QUESTION #1 Who is the "public" we are trying to engage?

I found a site called bigassmessage.com which enables you to write big messages such as this.

I thought of making an image myself. I thought this image should of a quote related to the issues of this blog. But I could not think of a quote out of the top of head.

So I then thought that is should make an image of a question instead. And I wrote the question that has recently been bugging me the most:

http://bigassmessage.com/4f83dd710

Yes, yes, I know that many people have asked this before – especially in marketing, advertising etc. One day I would like to talk about the fact that the more I read things for this blog, the more I realise that advertising and science communication use a LOT of the same tools. And some principles as well.

I have not typed the question into google to find out what comes up. The purpose of this post was to use the website bigassmessage.com afterall…

Overload

I am already at a stage where I feel that either this will happen:

or this:
Free Clipart.
Maybe I have reached this stage BECAUSE I am at the beginning.
I started reading an article about science communication which lead me to the effectiveness of science blogging BUT also to the importance of peer review and how this is going to evolve AND also on whether science should be blogged, tweeted etc AND to the conclusion that there are a lot of interesting blogs out there, which have a LOT of comments to go through.
And I have not even started to look at science policy!!!!!!!
But fuelled with excitement I am running too fast I think. I have to pace myself: one aspect at a time. I have created a few posts on all of these subjects which I am hoping to be able to build on over the next few months.
I know this post is a bit pointless, but since this is in a way a diary of a journey I think I will need to write diary-entry-like posts every now and then. I hope you don’t mind… 🙂

The Creative Economy: Challenges and Opportunities in a Τime of Crisis

An interesting conference taking place in Athens organised by the British Council

The Creative Economy: Challenges and Opportunities in a Τime of Crisis

The importance of creativity and innovation in the context of the globalised and extremely competitive economic environment of the 21st century cannot be overstated. More than ever before, during this period of economic turmoil there is increasing recognition that a large proportion of the new economy will depend on how well leaders succeed in supporting and unlocking people’s creative energies and capacity for innovation as a means of developing dynamic and vibrant regions, cities, communities and businesses alike. New circumstances demand new solutions, and creativity and innovation will be key to overcoming economic and social challenges.

Join us at the Creative Economy Conference we are organising in collaboration with the Department of Communications, Media and Culture at Panteion University and IANOS publishers. The conference aims to take a closer look at both the British and Greek experience and share knowledge and best practice between the two countries. It brings together experts from Greece and the UK and from various fields of science, technology, the humanities, policy making, the arts and culture, as well as successful real-life innovators, to discuss and exchange ideas on the challenges and opportunities of a creative economy in a time of crisis.

http://www.britishcouncil.org/greece-arts-and-culture-creative-economy-conference.htm

Periodic table of science blogs: what a great idea!

Sciencebase aka Science Writer David Bradley had another great idea: to create a periodic table with all the science bloggers on it, one for each element.

I read about it when it was announced but did not have the guts to ask if I could take Si (my blog starts with S and my first name with an I). This blog is not that old anyway! 🙂

This periodic table is a treasure for people like me. And this is why I am posting it here.

Science Communication: one really needs those presentation skills!

Today I visited the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Moussikis) to attend a talk by Marcus de Sautoy (website1, website2). I found out about it the last moment through twitter (twitter gets more and more useful everyday!!!).

Are you ready for some… Geek (not Greek, Geek ;-) ) Pop

Geek Pop is a free online music festival featuring artists inspired by science. Starting from today (12 March from 12 GMT – 2 μμ greek time), musicians from around the globe are invited for a gleeful celebration of geek culture.
Previously an online-only event, the festival is in its third year and is now adding live music to the programme, with gigs in Bristol and London.
Music from every set will be available to download for free.

You can find more information and to listen: geek pop

Bioinformatics, Systems Biology, Synthetic Biology: new paradigms or changes in fashion?

[This is an article I wrote for a major Greek newspaper “VIΜΑ” which was published on the 5th of February 2010. There is going to be a small Greek twist to this blog as well. First the article – loosely translated by me – in English and then the original in Greek.]

In just one decade in the science of biology three “new” areas were “created”. In 2000 everyone thought that Bioinformatics is the future of biology. After the final sequence of the human genome, three years later, everyone was talking about Systems biology.Today, at the end of this decade, the focus is Synthetic Biology. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to wonder if these areas are indeed new, if a new paradigm is being created. Is the science of biology changing with with unprecedented high rates or do scientists give to their research the newest, and therefore most attractive name in order to increase their opportunities of getting funding?

Continue reading

Science and Politics: A start

Two days ago (Tuesday 9th March 2010) a debate on Science was organised in the UK, using as an incentive the General Election of 2010. Since this debate was broadcast live – for the first time in the history of the House of Commons – the whole world (including me) had the chance to follow the debate.

The debate was organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry on behalf of the science and engineering community (Royal Society, Royal Academy of Engineering, Institute of Physics, Society of Biology, Geological Society, Royal Astronomical Society, the Science Council and the Campaign for Science & Engineering, etc).
Three politicians took part in the debate:

  1. Adam Afriyie MP Conservative Party – Shadow Minister for Innovation and Science
  2. Lord Drayson Labour Party – Minister of State for Science and Innovation
  3. Dr Evan Harris MP Liberal Democratic Party – Spokesperson for Science & Technology

The link to watch this debate is at:

http://www.rsc.org/ScienceAndTechnology/Parliament/Events/2010Election.asp

I know that it would give more meaning to this post if I gave my views, but I am not ready yet. Anyway I need to read first the documents produced recently on the future of science in the UK. And that is one of the things I will do next. Hopefully one day I will be able to come back to this.

An… introduction

Greekgirlinlondon was my internet name and I would like to advise whoever starts an internet presence to be careful which username they choose. I wish someone had told me so 5 years ago when for some reason, this name – one of the least viable in the long-term – seemed to me appropriate.

Why I am saying this? Because I am having problems because of it. Even though I have and always will – fortunately or unfortunately – remain a Greek person, I do not want to blog about “girly” stuff so much any more and I am not living in London either.

Rant over, time to introduce this blog.
I spent years trying to pretend that science was something that i accidentally fell into. Something that just happened to me. That i could have been an equally mediocre banker, lawyer, painter, architect, psychologist, builder, singer, etc. At the same time I kept thinking that science is something that I am not good enough for, passionate enough for, innovative enough for, smart enough for, etc etc.
And when I say years, I mean a decade. More than one-third of my life and the WHOLE of my adult life.
So for me it took a degree, an MSc, a PhD – admittedly all of them from the top 5 universities in the whole world -, 5 scientific papers (including one in Nature) and 2 years of soul-searching absence for me to say that “My name is Greekgirlinlondon and I am a scientist”.
I do not really feel a scientist of course – you do not immediately feel something just because you said it – but I thought that if I say out loud and if I try to pretend to be one, then one day I might feel like one, and all this wasteful soul-searching will – hopefully!!! – be over.
So this blog was created by me for me to say to myself: YOU ARE A SCIENTIST: DEAL WITH IT!
And because I am one of these people who having decided to do something, they want to do it properly and methodically and keep records and make something good and new and innovative out of it, and discuss with other people about it, and learn, and grow etc, I decided to take what I am – a… scientist – and make the best I can out of it.
I do not know where this is road will lead me, but I want to share this journey with you.
I have to apologise from the beginning: this journey is not going to be tidy. When has a scientist’s log book has ever been tidy anyway? I will make a lot of mistakes, I will ask a lot of questions that – for me – will lead to dead ends (they might not lead to dead ends for you though), I will go backwards and forwards, etc etc.
My goal at the moment is to find out what is out there in the world of science outside the lab. But who knows if my goal will be the same in a year’s time? Maybe by that time I will be back in the lab. Who knows?
This is how all scientific experiments begin – you have some thoughts on what might happen, but you do not know what will.
Lets begin!