Alice shows us where to stand to see a rainbow

For April’s #SciCommChall, Alice (@scied_alice) shows us science in one picture! On her Instagram she writes:

“It‘s time for the April Science Communication Challenge! How do we need to stand to see a rainbow?
First, we need rain. You probably knew about that. Without rain there is no rainbow.

Secondly, we also need some sun. Because a rainbow just appears when the sun rays hit the raindrops and get diffracted. The diffraction depends on the wavelength of the light and since sunlight consists of all colors, it gets split into this beautiful spectrum.

So where do we have to stand to see a rainbow? We have to be right in the middle of sun and rain with the sun at our back. The sunlight travels to the rain (but not right into our eyes), hits the little drops of water and gets diffracted and reflected. The reflected light then hits our eyes and we see the light as a rainbow.

It‘s a beautiful message isn‘t it? Sometimes we have to turn our back to the sun to see the beautiful rainbow. Very poetic.”


March’s SciCommChall is brought to us by Alice! She writes:

You know what I love about being a Science Communicator and presenting my work? It’s a time and place I know where I can be my own enthusiastic self and show all my love for my research. I love to talk about the reasons for what I do. People pick up my enthusiasm and they connect to my reasons and all of a sudden they understand why I do what I do. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. once said, “It‘s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living.”

Thinking about what makes you so enthusiastic about your work is the first step towards personal branding.

Lots of people have prejudices against the concept of personal branding. We associate stars or companies with the concept and think that we, as scientists, employees or communicators, don’t need to think about our personal brand.

But really a personal brand is more a statement of who you are and what you bring to the table. Knowing your personal branding statement will help you stay committed and motivated. It’s something unique for yourself and therefore needs to be developed, maintained, and protected.

So the march SciCommChallenge is all about discovering your own personal brand. Try this exercise to find your personal branding statement:

  1. Write down three words you’d use to describe yourself. Take your time and be honest.
  2. Find someone you trust (your partner or a friend) and ask them to describe you in three words. Compare the lists and see what they have in common.
  3. List your core competencies. What are your unique skills and talents that are valuable to others? What accomplishments and experiences define you? Include awards, degrees, and promotions.
  4. List your goals. What do you want to accomplish this year, this decade?
  5. Write out your (core) values.
  6. Create your own personal branding statement. This is a two-sentence description of who you are and what you can contribute. Don’t rush it, composing this statement is not an easy thing to do. Once you’re satisfied, stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. It’s good affirmation.

Alice and her bag of science in January

Alice (check out her Insta at @scied_alice) and her #bagofscience

What‘s in your (science) bag? It’s the January #scicommchall
I must admit, my bag is not very science-y. I usually carry coffee and water around with me (stay hydrated friends!) as well as some tools for quick notes and feel-good goodies like hand cream.
Are there any science things in your bag that you carry around because they’re so handy?

Alice’s #LOLmythesis for July’s #scicommchall

Alice replied to this month’s #LOLmythesis scicommchall on her (brilliant!) Instagram by posting the picture above and the text below:
“This months #scicommchall is all about summarizing your work, project or thesis in one sentence. It’s all about trivializing the most important thing you’re doing right now. If you think it’s sad that I can sum up my thesis in one sentence and it sounds stupid then you’re probably right. But I do hope that you realize that there is so much more to it then just this one sentence. I like how this challenge lightened up my view of my thesis.
And by the way: teachers entering a professional development course on using IBL as a means to address diversity already have strong beliefs about the topic. This is why it’s so hard to change their beliefs. What a surprise.
#phdlife #phdjourney #LOLmythesis #scicomm#sciencecommunication #tuesdaythoughts #womeninstem #womeninscience #teacherbeliefs #scienceeducationresearch”

Alice shares how she’s always on the lookout for phenomena that excite her

For the #makingitallaboutmytopic challenge, Alice shares how she’s always on the lookout for phenomena that excite her:

“Every year during the last week of June, there‘s the Kiel Week. And on the sports field really close to my home, the balloons start and land and there’s a show five times during the week. Yesterday, I’ve been there for the first time and loved it!

But while watching the show, I noticed something I wanted to see all month: take a look at the sky behind the balloons! These noctilucent clouds are just beautiful. Funny enough they are not really clouds but ice crystals being highlighted by the setting sun in such an angle, that the sun has set a couple of hours before but is still shining on the ice crystals in the upper atmosphere of Earth. I was so excited about this phenomenon that I almost instantly had to talk to my friends who were there with me and just wanted to enjoy the show. I explained them how these clouds aren’t visible in daylight, as they are the highest and faintest of all clouds, located about 80km above the Earth.

I almost instantly had to think of this month’s #scicommchall. This is something I recently developed and that has not always been there. Looking out for phenomena that excite me and trying to explain them has especially come from my #experimentalfriday series and I enjoy this new look on the world a lot. I hope you do too.”

A giveaway that works well for scicomm? Alice’s popsicle stick wave is such a great idea!

Such a fun giveaway with tons of scicomm potential suggested by Alice for April’s scicommchall on her awesome Instagram @scied_alice — and she even included a “how to” on her blog! Doesn’t this make you want to start playing right away? (And also: follow Alice on Twitter @Alice_in_SciEd!)
Alice writes:
“Have you ever tried a popsicle stick wave? For every popsicle stick added to the chain, there is some elastic potential energy added. When the chain is released, all that elastic potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, resolving into a motion that resembles a wave. Just look at the slow motion video, where you can only see a small chain released and think of the chain reaction when a huge amount of sticks is connected!
And by the way – that is my #scicommchall giveaway! Obviously, I‘d also include a booklet with instructions on how to set up the wave and an explanation of the phenomenon. And off it would go – the perfect SciComm giveaway for my 200th post! Keep an eye open for that special occasion!”

A concept cartoon about teachers’ reasons not to implement Inquiry-Based Learning

Alice is sharing her contribution to March’s #scicommchall on her Instagram @scied_alice (which you should totally check out!). She writes:

“I‘m finally submitting my concept cartoon for this months #scicommchall – and it‘s about teachers‘ reasons NOT to implement Inquiry-Based Learning and addressing diversity. All of those reasons are hindering factors and are totally legitimate. They‘re not excuses but subjective perceptions of the situation in which teachers assess their opportunities for action. It‘s my job to find those factors influencing the teachers‘ beliefs and their self-efficacy and to convince policy makers and educators of the importance of addressing those factors.”