March arrives and it’s time for the annual Natural History Museum (NHM) Student Conference! I am on the student committee and so help with the organisation. There’s a lot to do organising a conference but we learnt from last year and with new members on the team it seemed a lot less stressful this year! Despite the stress and extra work being part of a committee and helping organising a conference is a great opportunity to learn useful skills and make contacts, so I highly recommend getting involved with one if you can.
Talks are compulsory for 3rd year PhD students like me so although I had spoken at the two previous years’ conferences (I need the practice :\ ) I was yet again up on stage. It was quite fun actually as last year I talked about developing my citizen science project Earthworm Watch which was just about to launch, now it has been running a year so I was able to give the first results from the project.
I haven’t written anything for a while, but I have a good excuse. I participated in FameLab, both British and Polish editions.
FameLab is an international competition for scientists, who want to communicate research effectively. The idea is simple: we have 3 minutes to talk about our favourite scientific concept. The stage is ours for 180 seconds, after which we are judged on the content, clarity and charisma.
The ‘3C’ rules are pretty self-explanatory.
- The topic must be interesting for the audience and possible to convey in three minutes. One of the most common mistakes the contestants make is trying to explain all we know about microbiology during one short speech – not possible.
Science Uncovered is part of European Researchers’ Night, and is a free annual festival of science held at various institutions across the UK giving the public the opportunity to discover rare items from the Museum collections, meet experts and take part in interactive science stations, debates and behind-the-scenes tours.
On Sunday I presented my new citizen science project Earthworm Watch at two Nature Live events at the Natural History Museum.
Every year the Natural History Museum Student Association organises a conference held for Museum-based students to present their research. This year I am on the Student Association Committee so was involved in helping with the conference, and also presented a poster and a talk.
Organising a conference is hard work! There are sponsors to find, speakers to invite, programmes to produce, catering to arrange, and things you might not even consider such as booking porters for the tables and ensuring Museum security procedures are kept to. Organisation began before Christmas but the last few weeks leading up to the event were the busiest, and thankfully it all went well.
Thankfully I managed to avoid being dragged to see the Oxford Street Christmas lights this year but as my Christmas-loving boyfriend was visiting it would be rude to not show him any and he was happy with seeing some of the Regent Street lights during a day out in London.
Regent Street Christmas lights
As I described in an earlier blog post, work last week consisted of mostly Christmas parties! Starting off with the the Natural History Museum Student Association Christmas Party and moving on to the Soil Biodiversity Group Christmas gathering where my supervisor Paul Eggleton tried on my Christmas hat!
This week the Wildlife Gardening Forum held its conference ‘Soil Biodiversity in the Garden’ at the Natural History Museum in London. Being a keen gardener and researching soil biodiversity I had to go along.
Steve Head opens the Wildlife Gardening Forum conference
The Wildlife Gardening Forum is a group of organisations and people who are passionate about wildlife in gardens and seek to help people value and enjoy wildlife in their gardens. While there has been quite a lot of interest in gardens as habitats for birds, mammals and pollinating insects, few consider the life below ground so this conference was a great way to raise the profile of soil organisms and discuss ideas.
I took a day off from studying to visit the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill, South East London. The museum has been on my ‘places to visit list’ for sometime, and I was particularly looking forward to meeting its famous walrus specimen, which even has its own Twitter account.
The exterior of the Horniman Museum
Since rain was forecast we decided to look around the grounds of the museum before heading inside. The building is in the arts and style and was founded in 1901 by Frederick John Horniman. The wall features a mosaic called Humanity in the House of Circumstance.
Bandstand with London skyline
The museum has extensive gardens which include a bandstand overlooking the London skyline and some farm animals.