Brains@MOSI – the Museum of Science and Industry – Blogger event!

A few weeks ago I discovered that the Manchester Science Festival (MSF) was looking for bloggers. Having recently started this blog (after many years of ‘nearly’ starting one) I decided this would be a good opportunity ! After a hard day of thesis writing on Tuesday 24th September, myself and fellow sci-commer Jo Keogh put down our work and walked down to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, UK.

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Upon arrival we were presented with a glass of (very nice) wine (never a bad way to begin). A couple of sips later, we got chatting to Marieke, the Science Festival director. Having had a look through the fantastic Science Festival line-up this year, I had a list of events I would be wanting to attend and blog about! Following this we were about to be presented with a very special and unique blogger event…

Brains at MOSI is a fascinating exhibition currently on display at the museum. The exhibition, part of the Wellcome Collection has been open since 26th July and will remain open to all (for free!) until the 4th January. As part of the blogging evening the MSF had put on for me and my fellow science and/or art bloggers, we were to get an extra special, after hours, personalised tour from the exhibition curator, Marius Kwint. The exhibition really is fascinating. It displays a range of specimens, art, photographs and various other pieces representing the brian.  The exhibition has relocated from London and developed a local spin, with many pieces sourced straight out of the University of Manchester, demonstrating Manchester’s history of neuroscience.

For me the event was not what I had expected, as a biologist I am used to thinking of the brain in a very particular, anatomical way. Seeing the specimens of brains knocking around took me back to my days in my American anatomy class, poking human brains trying very hard to remember all the nerves, however, with the help of Marius, I started to think about things a little differently. The exhibit really does make you think about the brain past the thing that makes us think. It covers not what our brains can do for us, but more what we can do to/with our brains.

Being toured with artists and non-academic scientists really helped me appreciate the exhibit past my blinkered sciencey view, opening my eyes and imagination, making me think about something in a new way that i’m used to seeing in a particular way. All in all the evening was very enjoyable, and I am now very much looking forward to feeding back my thoughts on events taking place over the week of 24th October to 3rd November. If you haven’t done already, be sure to check out the MSF line up, its as stong as ever, offering something for all.


To blog or not to blog…

Way back in 2011, at a Society for General Microbiology conference I attended a session on social media in science. The speakers had a tough audience, I think its not unfair to suggest many academics don’t particularly like the idea of twitter or blogging, but it was their job to convince them.

I was immediately hooked on the idea, having always been a fan of talking about science to anybody who will listen, and a big tech fan, I decided I would (partially) embrace the idea. I asked a question in the Q&A about why bother if you don’t have any followers? and was told you only get followers by trying…

So I went away and set up my ‘professional’ twitter account (@microbioeduguy). As promised, I started to get followers, and now have what I would describe as a nice number, I am very happy I decided to take the plunge and start tweeting about science, education and science communication (along with a little other random stuff!). 

At the time I also set up a blog, with the great idea to start writing about the stuff I found fascinating, talking about science and education in more than 160 characters. However, for some reason, the blog never made it past my ‘to-do’ list. That is, until now…

Now I am nearing the end of my PhD (in science education and science communication) and have a little more experience with sci comm and an even greater/broader love for science and science education, I think its time!

So I plan this to be the first of many (hopefully interesting) blog posts on various topics (mostly science that fascinates me and things that annoy me), and no doubt will soon become a firm believer in the blog just as I did with Twitter.