So I don’t know if this is a good idea that anyone would actually want to play with. But when I was visiting my sister last week, she was working on designing a memory game for kids, and it looked so much fun that I made one of my own, and then also made it June’s #SciCommChall.
Making a memory game — finding a concept that you think is important, and a depiction of that concept, and doing that over and over again — is definitely something that makes you think about a field in a different way! It actually reminded me of preparing for examinations during my university studies — I used to always make these little fact sheets with sketches and minimal descriptions and I remember how much I enjoyed those back then, too. And I find trying to be creative around topics you are studying (even only by drawing the little pictures and coloring them in) helps remembering them better and just organize them more neatly in my brain.
So maybe this is something to suggest to students for a fun activity? And if anyone decides to actually play with such memory games they’ll definitely think long and hard about waves! :-D
For a download of my memory game, click on the image below (or here).
Click on the image to get a b/w print version of this memory
Is this something you would suggest to your students? If not why not? I think it’s fun! :-)
For March’s #SciCommChall, Alice gave us a super cool challenge with really helpful instructions to come up with our own “personal branding statements”. And here I am following her instructions and coming up with my own personal branding statement. A little late, but better late than never…
1. Write down three words you’d use to describe yourself. Take your time and be honest.
So after a lot of contemplation, I think my three words are enthusiastic, curious, and driven.
Curious: I get very easily fascinated by all kinds of different stuff, and I am always interested in exploring new things, learning new skills, visiting new places.
Enthusiastic: As I said, I get very easily fascinated by stuff. And then enthusiastic about it, or you might say obsessed. See evidence of that in my wave watching posts.
Driven: What I mean by that is that once I decide I want something, I am super stubborn and will work hard to get it. For example, once I had decided that my goddaughter was going to get a wave watching book for her christening, I made it happen. Another word to describe that side of me might be pigheaded ;-)
2. Find someone you trust (your partner or a friend) and ask them to describe you in three words. Compare the lists and see what they have in common.
For N=27, this is how my friends describe me (font size proportional to how often a word was mentioned. More or less, at least, since I got answers in English, German, and Norwegian and translated them all to English to be able to cluster them…).
I love how curious and driven are also how my friends see me, along with creative, passionate, enthusiastic and funny! And stubborn ;-)
3. List your core competencies. What are your unique skills and talents that are valuable to others? What accomplishments and experiences define you? Include awards, degrees, and promotions.
Elaborating on this is kinda boring in a blog post. Check out my CV if you are interested in the formal stuff…
But I think what I am really good at is sharing my excitement for topics or causes and getting other people interested in them and excited about them, too. I’m also really good at building networks because I’m not afraid to cold-contact people or to follow up with people I’ve met. I remember people’s interests & projects and am very good at connecting people that should meet.
4. List your goals. What do you want to accomplish this year, this decade?
This year as well as this decade: Sharing my fascination with the ocean!
This year is all about bringing ocean experiences to people that either can’t travel to the ocean, or that can travel but can’t meet up with people to learn from them. I’ve already been doing that by creating a 1-day kitchen oceanography course for kids (in german) or by writing up examples of how to do field courses without having student groups in the field. But there is more in the pipeline already, like an article I contributed to in a popular science magazine, and I have even more things planned. The main thing I want to work on over the next couple of days is to create videos of experiments using the DIYnamics setup because we would be using them with students right now if it was possible, and I have one at home! And I am hoping that those videos can be integrated in such a way that students watch them in preparation for a video call with me, where they can “remotely control” me doing the same experiment again, except modified in whatever way they’d like. What do you think, good idea?
Building on those ideas, my long term goal is to live in a lighthouse, overlooking the ocean. Sometimes I’ll open my home for workshops on ocean topics (for example on kitchen oceanography or wave watching, but also on how to communicate about ocean and climate topics, and many others), other days I’ll observe the ocean by myself or with select, few people, and communicate about that via my blog, maybe livestreams, maybe new technologies that’ll exist by then. Doing this kind of work — building a community around ocean exploration and understanding — is really what makes me extremely happy and I don’t see myself ever not wanting to do this any more.
5. Write out your (core) values.
My core values. Such a difficult question. It is very important to me that I can be my authentic self when it comes to my work and beyond: following my curiosity and sharing things that bring me joy are essential to me, as is building community and being in constant discussion with like-minded people and those that give me new perspective on things. Also experimenting with new topics or skills, being creative, having control over what I work on and how & when I do it. It is also very important to me that even though I love working a lot and traveling for long periods for work, this has to be in balance with time with family and friends (luckily there are so many of my friends that I work with, so traveling to work with them is a win-win!).
6. Create your own personal branding statement. This is a two-sentence description of who you are and what you can contribute. Don’t rush it, composing this statement is not an easy thing to do. Once you’re satisfied, stick it somewhere you’ll see it every day. It’s good affirmation.
Funnily enough this came out very similar to previous “about me” statements I had written for resumés and other such occasions:
“I am endlessly fascinated by the ocean and want to experience and understand it. I am dedicated to creating stimulating and engaging environments for dialogue on ocean and climate topics to share my passion, and to insprire”
I put it up on my porthole which is right next to my current work desk at home / my sewing and other handcrafts table / my dining table (actually, only table in my home). And I like it! Thanks for the idea, Alice! :-)
My friend Nena has taken over #SciCommChall and gives us super fun monthly challenges to practice our scicomm muscles and try out new things. I love a good challenge, and for me this is really a great way to expand my scicomm portfolio and skills. Check it out!
Or they might not be, you tell me: What’s in YOUR bag and why? What’s specific to the science you are excited about?
In any case, here we go with mine:
This is my absolute favourite handbag of all times! It’s always stuffed, but I love it! I carry this on me wherever I go, and my work bag comes in addition to this (give me a shout if you would want to see that one, too). All the stuff around it in the picture usually lives inside
Not so surprising: A little card holder with all the cards I need to carry
And a little coin pouch
Emergency tea. Can’t get caught anywhere without some. Clearly have to restock, this is my least favourite of the favourites I usually carry with me. Also great as dye tracer in a pickle
A spork. Because no single-use plastic! Also for stirring, measuring, that kind of stuff in experiments (we use food dyes, no worries…)
I carry some minerals to prevent (or quickly counteract) cramps. No oceanography connection there
Seem to have skipped no 7 on the picture! Probably to make up for something not pictured, because I was working with it when I decided to accept this challenge and it therefore wasn’t in my handbag: My (tiny) bullet journal. But it’s actually in the picture above, so that’s proof that I really always carry it with me!
Pens! Several. One waterproof, because #kitchenoceanography. Where is my pencil? Seems to have gotten lost
Sticky notes! Always need them
My battery bank for my phone, because my phone holds my life. And I need it to take pictures and movies, to write notes, to do Social Media with it or blog on it. The battery bank is heavy, but for me totally worth always carrying it with me
Headphones, charging cables for my phone & battery bank, that kinda stuff
Oh, now it’s getting interesting! A selfie stick and a microphone for my phone to do wave watching selfie videos with, after I realized how horrible the sound quality was when I was on a Swedish research ship a couple of months ago
A fabric bag because I always end up having to carry stuff somewhere and, as you see, the handbag is tiny
Ziploc bags. Because you always find cool stuff at the beach… At least I do :-)
Emergency cash and emergency plasters
The pouch where the plasters are supposed to be, together with some emergency stuff against headaches, a tiny pocket knife (which I use SO MUCH! Hello, unboxing new rotating table & tanks!) and the very much undervalued lip balm. Which has saved tank experiments several tanks when something was leaking, everybody was freaking out, and I was just like “let me get my lip balm from my hand bag…”
Paint swatches that I got when my nieces and I went to the crafts store because we had the deal that everybody could get three and only three, and I decided that “everybody” should include me ;-) Also I love the colors.
A small scarf and wooly hat, because wave watching happens outside and I like my throat and ears to be warm
A measuring tape. Because knitting, and then I forgot it was there. Came in really useful when we were unboxing our new rotating table and tanks and were cataloguing the inserts and stuff — measured everything right away to know what we are dealing with!
“I don’t want my face on the internet!”, “My science should speak for itself, it shouldn’t matter who I am as a person!”, “I just don’t like what I look like in pictures!”, “People won’t perceive me as professional when I include selfies in my science communication work!”: There are many reasons for not posting selfies on the internet, and I sympathise with many of them. However, I have chosen (and continue to choose) to post the occasional selfie. Why is that?
My main goal I am trying to achieve with my scicomm Instagram @fascinocean_kiel is to show that exciting science (specifically ocean physics) can be discovered EVERYWHERE if you are open to seeing it. This means that I post pictures of water that I take on walks along any kind of river, lake, ocean, but also in puddles, sinks, or tea cups, pretty much daily.
But in order to make my Insta relatable to other people, I find it important to put these pictures in the context of my life. Yes, I live on the Baltic Sea coast and therefore have the opportunity to see “the ocean” (well, kinda) on an almost daily basis, which is reflected in my Insta. But I commute to work in Hamburg (where I see Elbe river and the Port of Hamburg, which you also see quite a lot), and I travel a lot throughout Germany and beyond. Some days I’m on the train — on those days you’ll often see pictures of water taken from the train window. Or if I am giving workshops in locations with fancy taps, you will see those. My point is: You can discover oceanography everywhere. If you choose to look for it.
But then who does get this excited about this kind of stuff? Well, I do. And this is where #ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike comes in. I’m not wearing a lab coat, and I am not even observing this science as part of my job. I’m not even employed as a scientist any more, nor do I want to be. But I didn’t loose my identity as a scientist when I decided to stop pursuing an academic career. That was a huge fear I had when I was in the process of wanting out of academia — that I would be a failed scientist if I left, even if I left because I would rather be somewhere else. So for me, showing that I am still a scientist even if that’s not my day job anymore is my way of offering myself as the role model that I wish I had during that time, showing that leaving academia doesn’t make you any less of a scientist.
Of course, #ThisIsWhatAScientistLooksLike also includes other aspects, for example making women or other minorities in science more visible. Or showing that there is no one “correct” way of being a scientist. For example the clothes you wear or how much effort you put into looking put together are in no way correlated to how serious you are about your science. Contributing to spreading that message is a nice side effect for me.
But does posting selfies do anything to how people perceive scientists?
There is a 2019 study by Jarreau et al. that looked at this. They compared different kinds of Instagram posts, some showing selfies of scientists, some showing only lab equipment or other pictures of the work only. And they found that posting selfies does actually have an impact on how scientists are perceived.
Scientists posting selfies (as opposed to those only posting “work stuff”) were perceived as significantly warmer. Appearing warm is definitely desirable in this context, as warmth is a component of trustworthiness. Obviously, as a scientist we want to be, but also be perceived as, trustworthy. This perception is created in this study when selfies were used.
Another finding is that posting selfies does not result in scientists being perceived as less competent, both for male and female scientists. So here goes the fear mentioned above that posting selfies will make you appear less serious about your work! Or does it? Note that of course this study does not guarantee that nobody ever will think less of you because you are posting selfies. Of course there might be people you are working with, or more generally, that see your selfies online and think any number of weird things. In general, this does not appear to be the case. But you know your bosses, your community, your life best, so ultimately if this is a concern you have, you need to weigh the potential benefits of posting selfies against that risk. In my case, I have decided that I can totally live with what some people might think about me posting selfies because I know that the people who matter to me don’t think less of me because of it. Additionally, I have gotten a lot of feedback that people actually enjoy seeing selfies on my Insta occasionally, because it does make it more relatable.
As a women, I also find it important that I post selfies, because the study showed that this can contribute to making science be perceived less as “exclusively male”. The common stereotype of what a scientist looks like is still to this day an old white male (in a lab coat and with messy hair). Of course there are plenty of those around, but there are so many brilliant and inspiring women out there, too, that I’d like to see that stereotype change.
In total, results of the study are that showing selfies can potentially help change attitudes towards scientists towards the better. The study doesn’t explore the mechanisms through which this happens (so it might depend on, for example, facial expressions, features of the background, or tons of other things), so it is by no means guaranteed to work for every selfie being posted on the internet (and also how many selfies do people need to see for this effect to kick in, or what does the ratio to “science stuff only” pictures need to be? And how long does the effect last?). In any case, to me, this study is indication enough that me posting selfies might have all the intended consequences, and that’s reason enough for me to choose to post selfies. And I encourage you to check out the study and consider posting selfies, too!
And here are all the posts for you! If you prefer daily updates, why not follow my Instagram?
But here we go with a month’s worth of wave watching pics. First: a wake reaching the beach. How do we know it’s a wake? Because it is so super regular (and also because I saw the ship it belongs to ;-))
And then: Tiny rip currents!
It was very nice to observe this dangerous phenomenon on a tiny scale.
More rip currents…
And a seagull that flew away before I could get the picture I wanted.
The Oslo ferry changing course and sailing towards the sun… At least for a short moment, before finishing the 180 degree turn and backing up into its berth in Kiel port.
Such a nice criss cross pattern of waves!
And a movie of a criss cross happening in a different spot.
Another criss cross.
Fog in Kiel. I guess it’s November…
Another seagull that flew away before I could take the picture I wanted to take.
The Oslo ferry turned and left us with its turbulent wake.
On the train south. This view usually looks a lot nicer with either a fountain or a Christmas tree… Plus there are super pretty street lamps that were taken away for the construction period.
This is the view I know and love… At very low wind conditions.
Slightly more wind… And can you see it’s taken from a train? Wave watching from trains is fun!
And even more wind!
And even more wind!
Oh, and then my sister & her kids & I went to look at the ship lift in Scharnebeck. So awesome! Here we are looking out on the lower part of the canal, the basin with the ship is what looks like the ceiling in the picture below!
When that basin has been lowered all the way (38 meters! Quite impressive, don’t you think?), we can watch the ships sailing out.
Bye bye, ship! Have a safe journey!
Waves in a little well.
Autumn leaves and hydraulic jumps!
Sun set on the train home.
Oh, and a sun rise with a ship sailing backwards. Some days are weird like that…
A seagull watching the Oslo ferry arrive in Kiel. Welcome!
And the Oslo ferry turning.
Pretty sunset on a very windy day!
On the picture below, I commented if people thought those rain curtains would look like Northern Lights if I used the right filters.
And this is what my brother-in-law did. Yep. Northern lights in Kiel! :-)
More sun set in Kiel.
And pretty autumn leaves!
The faucet at a conference center I gave a workshop at.
Part of my Insta-Story that day:
More pics from Kiel.
No idea what caused this very sharp distinction between the two parts of Kiel fjord!
I like this little plant!
But autumn leaves!
The pilot ship and the Oslo ferry.
Very cool discovery that Sara made, check out the blog post I wrote about it.
A small tug and its wake.
And the wake by itself.
Now the wake arrives at the sea wall!
And is being reflected.
Very cool interference pattern, especially with the added waves caused by the irregularities in the sea wall.
Looks so pretty!
I find it super fascinating.
No idea where all those higher order waves come from!
Documenting the little walk I took to stay sane while trying to finish up the Advent calendar…
And here we go, that was my November on Instagram! I am quite impressed with the sheer volume of pictures I have posted, and that I managed to write semi-useful captions to most (on Instagram, that is, not in this blog post ;-))
Remember #SciCommChall? I started it almost 2 years ago and have recently felt a little burnt out when it came to coming up with new challenges and motivating people to join. But luckily Nena, #SciCommChall enthusiast from Day 1, stepped up. Nena has posed #SciCommChall-Challenges before, and her current challenge is a lot of fun: Bringing science on coasters to make it visible in pubs!
And I am happy to report that no matter how burnt out about #SciCommChall I felt only this morning, I still had to respond to the challenge and come up with a couple of quick ideas right away. And now that I did these, there are so many other possibilities in my head! Thanks for the inspiration, Nena! :-)
My scicomm Instagram @fascinocean_kiel is back! As in it’s something that I am putting more thought into again. While it started off strong almost two years ago with daily posts written specifically for Instagram, I’ve been in a bit of a slump. For a while, I just posted pictures from current blog posts with a description like “read more about this on my blog”, but this didn’t feel satisfying. It also meant that I had a lot of #wavewatching posts on my blog, which I felt were taking over what I want the focus of this blog to be on. So the current compromise is that all the #wavewatching stuff happens over on Instagram (in German, but they have a really good translator at least to English), and only the most outstanding highlights will get their own post on here. But there will be a summary post of what went on on Instagram every month or so. Or at least that’s the plan for now!
I started out posting on Instagram again at the end of my month-long trip to Bergen, Oslo, and finally Gothenburg, when I got the exciting opportunity to “meet” Anna Wåhlin’s AUV, Ran, and take part in a short cruise on RV Skargerak to see her in action.
Btw, the reason I am posting more selfies now is that I’ve been thinking about the research around #ScientistsWhoSelfie that shows that showing selfies is beneficial for being perceived as warmer, more trustworthy and also as reducing gender-related stereotypes about who can be a scientist (at least if you are a woman posting selfies). And I think that it’s a very easy contribution to make if it helps achieve scientists in general being perceived as more trustworthy and also helping people to see that scientists are not always old, white men with beards and messy hair in lab coats. Sometimes it’s also me, sitting in the rain, grinning because I get to see a cool AUV up close! :-)
On that cruise, there was of course also CTD work going on.
And work doesn’t stop just because it gets dark…
Then this is the library in Gothenburg — a beautiful building that I passed several times on the way to the institute, and always admired.
And then I was on the ferry to go back home! In a cabin with sea view! That made me so happy. I was so tired after that exciting month, so sitting in my bed instead of standing on the cold, wet and windy deck felt like heaven :-)
And then we were home! Or at least almost. The Kiel lighthouse is situated offshore in Kiel bight, and it’s where the pilot station is (you see the pilot ship returning to the lighthouse in the picture below)
And this is the ferry arriving in Kiel port. I always love watching how these big ships are carefully maneuvered into port!
And this is another lighthouse on our way into Kiel port, and the ferry’s wake.
And then we are back to wave watching in Kiel! Reflections on the sea wall, and total reflection.
And what was going on here with all that foam? And is foam actually a passive tracer, or is the distribution also influenced by surface tension or other stuff?
Here is where the foam ends up in Kiel fjord. And what I find fascinating is how towards the upper edge of the picture, the ring waves of the water draining into Kiel fjord are really visible, whereas in the lower edge the picture seems dominated by wind waves. Even though both types of waves are probably fairly equally present in all parts of the picture, just the different angle makes one or the other appear more prominently.
It’s really fun to bring this collection of screenshots of my Instagram together. I’m a little impressed by how many wave pictures I post!
Here we are looking at a ship’s wake that is reaching the beach.
And I just love the sound of waves on a stony beach!
Not every day is wave watching day, sometimes we just have to be content with water.
And autumn leaves…
But then there is of course always the opportunity to make the waves you want to see (and be the change you want to see ;-)). Here we are looking at hydraulic jumps in the sink at work.
Although with these views it seems almost silly to go to a sink for wave watching opportunities…
But now a wave riddle. What’s happening between this pic…
The next day, walking down to Kiel fjord, I was in a bit of a gloomy mood and thought that there might not possibly anything going on that I hadn’t taken a million pictures of already. And luckily I was so wrong! My faith in daily wave watching was completely restored when I saw the sediment clouds and how they behaved in comparison to surface waves.
And then there was the day with very low water, where we could really nicely see how the shape of the ground influences the waves.
Shallow water waves always look a bit ridiculous, don’t they? Like sausages moving onto the beach.
When I went to go vote, I happened to wave watch in a spot that I don’t usually go to. Also fun! And nice to see how this floating bridge is sheltering parts of the lake from the wind. Although some waves come through, as you see in the deformation of the reflections of the hand rails.
And then I went to Hanover to give a workshop at their university. But first, I had to go do a picknick with Frauke :-) And, of course, a wave riddle. Can you guess who or what made the waves in the picture below?
Frauke is the best. She brought soap bubbles to our picknick! And there is so much physics in soap bubbles. From the films that change color as the bubble ages, to the shapes they form, to how their size is related to how hard you blow when making them. So cool!
Also super interesting to watch how the soap is sliding down the soap bubble, leading to a discoloration starting at the top, sliding down, until it finally bursts when enough water has evaporated.
And now for some drop photography! Water is dripping down from somewhere fairly high up, so the crown of droplets that is thrown up into the air by the surface bouncing back after each drop is quite large! As I was watching, someone moved a window in the office building right there, so that the sun’s reflection lit up the point of impact perfectly.
Then a morning walk with my sister in Hamburg. There was some fog in the shadow-y bits of the river but it’s really hard to spot…
And then back home in Kiel! Perfect wave watching, right?
Later that same day my favourite spot at the Holtenau locks.
One of the 2018 achievements that I feel pretty 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 the second article we wrote about the social media project has just been published! (See first part here, new (second) article here).
Check it out, as well as our Twitter @KiSOC_Kiel and Instagram @KiSOC_Kiel — both lead to the project’s central social media. Sadly, these accounts have not been kept alive after I left, but checking out especially the Instagram is still pretty interesting, because it links to all the different PhD students’ accounts, which are awesome, and which are actually what we describe in the article. A lot of inspiring content to be found there!
P.S.: The pretty design was made by Sonja Taut — thanks so much for that! :-)
Inspired by the absolutely brilliant job that Kati is doing for my project GEO-Tag der Natur, I have recently started experimenting with “Insta stories” on the topic of wave watching.
Insta stories, for those who aren’t familiar with them, are a special type of post on Instagram that only stays visible for 24 hours (unless you save them as highlight, in which case they can be watched until you decide to delete them). They are usually used to give quick glimpses into what’s going on that day, and can be anything from random snap- or screen shots to elaborate stories. The latter is what Kati has been doing for GEO-Tag der Natur — she tells cute and engaging short stories about different topics, using photos and video clips, which she combines with fun gifs to make them even cuter (if you have an Instagram account you can watch them in the highlights of our account).
So that’s what I have been trying to do, too.
My first attempt is posted below — except that what I post below doesn’t contain the links and gifs and stuff, because it turns out that while you can export stories from Instagram, I couldn’t convert them into a format that my blog or vimeo would accept and still keep the gimmicks (original version here). But I still like the format of telling a story. What do you think?
The feedback I got on that story was super positive, so I decided to do it again.
Since my second Insta story contained so many cute gimmicks, I didn’t even attempt to export it, but wrote a separate blog post using the same videos and pictures (But you can watch the story — including the cute gimmicks! — here).
(And then, when writing this blog post, I realized that if I did a screencast, I could that then convert into something my blog accepts. Duh! So below you can watch my story the way I see it when logged into my account — including how many people watched it and all the buttons that I could click to edit and exit etc.. In the future I should probably just do the screencast from a different account to give you a cleaner view…)
By this point, it started bugging me that I was putting effort into Insta stories but that I didn’t have a good way to use them on my own blog (remember, I hadn’t come up with the screencast idea yet). I like having full control over hosting the stuff I don’t want to disappear, and I don’t like telling the same story twice for different platforms (although I realize that customizing stories for each platform and thus audience is always good advice).
So the next story didn’t use fancy gimmicks (except on the last slide), and I could export the pictures and combine them into the .gif you see below.
Mmmmh, I like that!
Except now I am thinking I should still do an English gif for my blog and keep the German one to my Instagram. Which, again, feels like a lot of work for something that I want to do in random pockets of time like on my commute, not as a real task. So my next story was a language-free one:
So in the end it turns out that classical gifs work quite well for transporting my stories. Not nearly as cute as they could be, but maybe that’s ok?
What do you think? What style of Insta story would you like to see more of?
Option A: Give me cute little gimmicks like ducks on surfboards and ladies jumping into pools!
Option B: GIFs work well and I don’t need all the cutesy gimmicks