November trundles

The open door on my Star Wars Lego advent mark the passing of another month. November was a brilliant mix of things. Lots of workshops, performances and interviews. I've picked a few highlights for this month.


November in numbers:

  • 2950 miles travelled by train (same as London to Moscow)

  • 64 hours consultancy

  • 25 hours running workshops

  • 10 hours performing on stage

Photo credit: @Andrestrujado

Do you smell almonds?

November saw the start of a new show for me. "Do you smell almonds?" looks at the flavours and smells of chemistry. This all came from my fascination of cola (which I've just finished writing a book on, due out next year!). Cola started off a cocaine fused wine to help wean opium addicts off their habit, so it's changed a lot over its 133 year history. Form a chemist's perspective it is a fascinating mix of volatile aromatic compounds - some are familiar and pleasant like cinnamon and vanilla while others you'd never guess like hay, cheese and...dung.


I was delivering these talks for the Training Partnership who put on brilliant days for GCSE and A Level students across the country.


Getting Social

A new workshop for me "getting social" looks at the uses, benefits and pitfalls for researchers using social media. It was odd, considering I spend so much time on it, that I've never really spoken about how to use it.


Was great to put together a short course for postgraduate researchers at the University of Aberdeen. We look at different platforms, tools and then rounded off the day creating some video content.




Trade me for a shiny

Before I became freelance I didn't even know that Science Trade Shows were things, but they totally are! I was delighted to be the keynote for my second one this year when the Suppliers a Go Go team invited me down to share my Sci Comm journey with them.


If you are curious what a science trade show is, it's a place where companies come to display all their equipment - because Argos don't do hot plates with built in magnetic stirrers.



Roving reporter

I travel a lot! The upside of this is the people I meet. I tend to spend at least 2 days a week away from home meaning I have the ideal opportunity to meet people from all across the country and hear their stories - so I've started taking my recorder with me.


I've recorded my first couple of interviews and am planning to learn how to edit and podcast over christmas. Exciting news soon hopefully!!



Brace for badges

This month I designed 7 new pin badges, big reveal soon! It's been such a lovely project which has allowed me to connect with people all over the world, raise £2k for the Albert Kennedy Trust and help increase visibility and foster inclusive environments. I've been particularly touched by messages from teachers who have been wearing their rainbow badges in class and have had some beautiful interactions with students because of them.


Other things I delivered engagement training in Aberdeen • Dressed up as Frank N Furter and failed to solve a Murder Mystery • Ran workshops in the Government's former chemical warfare planning centre • Delivered a policy engagement day to environmental researchers • Had another batch of students through my "How to Finish your PhD in time" course • Got excited about the Periodic Table on stage and on TV for the International Year of the Periodic Table • Took a lit up tour through Glasgow Botanic Gardens • Got a few sleeper trains • Had the fanciest train journey ever • Watched my first ever series of Ru Paul's Drag Race.


Thanks to everyone who made it a great month!


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