hoods' which researchers work in...but why?  *please note I was approached to post this blog post and there is a disclaimer at the bottom*  Image from genencor_14 on Flickr I worked under a hood when working with my cell cultures  during my PhD in order to keep the cells sterile and avoid contamination and infection of the cells.  Their history These sophisticated systems were initially developed for the aerospace industry in order to control dust contamination that could negatively impact on the reliability and precision of parts. Microbiologists did not take long to switch onto the benefits associated with the technology. A 1967 scientific paper notes, experts in the field had long been seeking ways to control contamination. In their piece, which was published in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, Martin Favero and Kenneth Berquist stated: “For many years microbiolo

Read my thesis and let's chat about sharing research

Follow my blog with Bloglovin So my thesis has been published online on the University of Aberdeen Library page. You can read it by clicking here .  It has the very snappy title 'GPR30 and ERĪ±36 and their potential role in breast and endometrial cancers' This is my lay abstract: Oestrogen is a hormone that is mostly associated with the development of sexual organs and the female monthly menstrual cycle. However, it is also known to play a role in breast cancer. The presence of oestrogen can make some breast cancers grow and in the 1970s ‘anti-oestrogens’, like tamoxifen, were developed which have successfully prevented the growth of some breast cancers by blocking the action of oestrogen. Oestrogen causes this growth by binding to specific ‘receptors’ in the body. The anti-oestrogens work by blocking the oestrogen binding to the receptor. Some breast cancers do not have the receptors and therefore can’t be treated with anti-oestrogens. These types of cancers tend to be

Want to see more good science writers in the future?

Producing a science magazine is tough going. These guys have produced a magazine and a video. Watch it and share it to help them raise funding to do even more awesome science writing. You can read their magazine here too . 

Post-PhD life - Life decisions and blogging

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I graduated from my PhD some time ago now. I moved away from research when my funding expired and after a lot of decision making and deliberating I took a post in Public Engagement at the University of Aberdeen. I started in late 2012 and I've really been enjoying it so far. I am involved with planning, organising and running lots of public engagement events along with speaking to researchers about the many different ways they can engage with the public, how to bring the public into research, a bit of training and also discussing how to use social media as a researcher (which I really enjoy). It wasn't an easy decision and I didn't discuss it on this blog at the time for a number of reasons. There was a post-doc opportunity too but that was in Canada and I wanted to stay in Scotland as my (now) husband is based here and I decided that I wanted to move full time into public engagement. I knew that I would enjoy the role and it seemed that this option would lead to a muc

The Beauty Blogger Challenge to Ask for Evidence

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Beauty and health product manufacturers are keen to open their doors to questions from users in order to get people on the web talking about their products ( If you're interested in following some of the chat then just look at #bblogs  on twitter). But with the doors seemingly opening there's still a lack of people asking the right questions about what product testing takes place to create the claims they put forward and the real scientific basis behind their formulations and potions. Beauty and health blogs are huuuuge business, many get numbers of hits that print newspapers would be jealous of. I'm tempted to mention a few products just to score myself a better ranking on google..  Beauty and health manufacturers know this, exploit it and often run events and send free samples just for beauty bloggers. Some blogs offer critical reviews of products, others just seem to like the freebies. Then there are the really shameful attempts at debunking that are just used to prom

Tycho Brahe Museum and the problems of publishing your science in the middle ages...

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Yesterday I visited the Tycho Brahe Museum on the tiny island of Ven or Hven in Sweden. I'm going to write more about Tycho Brahe and the museum but for now (and the observatory he built in the 1500s).. here's a little descriptor from the gardens explaining how even in the 1500s it was important to disseminate research knowledge... and that Tycho the scientist didn't trust the people that printed his works. So he built his own printing press and printed it himself. Uraniborg was Tycho's castle and the museum is based around where it once stood.