In a publish or perish environment scientists are finding it harder to spend time out in the field doing pure exploration. This is a great shame as we can never predict where the next great scientific discovery will come from. The wonders of the natural world around us are the ulitmate source of discovery, but for this to happen we need to find the time to go out in the field and explore.
Dr Greg Holwell is an invertebrate zoologist and natural historian from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In this interview with In Situ Science he stresses the importance of spending time making field observations and having them inform your scientific enquiry. He also chats about the importance of being an effective mentor for students, and the responsibilities involved with fostering the next generation of great scientists.
Spending months on end trudging through monsoonal South East Asian Rainforests is a far cry from the suburban upbringing of Jodi Rowley. However travelling across the globe to remote locations in search of frogs is all part of the job as she now works as a herpetologist at the Australian Museum. She regularly spends time in South East Asia documenting the biodiversity of amphibians.
This research is crucial now as we are currently witnessing rapid declines in frog populations world wide due to climate change and habitat modifications. Only by understanding what species are out there, and where they live can we begin to conserve them before they are lost forever.
Being a scientist is not just a profession, it is a way of life. It is the searing agony you feel when you find inaccuracies in science fiction movies. It is checking your pedometer hourly, not because you have to, but because you want to.
The Sydney Science Festival 2017 rocked on from the 10th to the 20th of August. During this time, In Situ Science hosted “Life vs Science” a live podcast recording at The Camelot Lounge in Sydney. A wonderful audience filled the air with laughter as they learnt about science ‘behind-the-scenes’ from Jim Fishwick, Shane Hengst, Leigh Nicholson, James O’Hanlon and Alice Williamson.
This diverse panel of scientists delved into the types of research they are currently doing, early inspirations and pet peeves as scientists, and closed the night with questions from the audience. Questions include science stereotypes, the biology of the leaf and how we should deal with climate change deniers. So, join us for the highlights of the night!
Dinh-Dai Le is a science student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology. When not knee deep in science communication, you can find him on the online battlefields of Overwatch or in the mosh pits of any live music event.
For some they are feared creatures, for others they are friendly backyard acquaintances. Spiders, for some reason, are divisive creatures that have been unfairly burdened with a terrible reputation for being deadly assassins. Arachnologist Dr Lizzy Lowe spends most of her time researching the ecology and behaviour of spiders, and when she isn’t doing that she is working hard to dispel myths about spiders in the eyes of the general public.
In this interview with In Situ Science we also discuss the reality of balancing a career in science with raising a family. As an early career scientist Lizzy has moved her family between three different cities in the last 18 months. Whilst the instability of this career path can be a a struggle, science is also a career that allows for great flexibility when caring for young children.
James chats with king of outreach and parasite ‘otaku’ Dr Tommy Leung. Tommy is a prolific researcher, communicator, artist and philosopher. When he is not researching the ecology and evolution of parasites he is exploring creative dimensions with Illustration and engaging with scientists and artists through his online persona.
We discuss how scientists are much more creative than they are given credit for and how Tommy explores his favourite parasites with wonderful sci-fi-esque works of art. We also discuss the role social media plays in the communication of scientific research and the pro’s and con’s of how scientists can portray themselves online.
Listen along as Dr Stephen Bosi from the University of New England schools James O’Hanlon on the fundamental particles that make up our universe. After starting off with a discussion about the interface between science and art, we take a detour through radiotherapy and finish up discussing quantum physics, famous bongo players and why Einstein was wrong.
Stephen Bosi researches the physics behind medical imaging tools to improve cancer treatments. By understanding the atomic structures that make up the human body he hopes to improve our ability to precisely deliver radiation to cancerous tissues. When he is not doing this he enjoys teaching, science communication and oil painting.
The science of palaeontology conjures up images of hours spent delicately brushing away sand from immaculately preserved dinosaur skulls. However palaeontologist Phill Bell argues that it is rarely that easy. Luckily, by adopting and developing new technologies, palaeontology is progressing in leaps and bounds and has moved beyond the study of bone fragments, to a dynamic field uncovering the lives and behaviours of prehistoric wonders.
In an interview with In Situ Science Phil Bell tells us about why he is drawn to Hadrosaurs, the gentle giants of the dinosaur world. And of course there is ample discussion about the pros and cons of dinosaur fiction including Jurassic Park, Dino-riders and the Land Before Time!