Improving public understanding of science isn't only vital for society to be able to judge the value of research, it’s also really good fun! I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of communicating complex ideas to non-scientific audiences, especially when it involves getting to exercise my visual skills. I'm always on the look-out for opportunities to get involved in science communication, and have developed my expertise by taking part in a variety of activities, including:
RESEARCH FOR DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKING
As part of my doctoral training programme, I completed three months of internships as a researcher on a number of BBC science television documentaries. I worked mainly on the Inside the Animal Mind series, but also made contributions to The Girl Who Talked to Dolphins, Dissected, The Magic of Mushrooms, and Nature's Boldest Thieves. As well as providing critically synthesised research, I also fact checked scripts and proposals, secured contributions from scientists, and sourced archive footage.
I find the process of creating entertaining ideas for audience participation almost as much fun as seeing the responses of participants! For the Glasgow Science Festival, I was part of a team that demonstrated how stress-related changes to body surface temperature can be detected using thermal imaging. Naturally, this involved making volunteers count down backwards from 1,022 in steps of 13 while being filmed with a thermal camera..!
GRAPHIC DESIGN FOR SCIENCE
Having direct experience of scientific research makes me a rarity among designers. My familiarity with science means I'm especially proficient at meeting the needs of clients wanting to communicate science-related messages to broad audiences. Most recently, I demonstrated this with some very well received promotional work for the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment, which can be viewed on the Graphic Design page.
HUNTERIAN MUSEUM EXHIBITION
Along with one of my PhD supervisors, Dominic McCafferty, I created a 'Science Showcase' exhibit at the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow. The display detailed how thermal imaging technology has been used in ornithology from the 1960s to the present day, and featured thermal images and innovative research carried out by the Thermal Ecology Group – a network of University of Glasgow researchers and international collaborators investigating the ecophysiology of temperature regulation in animals, and applications of body temperature measurement to ecological, behavioural and animal welfare issues.