Category Archives: #SciCommChall

My “GEO-Tag der Natur” elevator pitch

Yesterday on #scicommchall, I shared my elevator pitch.

Still not inside an elevator, but now that I have my elevator pitch down to short and sweet (it’s really only 30 seconds if you don’t watch the contact stuff in the end), maybe I will be able to manage to film it without being interrupted like I was the previous dozen attempts

What do you think? Does it make you want to learn more about GEO-Tag der Natur?

An attempt at an elevator pitch

I’ve been coming up with #scicommchall challenges for well over a year now, and I have always met them. Except for last November, when the challenge was to do an elevator pitch and post a movie of it. Since this is something I really want to do, I decided to force myself to it and repeat the challenge this January. And man, was this hard! For a lot of reasons: I don’t think what I am saying captures the essence of what my job is about, I hate seeing myself on video, I hate listening to my own voice even more, and wow is it difficult to get some alone time in the elevator at work! I’m really not satisfied with the result just yet. But I am sharing to maybe inspire others to join me in my efforts. Will you join me? :-)

So here are two versions, first one with English subtitles.

And then here a non-subtitled one that includes a couple of takeouts (because those are always my favorite part of every movie ;-))

But I am not done here, and my #scicommchall to myself remains: to write a better script, to film it in an elevator, and to upload it on the internet! :-) How is this #scicommchall working for you? Show me your elevator pitches!

My nine most successful Instagram pictures of 2018 #2018bestnine

Interesting year-in-review: despite amazing photo opportunities in Cyprus and Norway and other beautiful places, the Kiel fjord is clearly dominating my most successful Instagram posts of 2018 (only two are not from the Kiel fjord, one is from the Kiel Canal and another one from the Eckernförde bight, so still very close to home…). But I guess it shows the “Kiel” in my Instagram handle @fascinocean_kiel wasn’t an accident ;-)

Using social media in science communication — the Kiel Science Outreach Campus shows how it’s done

One of the 2018 achievements that I feel most proud of is developing a social media strategy for the science communication research project Kiel Science Outreach Campus, and implementing it together with the project’s 11 PhD students plus a couple more colleagues who we “entrained” along the way. And now an article we wrote about the whole social media has just been published! (pdf of the article and a link to the full issue No 4 of the IPN Journal). Check it out, as well as our Twitter @KiSOC_Kiel and Instagram @KiSOC_Kiel — both lead to the project’s central social media, which in turn often link to our individual scicomm social media profiles.

Click image to reach pdf of article

A big Thank You to Sonja Taut for the super nice graphic design and print setting!

Cool podcast about oceanography! Also useful if you were looking to improve your German! ;-)

Just in case you have not listened to Ronja and Maxie’s podcast Treibholz yet, you definitely should! Ronja and Maxie are learning about oceanography and taking everyone along with them. Educational and entertaining to listen to!

And then I also got to be part of it last year, which was great fun! Check out the episodes that include interviews with me:

  • In the first one (actually their episode 15), we talk about what made me want to study oceanography, what drives the gulf stream, the importance of eddies in the ocean, and a lot more.
  • In the second one, we talk about my favourite topic: Double-diffusive mixing!

And then there are three advent specials, each approximately 10 minutes long, talking about being at sea on research cruises (1. Advent on why it’s awesome to be at sea, 2. Advent on what is being measured on oceanographic cruises, 3. Advent on what it’s like at sea).

And now I am eagerly awaiting the new and exciting stuff that will happen on Treibholz in 2019, looking forward to listening to more oceanography with Maxie and Ronja!

Dipping my toes into podcasting: “Treibholz” with Maxie and Ronja!

Last month I got the super exciting opportunity to participate in a podcast! Maxie and Ronja are running the oceanography podcast Treibholz (“driftwood”) and I got to be in it! Very exciting for someone who tends to speak extremely fast and prefers writing over public speaking. But I had a great experience, Maxie and Ronja and their producer Freerk made me feel super welcome and at ease, and chatting to them was so much fun!

Treibholz producer Freerk, Maxie, myself, and Ronja

Since Ronja and Maxie had tons of questions, and I don’t stop talking once I’ve started, we ended up with two full episodes as well as some “advent specials”.

In the first episode, we talk about what made me want to study oceanography, what drives the gulf stream, the importance of eddies in the ocean, and a lot more. Listen to it here (in German).

In the second episode, we talk about my favourite topic: Double-diffusive mixing! This episode isn’t online yet, but I will let you know once it is!

And then there are the advent specials, each approximately 10 minutes long, talking about being at sea on research cruises (1. Advent on why it’s awesome to be at sea, 2. Advent on what is being measured on oceanographic cruises, 3. Advent on what it’s like at sea). I’m not actually sure what else I talked about, but there is probably a fourth one coming!

Cute gift I got from Maxie and Ronja, featuring their cool postcard

Maxie and Ronja were such amazing hosts, not only being super well prepared for the interview in terms of what questions they had, but making sure there were food and drinks available and giving me a cute gift: a bag decorated with their new merchandise! They have these super cool postcards, asking “Do you like the sea?”. Well yes, I do! :-)

This week I am taking over @IAmScicomm!

You might think that I’d be busy enough with my visiting fellowship at the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen this month, and you would be right.

However, I’ve always* wanted to take over one of the rotating Twitter accounts (You know? Those accounts that tweet about certain topics, but are being run by a different person every week. People follow it for the topic and get to see a new person’s view on things every week. A very cool thing when you want to be exposed to a lot more people than you usually are and that are all interested in that topic!). And when I signed up for it in spring, October still seemed so far away that it seemed to be a good idea to do it then.

So this week, I am curating @IAmScicomm! Which I am super excited about, although it is also kinda scary. 18.6k followers is a little different from my usual couple of hundred… Anyway, this is what I am proposing to talk about:

Come join the discussion! :-)

Last week I already did a similar thing already for @geoscitweeps.”Only” 4.6k followers were slightly less scary, and I had the super cool surface drifters to tweet about. @geoscitweeps is another really interesting account you should be following!

*Yes, ALWAYS. It was actually pretty much on top of my list when I started my private #scicommcall, only at that time there were no vacant weeks available that suited my schedule, so I put it off. But now here we are!

A #scicommbookforkids for #scicommchall

I hope by now you have heard about my pet project of the moment: #scicommchall! For #scicommchall, I give myself (and quite a few other people by now) monthly challenges related to trying out new science communication formats. And this month, we are doing science communication books for kids! (For more instructions, see #scicommchall’s post. And everybody is welcome to join!).

My book deals with learning to observe where the wind is coming from (English version at the end of this post, too).

I think it turned out quite nicely!

I did struggle a little with the very short format — only six pages inside the book, plus a cover — but quite liked the challenge of having to come to the point.

The flag on the cover, in case you were wondering, is that of my hometown Hamburg.

I hope this book is actually useful and fun for kids (I did include some kids’ humor, or at least I tried ;-))

And I know what I would include if I wasn’t too lazy to re-draw the images: A question about on which side of some kind of structure one would sit down if one wanted shelter from the wind. Bummer I forgot to include that!

Anyway, here is the download (German & English). Please let me know what you think, I’d love to get some feedback!

Click to download

Interview on #scicommchall! (in german)

I recently gave an interview on my current pet project, #scicommchall. The interview was done by Anne Weißschädel, and published on THE German website on science communication research and practice, Quite an honor!

I’m reprinting it here with permission:

Frau Gleßmer, für die #SciCommChall stellen Sie jeden Monat eine neue Herausforderung an Forschende, die ihre Wissenschaft kommunizieren möchten. Was ist Ihr Ziel für das Projekt?

Heutzutage müssen beinahe alle Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler in irgendeiner Form Wissenschaftskommunikation machen. Viele müssen daran aber erst herangeführt werden und es ist ihnen gar nicht bewusst, dass sie nicht von vorneherein auf ein bestimmtes Format oder eine bestimmte Zielgruppe festgelegt sind. Die #SciCommChall gibt einen niedrigschwelligen und spielerischen Impuls, jeden Monat ein neues Format auszuprobieren: Mein Forschungsthema in einem Bild oder meine Forschung in den 1.000 meist genutzten Wörtern. So kann man einerseits ein Format ausprobieren, auf das man vielleicht selbst nicht gekommen wäre und andererseits sehen, wie andere das Format interpretieren. Ich möchte damit spielerisch zum Austausch und Austesten anregen.

Wie sind Sie auf die Idee gekommen?

Ich habe als Ozeanografin schon früher Wissenschaftskommunikation gemacht. Dabei habe ich gemerkt, dass es Spaß macht, ab und zu mal ein neues Format auszuprobieren. Mit einem vollen Terminkalender macht man das aber nicht einfach so, ohne Anlass oder Deadline. Also habe ich mir selbst am Anfang jedes Monats ein Ziel gesetzt – zum Beispiel ein Gedicht über meine Forschung zu schreiben. Nach und nach wurden dann Freundinnen und Freunde und auch das Kollegium darauf aufmerksam und wollten mitmachen. Außerdem habe ich die Promovierenden am Kiel Science Outreach Campus (KiSOC) motiviert, sich zu beteiligen. So wächst das Netzwerk langsam. Wir freuen uns über jede und jeden, die mitmachen möchte: Einfach unseren Blog besuchen, eine E-Mail schicken oder @scicommchall auf Twitter oder Facebook folgen!

Wer macht mit und wie viele?

Das ist schwierig zu sagen, das Format ist ja noch neu und im Wachstum. Ich kriege nur mit, wenn Leute tatsächlich Produkte einreichen oder Feedback geben. Ich nehme an, dass es zusätzlich einige gibt, die sich einfach inspirieren lassen und dann vielleicht doch nichts einreichen. Unter den Einreichenden sind auch jeden Monat andere Leute. Zuerst habe ich mich stark darauf fokussiert, unsere Promovierenden zu motivieren und das Projekt dann nach und nach geöffnet.

Warum finden Sie es wichtig, dass die Promovierenden ihre Forschung kommunizieren?

Wissenschaftskommunikation ist ein Thema, das uns im KiSOC speziell am Herzen liegt. Nicht nur, weil es unser eigener Forschungsgegenstand ist, sondern auch, weil wir die Praxis verbessern und gerne mit gutem Beispiel vorangehen möchten. Pro Wissenschaftskommunikation gelten natürlich die typischen Argumente, etwa, dass wir mit öffentlichen Mitteln finanziert werden und dass gesellschaftliche Unterstützung und Teilhabe an der Forschung wünschenswert sind. Außerdem glaube ich, dass es auch der Forschung zu Gute kommt, wenn die Leute schon während der Promotion Wissenschaftskommunikation machen. Da bekommt man einen ganz anderen Blick auf das Feld. Abgesehen davon, dass es natürlich auch motiviert, wenn man Feedback von außen für seine Arbeit bekommt, und dass es Spaß bringt.

Wie ist die Resonanz aus der Community der Wissenschaftskommunikation?

Bisher gibt es nur vereinzeltes Feedback. Eine tolle Rückmeldung kam aber zum Beispiel von Sam Illingworth. Er arbeitet in Großbritannien und hat viel im Bereich Wissenschaftsgedichte gemacht. Als er dann bei uns angefragt hat, ob er eine Monatsaufgabe stellen darf, war das natürlich ein tolles Feedback. Die Oktoberchallenge kommt dann von ihm.

Haben Sie am KiSOC noch weitere Motivationsprojekte zur Wissenschaftskommunikation neben der #SciCommChall?

Ja, der Großteil unserer Promovierenden hat Instagram-Accounts, in denen es darum geht, den persönlichen Alltag in der Forschung darzustellen, und deren Highlights sammeln wir auf dem Account @kisoc_kiel. Dabei stellen wir beispielsweise vor, was wir inhaltlich machen und welche Methoden wir dafür anwenden. Das ist für uns intern ein wichtiges Projekt. Zwar haben wir noch nicht besonders viele Follower, aber wir haben es zum Beispiel geschafft, dass sich auch andere Kolleginnen und Kollegen am IPN, darunter auch eine Professorin, eigene Instagram-Accounts zugelegt haben und jetzt aktiv online Wissenschaftskommunikation machen. Der Impact ist also auf institutioneller Ebene da und wir stehen auch mit anderen Leibniz-Zentren in Kontakt, die uns einladen, um sie zu beraten. Wir erreichen so also unser eigenes Netzwerk und das ist für uns erfolgreich.

Guest post: Using seawater to make bread!

Last week I got one of the coolest emails I have ever received: Someone had found my blog while googling for the salt content of seawater in order to use it to make bread, and he sent me a couple of pictures the resulting bread! Of course, I asked if I could share it as a guest post on my blog, so here we go (Thanks, Martin Haswell, for this unique and inspiring contribution! See, everybody? Real-world impact of science blogging!):

Making bread using seawater

There is nothing like a challenge from your best friend, to do something that you’ve never done before but might just work. In my case, make bread using sea water.

My friend Mandy had brought me back from New York a copy of Jim Lahey’s book “My Bread”. Jim’s ‘no-knead’ method of bread making uses flour, water, salt (normally) and a tiny amount of yeast – and a lot of time, but no kneading. The dough is left for a long time to rise and is baked very very hot, and makes a tasty and crusty loaf.

Jim has a recipe in his book called  “Jones Beach Bread” in which he uses seawater instead of house water plus salt to make the dough. Knowing that we both used the ‘no-knead’ recipe and that I had access to a beach with clean water, Mandy challenged me to follow this recipe, and this is how it went.

Martin collecting seawater on the beach, far enough out to miss most of the turbidity

Martin collecting seawater on the beach, far enough out to miss most of the turbidity

Martin checking the seawater sample for sand or other impurities

Martin checking the seawater sample for sand or other impurities

Jim Lahey’s book “My Bread” that contains Jim’s 'no-knead' method of bread making used for the bread in this blog post

Jim Lahey’s book “My Bread” that contains Jim’s ‘no-knead’ method of bread making used for the bread in this blog post

Waiting for the bread to raise

Waiting for the bread to raise

The finished result! Doesn't it look delicious?

The finished result! Doesn’t it look delicious?

The bread tasted very good, crusty and tasty. I made two loaves, one with the seawater filtered through a coffee filter and the other with unfiltered seawater. Normally this recipe needs around 12-18 hours rising time but this took 28 hours for the two risings, but it is winter in southern Brasil (Florianópolis, on the coast) and the day temperature was only 72F (22°C) on the day of the experiment. It’s also possible that the greater proportion of salt might have hindered the development of the yeast and held back the rise. This wasn’t a very scientific experiment.

I calculated that Lahey’s original no-knead’ recipe calls for 8g salt to 300g of water which makes 26.66g per litre, whereas sea water (according to Mirjam’s 2013 blog is 35g/litre so this should mean that the sea bread loaf should be around 30% more salty than normal; if I’m honest, it didn’t tasty significantly more salty).

Further experiments: the obvious test would be a sea water loaf vs conventional made, risen and baked at the same time.


The Jones Beach in Jim’s recipe is the Jones Beach State Park on Long Island, New York State. The current water cleanliness data is here (PDF), scroll down for the Jones Beach SP results.

The beach that I collected my sea water from is currently ‘própria‘ but I wouldn’t collect after heavy rain (runoff) or heavy seas (turbidity).  As a safety precaution one could boil the sea water and let it cool just enough before using. In fact, when the weather is cold, that would be the best way of giving the bread a good start.

[note by Mirjam: I’ve done a super quick google search and it looks like typical salinities for the Florianopolis area can go down to 30-ish and thus be lower than the typical, open ocean value of 35, but during summer they might go up to 37 (Pereira et al., 2017) but in addition to the seasonal changes, your salinity probably depends very much on which beach you took the water sample at (for example if it was a lagoon-ish beach with a lot of freshwater runoff and not so much mixing with the open ocean). Since you collected the water fairly close to the beach and during winter, it’s likely that the salinity wasn’t quite as high as the 35 I mentioned (which would explain why the bread didn’t taste as salty as you might have expected). If you wanted to know the exact salinity next time you are making bread, an easy method to measure the salinity of sea water would be to boil a liter until all the water has evaporated and weigh the remaining salts. This isn’t very precise for oceanographer-standards, since some of the substances that oceanographers include in their measure of “salinity” in sea water at normal temperatures might actually evaporate with the water, but since the largest constituent of the “salt” in sea water is just normal NaCl, the mistake you’d be making is probably small enough for cooking purposes, and you’d get a general idea of how “typical” your sample is in terms of seawater salinity.]


Martin Haswell is an English photographer who loves travel and making bread.