There is a massive metallic box in the middle of the Elephant & Castle roundabout that is impossible to ignore as you drive past. Few drivers or even local residents know that this futuristic looking box is a memorial to one of the greatest scientists in history: Michael Faraday.
I am a plant biologist. Plant biology is rather a Cinderella science, so I always welcome the opportunity to evangelise.
Roll up, roll up, come and find out more about interesting science; slightly nervous I stepped up onto my soapbox at 1:30pm feeling a little like a ring master in a circus, hoping the weather would be kind and allow me 60 minutes of dry calm in which to spread the message – life as we know it wouldn’t be the same without space technology.
My research is about an old molecule, the phthalocyanine, which I started working on from day one of my PhD, 13 years ago, and am still fascinated in. I will probably still try to solve some of its mysteries when I retire!
For the past 15 years or so I have been studying cells in the breast. I am interested in finding out how the special cells in the breast that make milk develop during pregnancy. I am also interested in how these cells are induced to die after they are no longer needed, when the baby is weaned.
Nature and the natural world have a special place in most people’s thoughts, so that asking a question like might seem almost insulting to nature. To even pose the question suggests treating nature as a commodity to be traded and offset against other commodities. That is of course absurd to most people; Nature has intrinsic value, above and beyond any material value, and suggesting a measurable value diminishes it.
Last Friday I took part in an event called Soapbox Science which had the aim of showcasing UK women in science, inspiring the next generation of scientists and making science fun and accessible. Easy, right? Well, no. That is actually a pretty tall order, but definitely a very laudable one.
It was a busy day at work when the invitation to take part in Soapbox Science landed in my inbox, and I have to admit agreeing to it without really engaging with what it involved. As I stepped onto my soapbox on London’s South Bank last Friday did I regret it? No, although I’m certainly [...]
I watch the rich black soil of the abandoned Ukrainian community farmlands speed by my train’s window as we trundle towards mother Russia. As the train crosses the border, it is flooded with Russian border guards with machine guns and little blue H1N1 prevention masks hiding their faces shouting ‘Pas-parts!’ I frantically dig out my British passport and my best Russian hoping they won’t notice the suspicious looking (but totally innocent) ultrasonic recording equipment in my bag and confiscate it.
I must admit that when was invited to speak at last week’s Soapbox Science event on the South Bank in London, I accepted with some trepidation as I have never done such a thing before. But I willingly agreed to participate as I appreciated that this was a very original and great idea.
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