Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

Happy 4th bloggy birthday

In September 2016 on September 2, 2016 at 12:11 pm

birthday cake

Sarah: ScienceforLife.365 is through its toddler years and heading towards early childhood education!

With National Science Week 2016 in its final throes, I realised my blog was now 4 years old.

Born in National Science Week 2012, I blogged every day for a year, and celebrated by hosting a National Science Week 2013 Brain Break morning tea.

Since then, posts have appeared around once a week, mostly written be me but with fantastic guest contributions from Kirsti Abbott, Mia Cobb, Cameron Webb, Heather Bray, Tiki Swain, Geoff HudsonMatthew Bowie and several others.

In total, 508 items have been published, and the blog has accumulated more than 37,000 views and over 20,000 visitors. Thanks guys!

If you’re a new reader, welcome to ScienceforLife.365. You can use the search function to browse through posts on all sorts of daily issues, including:

…and so much more.

Now excuse me, I must go and eat cake.



Bloggy birthday: celebrating 3 years in 2015

In August 2015 on August 17, 2015 at 12:24 pm

birthday hands-summer-party-colorful

Sarah: It’s my bloggy birthday!

It’s now 3 years since I had the crazy idea of blogging about the science in my life every single day starting in National Science Week 2012, and ending in National Science Week 2013.

It was a most excellent experience in more ways than one.

Although I have dropped my post frequency to once a week now, it’s still a project I love doing and plan to continue into the future.

It’s fantastic that National Science Week consists not only of actual live physical events around Australia, but also a range of online and digital activities for all to enjoy.

This year the WeAreBrisbane and WeAreAdelaide curated twitter accounts will feature a new scientist every day for the week 16-23 August.

Living in South Australia, I’m taking the reigns for WeAreAdelaide on Tuesday 18th August, but check out these other peeps too:

Monday = @emilybuddle

Tuesday = @sciencesarah

Wednesday = @Jo_Sund

Thursday = @NobyLeong

Friday = @hixson_josh

Saturday = @Ivalaine

Sunday = @dabeattie99

Just follow WeAreAdelaide to interact with each scientist over the week, and follow individual accounts to keep the conversations going for longer.

Enjoy National Science Week 2015 – but remember that science happens and can be applied every day of every year. Science is for life!

[image from here]

Happy birthday to us!

In August 2014 on August 21, 2014 at 11:51 am


Sarah: ScienceforLife.365 is two years old! 

It’s now National Science Week 2014. During the same week in 2012, I launched this blog as a daily project aimed at sharing the science in my everyday life. I also saw the challenge as a way to make sure I was writing regularly. 

The first year was crazy and wonderful, and ended with my post The Finishing Line, and a BrainBreak morning tea. You can review my thoughts on the professional benefits the initial year of this blog brought to me here

Phase 2 of the blog welcomed the very wonderful Kirsti Abbot as a weekly contributor, and a shift to less frequent posts from me (weekly rather than daily) to free up time for my growing work commitments as a freelance science writer. Guest posts from Heather Bray, Geoff Hudson, Tiki Swain (here and here), Mia Cobb and Cameron Webb have also been wonderful, adding diversity and interest across the breadth of science. 

And what awaits for the third year? 

Kirsti and I plan to continue exploring the science in our lives. I’d also love to continue to feature guest posts (be in touch if you have an idea!). 

But there could be more. It’s hard to ignore the fact that Australia and the rest of the world are now facing many challenges, including that posed by climate change. I don’t often write political posts. And yet I feel a growing urge to tackle this topic. I don’t yet know what that might look like. 

Come along for the ride and we’ll see what happens. It’s social media, after all, right? 

[image thanks to Anna Hall on flickr

Day 348. Happy birthday Rosalind

In July 2013 on July 25, 2013 at 11:39 am


Today would have been scientist Rosalind Franklin’s 93rd birthday. She died in 1958, a victim of ovarian cancer at only the age of 38.

Rosalind is best known for her groundbreaking studies in the use of X-ray diffraction – a kind of early imaging technology – to study biological molecules, including viruses. In the early 1950s, Rosalind created unique diffraction images which hinted at the then-unknown structure of DNA. Yet she was not acknowledged in Watson and Crick’s world-changing 1953 publication describing DNA’s double-helix molecular arrangement, despite the fact that the two men had viewed her images and clearly used them to further their own advancing theories.

Rosalind was apparently a remarkably clever and driven woman, with a passion not only for science but also for languages, travel and hiking.

Thanks to Mia Cobb, this morning I was alerted to the following phrases from Rosalind at age 20, taken from a letter to her father in 1940:

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.

Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience, and experiment.

In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best we shall come nearer to success and that success in our aims (the improvement of the lot of mankind, present and future) is worth attaining.”

These words fit perfectly into my Science for Life philosophy.

Happy birthday Rosalind.

You can read more about Rosalind Franklin in Brenda Maddox’s excellent biography Rosalind Franklin The Dark Lady of DNA

[image thanks to Droid Gingerbread on flickr]

Day 325. How to grow a scientist

In July 2013 on July 3, 2013 at 9:41 am


Of course, I’m not the only one with science in my life. This was written by my friend James, reflecting on the 4th birthday of his son.

Four years ago, at 3.33am on July 3, in birthing suite 3 of the Queen Mary Maternity Ward of Dunedin Hospital, our youngest child ‘D’ was delivered into the world.

All the 3’s made it into the birth announcement in the daily departmental email where I was postdoc-ing at the time.

For months afterwards the cleaner – who’d become quite fixated on the 3’s – pestered me to buy a lottery ticket, as she was into numerology, and all the 3’s were apparently highly significant.

I didn’t buy a lottery ticket, as I am not into numerology. I am a scientist, in remission at least, and the only highly significant stats to do with lotteries indicate you will do your dough.

Earlier this week, D’s contact teacher at preschool met with us for our semi-regular parent-teacher things, to run through his ‘profile’. Formerly this was a looseleaf binder of arts and crafts and printouts and things scribbled upon; now it’s a considerably more techie online powerpoint thing that is more interactive and visibly more impressive, though harder for the young bloke to bring home with him to show us.

D’s preschool is a great little place, and all the team there try very hard to extend the kids in their demonstrated areas of interest. The problem is, his teacher confessed sheepishly, D’s areas of interest are… everything. He wants to know everything. He wants to question everything. He wants to understand how everything works, how the parts fit together to make the whole, and which bits do what. Whether it’s what makes the wind blow or how a camera works, his question is the same one Julius Sumner Miller was famous for:

Why is it so?

(Admittedly, D’s version is usually just phrased as ‘…Why?’)

My people once were scientists. And will be again, it seems.

Perhaps he had no chance to be anything else; both his parents ask scientific questions and frame scientific conversations for a living.

Four is too young to worry about how your kids will turn out, or what they’ll make of their lives. And while I wouldn’t wish the soft-money panic of a research scientists’ life on anyone, least of all my nearest and dearest, there are many, many worse things you can turn out to be than someone who never forgets to ask the world,


Happy birthday D.


A ScienceforLife.365 guest post by Dr James Smith (find him on twitter: @theotherdrsmith)

Day 278. Happy Birthday Bridge8!

In May 2013 on May 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm


Six years ago I was at home looking after two toddlers full time, and wondering how on Earth I could stimulate my brain.

On a whim, I went along to a meeting of the South Australian committee of the ASMR, and met the lovely Lisa Jarvis. Lisa was about to head off for an adventure to London, having secured a great job with the Royal Institution of Great Britain (Lisa now is program director at the Australian arm of the Royal Institution, the RiAUS, located in Adelaide).

Lisa mentioned that her employee Kristin Alford at Bridge8 was looking for part time staff. In describing the work to me, Lisa mentioned three key words:

Science. Coffee. Conversations. 

Bang! I contacted Kristin, and was working with her (and colleague Jenna) within a few weeks. I stayed with Bridge8 until late 2011, when I began my freelance career.

I am so grateful to Kristin for many reasons, and not just professional ones.

But back to the birthday. Kristin started Bridge8 in 2004 following careers in engineering, human resources and product development across sectors including mining, R&D, aviation, agriculture and nanotechnology. She holds a PhD in process engineering and a Masters of Management in Strategic Foresight.

Asked to reflect on the 9th birthday of her fourth child (the first three are real people), Kristin – being Kristin – answered via twitter. Here’s what she had to say:

What comes to mind is just the diversity of work we’ve done.

This week alone has included animations, filming for I’m a Scientist Australia, foresight teaching, engagement strategies, strategy days, art, TEDxAdelaide.

We’ve been to amazing places around Australia & internationally with I’m a Scientist Australia, relating to nanotechnology and TEDx.

And it’s changed as different people have come and gone with different skills and passions.

In that way it doesn’t seem like nine years, it always seems to reinvent. I reinvent.

But the core stays the same – work with interesting people, doing interesting things…

That helps us better understand the role of science, and help us better think about the future.

Perfect. Here’s to the future.

And congratulations to Kristin, and Bridge8 co-director James Hutson for another busy and successful year at Bridge8.

[image thanks to Tim Wilson on flickr]

Day 214. Eight years

In March 2013 on March 14, 2013 at 11:11 am


On this day eight years ago I was 42 weeks pregnant, and finally resigned to the fact that I was about to undergo my second caesarian delivery.

A beautiful – and enormous! phew, dodged a bullet there – baby girl arrived at 5pm.

I recall many conversations my husband and I had with our obstetrician, a gentle and very experienced man aged about 60 years old. He knew I was a scientist, and so gave me plenty of good, factual information throughout the pregnancy. It was clinical care with data, if you will.

As we passed week 41 (most pregnancies are of about 40 weeks duration), we were still waiting for a natural labour to kick off but starting to feel a little stressed about the numbers. The graph showing fetal death rates plotted against weeks of gestation does a little jump up around 42 weeks. Eventually this, combined with the fact that I wanted to reacquaint myself with my toenails, lead us to surgery the following week and a fantastic outcome.

We were lucky to be able to weigh up risks and make an informed decision about when to have our baby. Natural delivery was the planned outcome; the plan was changed; healthy baby delivered.

But what if the numbers aren’t played to you straight?

A recent Guardian newspaper article by science engagement expert Alice Roberts shows how data about childbirth can be juggled according to political agendas. Referring to a Birthplace in England research project involving 65,000 women with births planned to take place at home, in midwife-led units and in hospital, Alice discussed the basic data, and then showed how different groups had presented the numbers.

Basic Data: 

  • For first-time mums, the risk of a poor birth outcome was higher in home births compared with hospitals (death or injury of the child occurred in about 9 per 1,000 births at home compared with about 5 per 1,000 births in hospital);
  • For women having 2nd or subsequent babies,  there was no difference in risk of a poor birth outcome in home births compared to hospital births.
  • For first-time mums, about four in 10 who had planned a home birth or birth in a midwife-led unit had to be transferred to hospital during labour;
  • For women having 2nd or subsequent babies, about one in 10 who had planned a home birth or birth in a midwife-led unit were transferred to hospital during labour.

Same data, presented by The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, in this order:

  • There is a relatively higher risk of poor outcomes for the baby in first-time mums giving birth at home;
  • There is a 45% transfer rate to hospital for home-birthing first-time mums and 12% transfer rate for subsequent pregnancies;
  • There is a lower intervention rates in home births.

Same data, presented by the National Childbirth Trust website, in this order:

  • Women having a home birth are more likely to have a “normal birth” without intervention;
  • Home births are safe for women having a second or subsequent baby;
  • Home birth increases the risk to the baby for first-time mums.

The obstetricians highlight the risk of home birth. The home birth supporters highlight the normal and safe aspects of home birth.

So what is the average pregnant woman to do? Who can she trust to tell her the right thing? I don’t know the answer to that. But I think a comment by Alice’s towards the end of her article is worth highlighting:

” We should be celebrating the success of our multidisciplinary teams – including midwives, obstetricians and neonatologists – which means this (safe delivery) is the outcome for the vast majority of mums and babies.”

Using the multidisciplinary approach to combine expertise and introduce flexibility in birth options is surely what we’re after.

[image thanks to lrargerich on flickr]

Day 185. Charles Darwin

In february 2013 on February 13, 2013 at 12:39 pm


Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!

On February 12th 1809, Charles Darwin was born in England to a wealthy and well-connected family.  He is most famous for his book  ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection‘, published in 1859 and released to a doubting public backed by a fearful Church. The theory is now accepted as orthodoxy.

In addition to his scientific ideas, Darwin also wrote on a variety of other topics, including a list of the pros and cons of marriage – represented above in an illustrated panel reproduced thanks to BrainPickings: The Evolution of the Father of Evolution, Illustrated.

I guess it would be too much to expect him to be advanced in all avenues of thought…

Day 104. Bugmania

In November 2012 on November 24, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Shopping for a dear friend’s 40th birthday present today, I popped into the beautiful emporium that is One Rundle Trading.

In one of the front rooms I discovered an amazing array of mounted insects and arachnids – yes, real ones. I wondered where on Earth such a shop would one source such bizarre and compelling items. A small note on the reverse of the frames revealed a name: Bits and Bugs.

The company website presented the following information:

As company policy, b&b™ does not trade in endangered, rare or otherwise protected wildlife. No specimen is listed on CITES. We source some of our supplies of common, abundant insect species from Government regulated ranching cooperatives in many countries, your purchase actually aids environmental conservation rather than detracting from it.

Furthermore, all of our frames are not made from real wood. Ethical concerns over deforestation in many third world countries has led us to pioneer the use of timber substitute framing. All frames have glass fronts with a hook ready to hang.

Fancy any of these on your dining room wall?