Archive for the science Category

Starting Fresh

Posted in communication, passion, science on October 18, 2017 by angiegiegie

For over a year, I went on a hiatus for two reasons – finishing my Ph.D. thesis, and facing my demons. Some of us know that doing a doctorate is the real deal. It feels as though you’re a monk who deserved to be whipped several times because penitence will ever be granted according to your supervisor’s will. Being in the academia for so long (but not as long as those who have committed their lives to never-ending post docs and search for a better tenure position) have made me a stronger person be it mentally, emotionally, and physically. During the past year, I had the luck to dislocate my shoulder one more time and this among many things (such as writing my thesis) became the nails that were pounded to my head. I lost my nerves and my consciousness several times as I broke down constantly because of the pressure I accepted to be immersed into.

I have to admit in all honesty that doing a Ph.D. has its ups and downs but one cannot proceed to do so if they can’t fathom the psychological torture that comes with it. You need to have a brave soul and a strong mind while doing so and many mistook it with a mere shrug. No wonder the news today talk about the depression that comes with doing a doctorate. People have to talk about it. I applaud the initiative of some to do so yet it is still not enough. Why do a Ph.D.? There are many reasons to do so but just to say that it is your only option because you chose to do a scientific path in the beginning shouldn’t be the reason to do so.

I have friends from all over the world who have chosen to do a Ph.D. as I have as well. Thank goodness I am done with it. I had this pictures in my mind of “what ifs” while I was on the brink of quitting my Ph.D. last year. Gladly enough, some people stood up with me and pulled me back up from the deep sea when I was drowning from all the imagined responsibilities I had to do just because I was told that I had to do them. Fast-forward to September 2017, I was able to survive past the depression and identity crisis that started from the last months of my Ph.D. And here I am, starting anew with a goal on promoting awareness on science education and communication. Hopefully, I will write regularly on the latest developments on science, technology, society and communication as these are the few of the many things I am very fond of talking or writing about.



Finding strength from my passion

Posted in acceptance, communication, famelab, fear, passion, public speaking, science, Uncategorized on March 4, 2016 by angiegiegie

It has been three days since I got eliminated from the semi-final round of Famelab Torino. It was a good fight even if it was something that I was still unfamiliar with. Communicating science sounds easy from a bird’s eye-view but it isn’t. Before walking up that stage, I was a bit anxious on how to prepare my 3-minutes pitch. Being able to speak out a specific scientific topic for that brief amount of time is a challenge. I was up against many who spent countless days explaining to the public how their science works. I, of course, started from nothing. I was a rookie and to be able to go past the first round was already a breakthrough. Of course, I am still learning little by little. What I have always pictured in my mind aren’t how things are in reality. I still have to step up my game even if it takes months, or years, for me to do so.

I am not a natural born prodige when it comes to public speaking. I listened with enthusiasm to people who affirm their beliefs and opinions in public.  It is an all different ball game for me compared to writing, which I have developed over the years. Despite my interest for speeches, I fail to picture myself speaking in front of a crowd. Public speaking was not my forte but if I pushed for it, people might listen to me. So I tried. Nothing much to lose anyway, I thought. I curse a bit in silence when my unconsciousness craved for perfection, but the show must go on. So I did, a few days ago. I was not there for the fame. I was there to kick myself out of the shadows and fears, and tried to prove myself that I am someone worth listening to.

Events like Famelab pushed me out of my comfort zones when I only get to perform experiments nowadays. Perhaps I can get a beer or two with friends and share my science but I don’t do that. Will people tire themselves listening to when I talk about the science behind my work? I knew that I am much more than my profession yet I obliterate my value to my friends and strangers on what I do. You know, I am not a woman with a strong heart so it is hard for me to get by with confirmation. Time, and time again, I struggled. I knew that the fear is still there, not as big as it used to be, but I can still feel it. Despite my countless fears, I try to accept it and fight it – not an easy one, but I hope to go past it, and be a woman I can always count on. I have always dreamt of speaking out loud the science I am working on, and why it matters. The news I scroll over the web don’t talk about materials. Not really. They talk about the popular science behind astrophysics and neurobiology. I am pretty sure that other scientists in these said fields are doing a great deal to change people’s perspective on science. But what about the other fields? Science for the public became narrow that many are misinformed of the many possibilities our future holds. Sad? Yes, and I want to change that. With that said, I have to let go at a certain point, these fears of people’s judgment over me, and public speaking.

If not, until when will I hide from the world when there are so many things to share, apart from the general interests of the public?

From here onwards, I will make it a point with my will power to share to you, piece by piece, the fascinating world of materials, be they big, or small (apart from the other things I can talk about to anyone!)

“Communicative rationality” between the sciences and politics

Posted in science with tags , , on December 10, 2012 by angiegiegie

We were once told in class that there’s a need to bridge communication while accounting for “social responsibility” when nuclear disasters strike. I would agree on that and think this mantra should be extended to almost any practice between the political parties and the scientists were believed to be “neutral”.

As much as the community continues to believe that scientists follow a straight path, in reality, it does not work that way. I’ve seen and I am one of the many, who gallantly follow ideologies as any human would. We all respect one another while some are tolerable, as a start. And as much as how easy it should be to bridge the knowledgeable gap between science and policy making, it’s not — as far as history foretold it.

Furthermore, a scientist who deals with experiments would know that he or she needs to keep an open yet critical mind during the entire process. To let everything matter and sink in is not possible, especially when one of those details could be based from an error unseen by many. However, one cannot shield himself or herself from biases as hypothetically one should.

As with politicians, I cannot say much. In the end, it all boils down to communication, listening to everyone’s point of view, and being critical while being able to deliver a fair discussion of one’s defense line, according to one’s ideology. It’s not easy, but it’s worth trying. What’s worse is that until now, there’s the lack of communication as Habermas would want to express.

But then sometimes, it’s sometimes worth hearing out from a “rationale mind” in the field of politics, such as one coming from a scientific degree. But also, one should never forget that every action one executes would have implied of serving others’ needs, as “social responsibility” should be thought of in every way possible way. We’re rationale and social beings after all.

Doing Science is Not a Rat Race

Posted in fund, science on June 25, 2012 by angiegiegie

Science as biased as I may sound, is not something to be put aside. Not especially when it is a key point to innovation. Majority of the present generation praise the magic of capitalism and entrepreneurship. While journalists report on the Euro crisis and the different political and economic wars going around the globe, here are us, the future scientists, worrying about our futures, while some present researchers try to find ways to support their families.

Present times tell us not to wait. We all want results fast as preceded by the technological advancements. The more investment on science, the more patient one has to be to wait for good or excellent results. Not every experiment is perfect. Everything takes time. This is actual results and not just based on the books. With just one bogus, everything falls apart, just as how operations take place. Domino is the best way to describe a scientific research most especially when it is a pioneer.

It is quite funny though that we run after people giving out the funds. We go to the big government agencies or to private companies who think science is a business. Yes, money is one of the key elements in our world today but I clearly do not believe that it is the answer to every one’s basic needs. It is just a form of trading. I’ve studied the economics behind it. I do not totally hate but the reality that the scientists are facing is tearing me apart. All the while we thought doing science is one of the best options the world has to offer. In reality, it’s the other way around – we usually end up being the martyrs of society, worse than being a janitor, a waitress, etc. Why does anyone want to hear about our results when we do not directly benefit to the society? Why invest on us when we cannot give a direct answer to investors?

Doing science takes time and in my opinion, the world or maybe its train of thought today is starting to tear apart its essence.