Sunday, 17 May 2015

Chemists without Borders

In February of last year whilst reading my current issue of  Chemistry World magazine, I can across an article which greatly captured my interest. I don't recall what the article was actually about but it mentioned an organisation called Chemists Without Borders. I was very heartened to read about this especially its founder's (Bego Gerber) reasoning for setting up such an organisation because I have always felt this way.Perhaps most chemists do? I have always been proud to be a chemist as it is the science which lies at the heart of solving many of the worlds problems. Poverty, world hunger, clean water for the developing world, life saving drugs. As soon as I was on my computer thereafter, I immediately looked up CWB and became a member. They have twice monthly conference calls and I have taken part in those when I can though sadly no so many as yet. If you are interested in joining/volunteering or just want to know more about them please visit their website:

They have 4 main themes but seem to focus on trying to clean up the water in Bangladesh by finding ways to remove the deadly arsenic from it. They also have a Facebook page.

After a conference call in February of this year I was lucky enough to be made a team member online which allows me to be more involved although I haven't uploaded anything yet. I do keep visiting this webspace though to keep up to date.
One theme is AIDS in Africa and for a couple of months I have been in contact with a CWB board member who has her own non-profit organisation AIDSfreeAFRICA which does alot of wonderful things especially in Cameroon. In fact she is there now as I write this. I am posting relevant things for them on their Facebook Page and also Twitter. Here is a link to our Facebook page

As those who know me can testify, HIV is a subject I am passionate about, or rather seeing effective treatments and in future a cure for this beast.

I want to finish this post with a new CWB video which its co-founder Bego Berger has just made in conjunction with the American Chemical Society. I love it and find it inspirational and very powerful. I hope you enjoy it too and watch it as many times as I have. 

You can let me know what you think of any of this in the comments below if you like. I would loveit if you do.
Thanks for reading

Warm wishes,


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Ye olde Periodic Table

I love this so thought I'd share it :)

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

My 2014 in review

First of all I must wish you all a happy new year! Its been awhile but I really wanted to review 2014 even if this year is already 3 weeks old. As I attended many events, it will be more of a list so I will number them.
1) A VIP event at MOSI. A talk about Climate Change by none other than the UK's Chief Scientific Advisor  Sir Mark Walport. He kicked off his tour here.
2) General RSC update meeting in Crowne Plaza hotel on 13.2.14. Always nice to meet up with like minded individuals.
3) Famelab at MOSI. This is my first one and its a great night out. Nice to see the MOSI staff and as it was valentines day there were heartshaped coasters on the tables.
4) Early March saw my first TEDxManchester at Manchester Academy. It was my partner's first TED event and he enjoyed it. Quaint tables they had. Here is alink so you can watch it for yourself.

5) An event which means alot to me because this organisation does. I went to LA Burbank fundraiser for the weekend beginning March 28th as a proud member of The Rutger Hauer Starfish Team.

6) End of April trip to Bletchley Park. I was very impressed by this place and we have a yearly pass so we have until April to go back. Alot of the park was closed for refurbishment or was new and yet to be opened. A wet but fab weekend and I would recommend this to anyone. I am so glad this place is still open.
7) Chester Half Marathon. We had an overnight stay in a guesthouse close to the venue. I can now say I have ran around a racecourse :) 18th May
8)  Tuesday 20th May saw me attending a talk at a local vegetarian resaturant, Solomon Grundy cafe.This was my first PINT OF SCIENCE event which they themselves had alerted me to on Twitter. This was a talk with several speaker's talking about Graphene.
9) Another VIP event at MOSI, on June 6th. This was an LHC installation including a chat with particle physicists from CERN. It was incredible, just like being there. I had a good time and ejoyed meeting and chatiing to people. There was an intro film with a cameo by Manchester's very own Prof Brian Cox.
10) Personal: Mid july and I began a course of beta blockers for migraines which I'm happy to say are working.
11) Early August 7 nights in Amsterdam. This trip was a blast as it included visits to many surrounding places, such as Den Haag, Madurodam, Leiden, Utrecht and Muiderslot castle. Whilst here on thursday afternoon, I had my first conference call in my room with Chemists Without Borders.Enjoyable though shorter than I expected. Less nerve wracking because it turned out not to include video.
12) On August 13th I was back at MOSI to see 'An audience with Jeff Forshaw' a sciencist I admire. He was as manic and passionate as ever and that is always a wonderful thing to see in a person. I did buy his book but didn't get it signed.The queue was too long and it was getting late.
13) Back at MOSI once again to see that monkey Robin Ince 'in and out of his mind' Got there early so had the pleasure of sitting and watching him setting up. His technical problems also provided entertainment.
14) End of October saw me once again in my role as STEM Ambassador at Manchester Science Festival. I did 5 sessions and enjoyed meeting some more great people. It was nice to meet the new coordinator Nichola Jacques. I hope to see her again next year. We were invited to the finale as a way of saying thank you. It was a very funny night called Comedy in Space which was largely about women in science and 2 free glasses of lovely wine. Hosted by Chella Quint.
15) Last friday in October and I went to the Didsbury Beer Festival. A nice night, only a few beers for me.
16) TEDxSalford at The Lowry. October 5th. My partner came along this time too. All speakers were fab as they always are but there were 2 in particular whom I wanted to see and I wasn't disappointed. They were both called Jack.

17) October 16th. This was biology week and our first time in The Font pub, Fallowfield for a discussion about Astrobiology. The list of draught real beers and the bottled stuff from around the world is impressive. We had food, burgers and chips. This was great too. It was a cosy chat as we were the only people to turn up apart from the organisers. It was their first time at this. I got to hold a 4.6 billion year old meteorite. 'Probably the oldest thing I will hold in my lifetime'
18)Sept-October I read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks which I bought from Waterstones in Altringham. All about STEM cells and cell lines, a truly fascinating story.
19) December Sci-Bar by one of its co-founders Dave Price all about science communication. It was interactive fun which included the worlds second largest whoopi cushion.
20) First xmas dinner not at home. The Red Lion, just around the corner from home. A great choice.
21) 27th-29th Dec at Hebden Bridge. I was curious having heard so much about this pretty looking place. It was nice, plenty of good pubs and eating places. Staying in the Juliet Suite at the 4 star Crown Inn was a superb choice. I'm sure there are more things to do in summer, however, it will be packed.
22) Finally, back at The Red Lion for NYE. Tickets were only £5 each and there was a disco. Intrigued by the windows being covered up with black bin liner's.

If I suddenly realise I have missed something out. I'll be back to make additions.

Phew! Wishing you all a healthy, happy 2015

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Interesting version of the iodine clock reaction

I love this version, including showing that it can be reversed. Nice musical accompaniment too!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Manchester Science Festival Finale: Comedy in Space

Well as always it was all over far too fast! Taking place down stairs in the MOSI main building was the finale, Comedy in Space hosted by Chella Quint. This was stand up comedy by women :) The volunteers were invited as a thank you for all of our hard work. We had drinks vouchers so I had 2 glasses of red wine. It was great to see some familar faces again and I got a hug when I arrived from a fellow volunteer which was nice. She loved my skull dress and scarf. On each of our chairs was a bag of flyimg saucers, a quiz (name that galaxy) and a piece of paper with a question on. They alternated between 2 questions and the one I got was if alien life visited us on earth which tv alien would you most like then to be like? I said Mork. We had to hand the quiz and the question in at the start. It seems that most people thought like me which is sweet to know.
 Chella was in a space onesie for the first half then changed into a black and white dress. We had space poetry by this women in red. One was a tribute to the festival volunteers.We loved that! There was also Jen Gupta who I have seen before talking comedically about her ridiculously long title and her job.
 We also had a lady doing abit of role play firstly quoting funny quotes about space and then she turned into a drill sargeant. Lastly was Helen Keen talking about well known women of space from the past. This included showing photo's and asking us if we thought they were criminals or role models.

   There was also room to give Pluto the stage and also Uranus which yes did include any innuendo, you can think of!

This was such a great night, what a way to end the festival!
All that remains is the credits

       So long, I hope to do it again next year if you'l have me

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Call of the Wild

Today, Saturday 1.11.14 is my last day as a volunteer this year. I enjoyed it very much but felt abit sad as I can't believe it is over already! I was at MOSI for the day from 9am to 4.30pm doing a workshop 'Call of The wild' with renowned wildlife sounds recordist Geoff Sample. My first festival event last week was a conversation with him and Marcus Coates. Always nice to get up close and personal and chat with the researchers and Geoff is such an amiable chap.

 This event started at 11am after a few technical hitches. I was to work with another volunteer on this all day whose name escapes me. He is a biomedical student.Not doing too well with names this year but hopefully I will find them out tomorrow night :) He is lovely anyway. We greeted the visitors and I had a list of names so I could tick them off. This is a popular event and after seeing it I can telly why.Such a pity that on both occasions there were empty seats even though it had been fully booked.
Geoff started off by setting the scene by giving us sounds of various location types and asking us what they were. They included the seaside, a forest and a waterfall. Next he played us various animal sounds and we had to guess what they were. They started off easy e.g cuckoo, crickets then proceeded to become a bit tricky and then became hard. I managed to get some photos when he revealed the answers and there are some creatures I'd never even heard of which I plan to look up, such as the Mole cricket and a bird called the Nightjar. So thanks Geoff for teaching me a few things about the animal kingdom. Anyway here are some photo's.
Please click on the photo's to embiggen.

The final part of this event required volunteers from the audience and the kids were more than happy to oblige. Some adults too! They made noises or said words into a microphone which Geoff then edited and altered the speed of using some software. This aspect does take some time.  It was fun how he changed peoples voices or words to sound like an animals. He explained that this can be done at home as there is free software and all you need is a microphone. This is a long but lovely event which takes time but after lunch it was repeated again. My colleague actually volunteered to have his voice recorded. We helped Geoff pack his things into his car afterwards and it was a nice chance to talk to him. He told us he was about to start writing a new book, so if you're interested, that is definitely something to look out for! So the science festival is all over already. Of course tomorrow is the last day and there is still plenty to see at venues all over Manchester.

I am really looking forward to the evening event Comedy In Space with Chella Quint. This is also a thank you party for we volunteers. We are promised drinks vouchers and all the flying saucers we can eat! I am of course looking forward to meeting up with fellow volunteers again and having a good chat and a few laughs. If you are there, say hello! I also look forward to volunteering again next year. If they will have me.

I am grateful for any feedback and comments. Thanks for reading and don't be a stranger xxx