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When you think of a scientist, you probably imagine a person dressed in a white lab coat, wearing thick glasses and adorned with white, straggly hair. Perhaps you think of Albert Einstein. The reality is quite different; scientists, overall, do not conform to this stereotype. They do not have a particular uniform, and they do not wear a badge. What makes someone a scientist?

The answer is in the way they think. They employ “the scientific method”. But what is the scientific method? The concept really boils down to a way of formulating ideas and testing them; a way of explaining the world through systematic observation and hypothesis testing. In short, a way of telling reality from fantasy. Read the rest of this entry »

Blogging was, until very recently, a highly self-indulgent exercise in hoping someone is listening. To be frank, I was doing it to practice my writing skills and see if I can elucidate the odd scientific or other concept well. Given that hardly anyone has read this blog, I’m uncertain as to the success of that idea!

However, enter August 2010 and I am enrolled in a Science Communication masters degree at the University of Western Australia. In one unit, I will have to do blog entries. So, my time has come for judgement. The number of readers of my work is to double, or triple (you can’t actually divide by zero, so I’ll just count myself as a reader of my own work). Lecturers, tutors and classmates will read me! I will rule the world. No, class is in fact likely where it will end. Nonetheless, I now have purpose. Whilst the unit only demands a couple of blog entries, I will attempt to throw up a few more here and track progress through the course.

A science communication course is a little bit of an enigma to me still. I am doing it because I am interested in doing it. I would also like a related career in it one day, but realistically, I don’t think such jobs exist. At least not readily and this contrasts with my ‘native’ qualifications in geology. Perhaps here I should state my ‘hopes and dreams’ along these lines. Say with a 10 year timeline. That’s not too ambitious or overly forward-looking is it?  Therefore, I humbly ask that within 10 years I have written a book on sciencey stuff and contribute regularly to some paid media, be that print or radio (perhaps). Oh and make millions of dollars. That is all.

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