Tuesday, January 9, 2018

5 science communication instagram accounts to follow in 2018

Follow me on instagram for more science outreach posts in 2018
One of my New Year's goals is to do more science communication on social media and here on my website. I am off to a good start with the Swimming Bacteria Knit Hat post that explains bacterial swimming that I published last weekend.

As part of my motivation, I took to Instagram and searched through #scicomm posts to find new accounts to follow. Here are a few that stuck out to me. If you have an Instagram account where you share science outreach posts or if you follow any awesome science communicators, please leave the information in a comment below! I'd love to feature more in the future.

Here are a few science communicators to follow on Instagram:

1) Sunburnedscientist - I love the conversational style and questions posed by @thesunburtscientist. Follow this UC Santa Barbara PhD student for some provocative questions and insights into everyday scientific experiments.

Electricity is weird. Can you define it? If I were to try, I’d say it’s the result of a special kind of force that both originates from & acts upon a charged object. • I bring this up because it’s (1) just fun to think about something so abstract yet actually physical and (2) it’s a totally appropriate topic for this image of an electrocuvette. • • • When electric charges move, they form what is called a current. Think: electrons. Why would they move? Well, in my definition of electricity, there’s some force acting on them. Indeed, electricity is the attractive or repulsive effect of a charge on a neighboring charge. But electricity cannot propagate through a vacuum (which here means a space devoid of atoms). Electricity needs a conduit. You know all those warnings on your hair drier, telling you to keep it out of water? Turns out all the dissolved ions found in water (=salt) can conduct charge quite well. That’s because the ions are also charged, meaning they have lonely electrons which are free to move about. The push or pull of an electric field moves these electrons through the material their parent atom is found in... resulting in propagation of the electric field. Thus, electricity is the movement of electrons through a medium of charged atoms. • • Water isn’t the best electrical conduit, though. The best material for conducting an electric current is actually metal. EVERY atom that forms a conducting metal has electrons that can move about, meaning that the entire object is dense with “conductable” material (in contrast the variable number of salt ions in liquid water). Indeed, electricity can be propagated near the speed of light in metal lattices. • • • By now you might have noticed that the cuvette shown above appears optimized for conducting electric currents (you’d be correct). To use this thing, the cuvette chamber is filled with bacteria and an electric field is applied, which opens up the cell membranes and also creates an ionic driving force (the electric field). If we add DNA to the culture prior to applying the current, we can force the cells to uptake that new DNA. Pretty cool, right? 🤙 #Physics + #Biology 😁
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2) Mouse_kween - She only has two posts so far, but I hope to see more from her in the future. She promises to deliver science communication that millenials can relate to.

A post shared by Mouse Kween 🐭👑 (@mouse_kween) on

3) travelingcassin - stories from nature, traveling, research, and life (full disclaimer, Loren is a close friend and my first featured "Scientist in stitches"). I love Loren's nature pictures and accompanying explanations to the underlying science.

4) Katcholamine - Kat has been designing these awesome science "stickers" and animations. If you are a scientist, you will love Kat's interpretation of lab wins and fails. (Full disclosure: Kat is also a friend of mine! I made her this poop hat to celebrate her thesis as one of my #knityourPhD projects.

5) Craftimism! Yup, that's me! I could not resist some shameless self-promotion and as I am gearing up for even more science outreach as well as knitting and craftivism in the new year, you should most definitely follow me on Instagram!
After pic of one of my bacterial growth curve experiments (swipe left to see the before and a side-by-side shot). . I put a small amount of bacteria into some clear media (media = food for bacteria, see second photo). There are so few, you can't even see them and the media is very clear. As the bacteria grow and divide, the media starts to get cloudy (seen in first photo). This cloudiness can be measured with a machine that measures how much light can make it through the solution. For a clear solution, almost all light can go through, but in one with a lot of bacteria, much of the light will be blocked, resulting in a higher density measurement. By taking measurements periodically while the bacteria grow, I can tell how well my bacteria are growing! Fun, right! Look/listen to yesterday's post to see/hear the plate readers in action! ... Each well in this plate has a different bacterial mutant, so I can compare the growth of each mutant to find ones that look different, and then I can look at the mutation to see why they might grow differently. Plus, I am measuring 8 plates at a time to see growth in different media and with dyes to see cell death and energetics. Fun! I'm excited to process the data next week! #scienceoutreach #womeninscience #womeninstem #steminist #scicomm #microbiology #heidithebiologist #biologist #microbiologist #growthcurves #lifeofapostdoc #postdoclife #bacteria #experimenting #experiment #biologist #sciencecommunication #talknerdytome
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