Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review: March 2017

Hi everyone! It's been a busy month. Here's a whirlwind tour of what I got up to, featuring Edinburgh trip, two documentaries I'm in, the Physoc AGM, workshop on the Bratislava Declaration, dates with Leon and his birthday, learning Ruby, Lablinn and the European Youth Summit. Oh, and (I forgot about this one and am editing the post to add it) attending college. 

Physoc Trip to Edinburgh

The last day of our trip fell on March 1st. We went out for a nice meal in a Scottish pub we liked and then flew back. 

Book Proposal

Also on the first (well, in the early hours of the 2nd), I submitted my book proposal about citizen science. 


On the 15th, I went to IADT to watch a preview screening of the Outbox documentary. It was really nice to see, and it felt awesome to be featured prominently. It was very weird seeing my name come up at the end in one of those typical documentary "Elle is now ...." with a picture of my TEDx talk because I'm used to that exact formatting being in documentaries about actual famous people. The Outbox documentary should hopefully be publicly available soon and I'll let you know when it is. 

I also featured in another documentary this month for three seconds at the end, the RTE documentary about Accenture and the Royal Irish Academy's Women on Walls initiative to put portraits of female scholars on the walls. I was not aware that there would be filming at the launch so I just ran there after my Chemistry lab because I'd been invited. Worked out grand though, so thanks to Eithne for the invite! 


I became obsessed with Ruby (programming language) this month and completed its Codecademy course on March 19th after a few weeks working through it. Since then I've done one small independent project that uses electronegativities to predict the nature of bonds (blog post on that soon) and am working on a bigger one that I'll post about when it's ready. I'm absolutely in love with the language and can't stop thinking about it. It's so exciting! When I finally got the electronegativity project working I genuinely smiled all day. Here's a post where I talked about some of the Codecademy work I did. 

Dates with Leon I: Hidden Figures

Leon and I went to see Hidden Figures early in the month. It was amazing -- space, wit, maths, empowerment and more. Other people cried at the cute family moment. I cried when it panned over space. I'd been feeling pretty discouraged about my course because of Electromagnetism, and this reaffirmed my desire to be a physicist and especially an astrophysicist.

Dates with Leon II: Real Bodies

We also visited the Real Bodies exhibition in the Ambassador Theatre on O' Connell Street. The exhibition features a bunch of real human bodies used as cadavers for medical students, cut open in different ways. I'd been before when I was around 10, but this was really intense -- seeing how accurate anatomical descriptions are, wonder at how impressive the work of anatomists through history has been, incredulity at the fact that these were real people with names and hopes and dreams (exhibition could've been improved by adding bios or even just names and birthplaces) and at how miraculous life is. One in particular really got me -- what looked like two bodies swinging out of each other, one muscle one skeletal, but was actually one body with the skeleton removed from one so it was someone's muscles and nerves and blood vessels dancing with their skeleton. 

Bratislava Declaration

I was invited to a workshop held by the Irish Research Council to implement the Bratislava Declaration of Young Researchers. It was pretty cool in that it wasn't a vanity event where they gathered a bunch of successful people to praise them; there were ~three representatives from each third-level institution in Ireland (Trinity had a professor, a postgrad and an undergrad (me) there, as far as I can tell) and we had an agenda that we just worked through. It was like "yeah many of you do cool things whatever now get to work".  

Some of the issues we worked on were improving pre-tertiary curricula (I advocated for more experimental design by students and more emphasis on BTYSTE/Scifest-style projects and my points got into our recommendations, which was cool), improving job security for post-docs and improving work-life balance for academics. Lots of improvement. 

The registration form was really funny because the closest option I could tick was "Pre-PhD student". 

But yeah, it was really cool getting to influence policy to some degree. 

Leon's Birthday

I brought Leon down to Dad's seaside caravan for a few days in the middle of the month to celebrate his birthday. We had a lovely time hanging out coding together and playing ukulele, visiting old church ruins and a graveyard (very morbid, I know -- actually not the most morbid thing in this post) and being lovey-dovey. 

Physoc AGM

Towards the end of the month, I went to the Physoc AGM as first year rep and ran for Secretary -- and got it! It was pretty great, and I'm looking forward to the job and working with the new committee. We then watched an entertaining talk by Prof Hutzler about the interaction between science and art. Near the end of the month, the outgoing committee went out for dinner together. I'll miss the fourth years -- they're pretty cool.


Did some things for Lablinn, including Skype calls with people who work in DIY Biolabs in Belgium (very helpful) and starting work on the website lablinn.com. Lots to do with that obviously, but priority is to make a more detailed operating plan and to contact FabLabs. 

European Youth Summit Budapest 2017. 

Spent the last three days of March and the first two of April at the European Youth Summit in Budapest that I helped organise, spoke at and otherwise participated in. It was pretty cool and man Budapest is beautiful. It was really cool learning how to organise a conference and getting practise at speaking at the drop of a hat and fixing problems when they arose and more. It was really cool getting to meet people from so many different places including Slovenia, Czechia, Slovakia, Iran, India, Denmark, Hungary, Italy and more and get to know them. We cruised down the Danube, visited Buda Castle, toured the Central European University and lots more, as well as doing work on an EU charter and attending lectures and project workshops. Dedicated post about that to come once more photos come out. It was fun being Team Ireland. 

Photo credit: Lukas Frankl (top), Unknown (bottom)

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