Monday, 2 May 2016

Viva la viva!

As a biochemistry penultimate year student, some of the compulsory tasks I have been set is to complete a 'wet' laboratory project, write a dissertation on the topic and attend a viva assessment meeting with 2 academic members of staff, with specialist knowledge in that area.

I was very lucky as I was allowed to pick the supervisor and the topic of my choice. As next year I will be a masters student, it meant that this year my dissertation was very short and only 3,000 words. I had so much more I could have written, looking back now. Cutting the word count down was particularly challenging as everything seemed just too important to cut out.

However, I think the main difficulty is in the preparation of the viva.

I've read, reread and triple-read my dissertation, reread the references and then on top of that tried to think of the questions which they could ask, both the obscure and the obvious- I always think the questions with the most obvious answers are sometimes the most difficult to answer. 

 A sneak peak into my life at the moment. Papers Galore!

Fingers crossed it goes well tomorrow!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Spring has (officially) sprung!

I am very lucky to experience four different temporal seasons in my part of the world: Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn.  Walking anywhere, right about this time of year, I see the newly flowering plants, the daffodils making their way through the green grass pushing their faces up towards to sun, the squirrels finding their buried nuts again and I love it! The days become longer and temperature is just generally more mellow.

Snaps I took this weekend to capture my little bit of Spring!

However, what decided when we say spring- and the other seasons- starts? 

So, the seasons can be determined via two calendars, the Meteorological or the Astronomical calendar, and it depends on which you follow as to when a season can be determined to begin.

If the Astronomical calendar is followed, then the seasons are based upon the Earth's position relative to the sun. This calendar takes into account both the longest and shortest day of the year  (the solstices). This calendar is very difficult to follow, due to the variation in the Earth's orbit and tilt on its axis over the years. This made it harder to clearly keep track of the seasons, thus the Meteorological calendar was introduced.

Based on the cycles of temperatures throughout the year, the Meteorological calendar coincides with the Gregorian calendar to create a definitive changeover between the seasons, which remains consistent throughout the years.

Seasons as defined by the Meteorological calendar
Spring- March, April, May
Summer- June, July, August
Autumn- September, October, November
Winter- December, January, February


Seasons as defined by the Astrological calendar
Spring- March 20/21
Summer- June 21/22
Autumn- September 22/23
Winter- December 21/22

Regardless of which calendar you follow, we will all celebrate the seasons in the same month.


Have you got any seasonal snaps? I would love to see them!

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Colours of the Sky

Recently, the sunsets have been really beautiful and I've been trying to capture them all. Then I thought to myself, I know why the sky is blue, but where do the cornucopia of colours which make up the beautiful horizon come from?

My daily view
Another beautiful sunset



















So, the colours of the sunset, occur due to small particles in the atmosphere which alter the direction of the light rays, scattering them in multiple directions. It is the scattering of the light which has an effect on the overall colour of the light, but it is the wavelength of the light and the size of the particle which is more responsible for the subtle changes in hue.

At sunset, the sun is low on the horizon, so the sunlight travels through more air. More air, means more molecules which are able to scatter blue and violet away from our eyes. All the other colours like yellow, red and orange remain unscattered and travel to our eyes (hence why we tend to see the reddish-orangey sunsets).

What breathtaking sunsets have you captured?



Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Oh Careers!

I always find the prospect of deciding a career path very difficult. Not because my degree (Biochemistry MBiol with Industrial placement) can only take you down a certain path, but because it is so flexible that I have not been able to narrow down the endless possibilities open to me. Although I have roughly 16 months left of my degree, I always think it is never too late to start looking, making lists and 'to dos' and creating a plan for the future.
Of course, when I began my career research the most obvious paths were R&D, teaching and academia, which are all great areas. However, I much prefer the theoretical side to science- the writing, the understanding, the wordplay and connotations derived from a piece of text. So, naturally I have wandered towards science journalism and medical writing, both of which (with further research!) I strongly think are a fields which I would not only enjoy working in but also fields  I could see myself progressing in career-wise through the years.
I know, that I want a job which involves science, but may not be lab based, so I feel writing about science is the right career for me.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Book Review: Drunk Tank Pink

I love reading all genres of books, and I especially enjoy books which open up my perspective on life, people and the way in which we as a society perceive the world.  Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter, is most certainly a book which encompasses all these aspects.
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The book takes you on a journey through the subconscious decisions we make entirely without knowing, or on the factors which alter our feelings and mindset completely without our realization.
The book title 'Drunk Tank Pink' is taken from the Baker-Miller shade of pink, a colour which has been claimed to reduce violent and aggressive behavior when exposed for a period of time to it, and as such has been used in correctional institutions and prison cells. So it is this subconscious suggestion the book begins, and progresses through to names, symbols, culture, colours and weather and how they influence our decisions.
If you like the prospect of questioning everything in the world, or if you are just searching for an interesting read, I thoroughly recommend this book.