This was not what I expected my next blog post to be about, but I guess that’s life. Last week I was nominated by fellow blogger Dr Ewen Sommerville for the Sunshine Blogger Award. This came as a big surprise to me, as my blog is only 3 months old!
What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?
The award is driven entirely by the community, passed from blogger to blogger in recognition of their inspiring, creative and motivational blogs. Each nominee passes it on to 11 of their favourite bloggers, and round and round it goes. In my opinion, its a great way to give recognition to bloggers who maybe think no one is paying attention.
For accepting the Sunshine Blogger Award nomination, there are a few rules:
- Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
- Answer 11 questions the blogger asked you.
- Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions.
- List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post and/or on your blog.
So a big thank-you to Dr Ewen Sommerville for nominating me for this award. It makes me feel like I’m on the right track in terms of the content I’m putting out, and it will serve as some extra motivation to continue to engage in science communication.
Now on to the questions…
Why did you decide to start blogging?
Oh loads of reasons for this one. Two huge role models for me are Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy (Hence the name “The Science Boi”). These guys are incredibly successful science communicators. When I listen to StarTalk radio (a podcast hosted by Tyson, and sometimes Nye), I am amazed by how they communicate science in a way that is not only understandable, but entertaining! That’s something I wanted to be able to do, hence my blog.
What is the long-term goal for your blog?
Ultimately, I want to provide a place the public can go to when they want to understand what the science is saying about a particular topic, without having to struggle through a scientific paper.
A secondary goal is to provide insight into the life of a PhD student, which will hopefully be a source of support for other postgraduate students.
Do you have a routine or typical plan when starting a new blog post?
While I like to think of myself as a very organised person, but honestly my blog posts always start kind of messy.
The first thing I do is get a good grasp of the science behind a certain topic. This may be by listening to science podcasts, reading science articles or talking to experts directly.
Then I’ll write out my article using scientific language, which is the way that comes most naturally to me.
Finally I read through my article and edit it to remove any jargon or include images that are more concise than a paragraph of text.
When I’m happy that it is written in such a way that anyone can understand it, I’ll add some relevant images or gifs to break up the text.
What is your favourite blog post that you have written so far?
My post about my own research was one of the easiest to write, but received a hugely positive response through social media. Several people wrote to me about how easy it was to understand and how amazing it sounded! I felt like I had successfully transferred the excitement I have always had for my project into other people, which is what scicomm is all about!
What social media platform has helped you the most to grow your blog?
I’d say Twitter, I’ve only recently discovered what a fantastic tool it can be to connect with not only other scientists and scicommers, but with the general public too. LinkedIn and Facebook are a close second.
Dogs or cats?
Dogs every time. If cats really loved you, they’d be dogs.
Where do you find your inspiration for writing blog posts?
I want people to get excited about science! So when I come across some new breakthrough or a popular area that isn’t very accessible to the public, I get pumped about the prospect of bringing that knowledge to non-scientists!
What is your favourite book?
To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the few books we read at school that I felt really engaged in. I felt I could relate to the character of Atticus Finch, a man who approaches everything in life rationally, always trying to see things from the other persons perspective. I always thought there was something scientific about that.
Do you have any special or unusual talents?
My girlfriend says my special talent is being able to talk about science for such a long amount of time that I melt her brain.
Where is your dream holiday destination?
I’d love to go somewhere like Tokyo, just to experience a dramatically different culture and way of living.
Finally, can your summarise your life in three songs?
Now for my 11 Nominees….
I’m not going to be able to nominate 11 bloggers. Since I’m relatively new to blogging, my network is not particularly extensive yet. So I’ll nominate the blogs that I particularly enjoy reading regularly.
- The Biology Yak
- The Thesis Whisperer
- The Inquisitive Biologist
- Stories in Science
- Skeptical Science
- Pencilskirts and Punctuation
Questions for my 11 Nominees
- What will your blog be like in 5 years?
- What is it that you enjoy the most about blogging?
- What is the purpose of your blog?
- Do you listen to music when writing your blog?
- Do your family & friends know about your blog?
- Do you do any writing other than your blog?
- What was your reaction to being nominated for the sunshine blogger award?
- How long does it take you to write an average blog post?
- Why did you start your blog?
- If you could develop a cure for any virus, which one would it be?
- What do you spend most of your spare time doing? (other than blogging)