Every week I post a quick Q&A with one of our bloggers on the network, so you can get to know them better. This week, I chat with SciCurious from The Scicurious Brain.
Hello! Let's start with first things first. What is the name of your blog and why did you choose that name - what does it mean?
My blog is called "the Scicurious Brain". I call it that because...I’m Scicurious. And I like the brain. The blog is for me to share science with the public, and in that way, it’s a peek into a scientific brain, how scientists think and how they approach the latest scientific discoveries. Our methods are often very different from those that journalists or the general public use when approaches new scientific findings. I want to show people how scientists think about our work, and how they can do the same.
I actually deeply considered calling it "The Scicurious Mind" which I felt sounded better, but that implies the concept of mind/brain duality, which doesn’t exist. So "The Scicurious Brain" it is!
Where does the artwork for your banner come from, and what are you trying to convey with it?
The artwork for my banner comes from the National Cancer Institute Visuals Online. I picked it because it was pretty. :) When people think of scientists, they always think of people wearing lab coats and swirling colored liquids in glass vials. In fact, we spend relatively little time doing that (though there is SOME swirling of colored liquids, after which we practice our mad scientists laughter). What we REALLY spend our time doing is often much less picturesque. I hope to use the blog to show how different that is, and how it’s way more than colored liquids in vials. What people see that represents “science” is, in general, not what science actually is.
Tell us more about yourself - where are you from, how did you get into science?
Sci is a post-doc at a Very Impressive University, and I got my PhD from another Impressive University in the south. I’ve been interested in science for as long as I can remember (it started with dinosaurs when I was kid, like normal), and I’ve been taking extra science classes and playing with the world around us since about then. I ended up in neuroscience in particular and biomedicine in general because I both love science and have a deep seated desire to help humanity in a really tangible way.
You may have noticed by now that I write under a pseudonym. There are both personal and professional reasons for this. I find that people judge the quality of what I write much more objectively when they don’t have a young female face to connect it with. And right now my professional position is such that writing a blog publicly is probably not beneficial right now. Someday, though, we may find out who Sci really is.
How did you get into science blogging and science writing? What were the early influences on you regarding your blogging style and topics?
I got into science blogging and science writing because I walked into a coffee shop one day, and met this guy Bora. You might know him. I said I wanted to write. He told me to start a blog. 24 hours later, Scicurious was born, and WHOA it’s been a wild ride. I started without ever knowing what else was out there, but as soon as I got into the blogsphere, I discovered writers like Ed Yong, Mo of Neurophilosophy, Laelaps, Carl Zimmer, and Abel Pharmboy, aka David Kroll. I want to be like them when I grow up.
What is your blog about? Who is your target audience, and why do you think people should read your blog?
My blog is about SCIENCE!! Well...mostly neuroscience. I usually write about recent papers that I’m interested in, whether they be good, bad, or weird, and especially when they are popular with the mainstream media. I want to make sure that people know what the FACTS of the paper are, not just what’s stated in the press release, and what it really means to the scientific world (no, it probably won’t cure cancer, make you lose weight, or get rid of your zits). My target audience is anyone who’s really interested in science, regardless of how much training they have. Science is not some scary foreign thing, it’s interesting, accessible, and often both funny and odd. I try to bring those aspects of science to the public through my writing.
Anything else interesting about you, perhaps cool hobbies?
Sci is anything but cool. I’m massively nerdy. But in my free time ("free" time, there’s never really any of that, honestly), I’m a competitive distance runner, I dance, and every once in a while I sing in public. I love coffee. Also chocolate. And beer. But mostly coffee.