Friday, 30 October 2015

Naked Scientists: Week 6

Week Six:

I've been a bit useless at keeping this blog updated...

Since starting at the Naked Scientists, I've interviewed people about beetles, magnetic materials, runners' high, lorries and slippery steel!

This week I somehow managed to be super efficient. In a flurry of activity between 4:30 and 6 on Monday afternoon I managed to get one of Chris' interviews scheduled and mine booked in for first thing Tuesday morning. This meant I was essentially one day ahead of myself all week which gave me a good opportunity to focus on planning my show.

I made quite a lot of phone calls to researchers in different areas trying to get and idea of what i should cover when discussing big data, and how to do this without any of the sections of my show repeating themselves. I also took a trip into Cambridge for the Festival of Ideas to see Data Shadow: one of their art exhibitions on personal data and privacy. It was really interesting, and prompted me to think twice about logging onto unknown wifi networks.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Week 5 at the Naked Scientists

After a rather disastrous week working on my PhD at the neutron beam source just south of Oxford I returned to the Naked Scientists (without the keys to my room in Cambridge, but that's another story...). 

This week there were loads of news stories,  and a lot of it from the UK, so we were busy doing research calls and arranging interviews. Unfortunately the researcher for the paper I was looking into was on sabbatical, so I was left searching for a local commentator.

As the paper was on materials chemistry, and that’s my area of research, I persuaded one of the post-doctoral researchers from my department to speak to me about the paper. It felt a bit weird doing an interview like this, knowing that you both knew the same information about the paper, but it was good experience to give something new a go.

I also did some research calls for my show, and it’s definitely starting to come together! 

Friday, 2 October 2015

Naked Scientists: Week 3

Week 3

After spending the weekend exploring Cambridge, Sunday saw my first visit to the BBC Cambridgeshire studio for our live show. I was expecting a dark underground room, but it's a nice airy studio and we'd filled it with lots of guests for our Q & A show. I had a lot of fun updating the twitter account with the answers our panel were giving to the varied questions sent in by our audience. 

Another Monday, and another collection of interesting news from around the globe to choose from. Alongside publishing online some of the news pieces from last week, I arranged to talk to one researcher in Canada and another in the USA. Both were great, and by the end of Monday I’d arranged interviews for both Chris and myself. 

An addition to a normal Monday was a request from BBC Cambridgeshire for a Naked Scientist to talk about a news story on their drivetime programme at 5:45. As is becoming usual, I volunteered! Graihagh and I chose a research paper that had come out that day on a research project that studied the UK Biobank data to see if there was a genetic influence on lung health and its relationship with smoking. It was a really interesting paper, and I had about an hour to prepare to talk about it on live radio! I felt much more prepared for this much shorter slot than for last week’s phone in, so it went much better. (Or at least that’s what I was told!) 

On Tuesday I managed to get my interview done, although had some real challenges with the studio connections. I ended up chatting to him for quite a while, which I knew would make my editing job harder! I then went to the #Camscicomm social, and met some more locals interetsed in science communication.

After Wednesday’s meeting. I attacked the edit and managed to get it down to the right time. I then put some time into starting to plan my show. 

As interns, we’re given the opportunity to produce one show on our own. This means we can choose the topic for the back end, as well as being in charge of collating any news stories for that week.
I had originally wanted to plan my show around renewable energy, but once I had mentioned my work with POST last year on big data, everyone seemed to get a bit excited. So I got in contact with my supervisor from POST, to ask her for any tips on interviewees.
The main problem is having too many ideas! As usual…

I’d also been put in charge of organising “Question of the Week” for next week, so started looking for appropriate experts who could help answer the question sent in by a listener. If anyone knows the wind speed needed to blow over a lorry then get in touch!

Thursday sees the writing of the news article to accompany the audio news piece, and this week a group lunch to say goodbye to one of the interns. I was particularly restrained and only had 2 pieces of cheesecake…

Friday began by finding out my new piece was in the script for the 5live science show. This was quite exciting! I don't think I'll be listening live at 5am, but definitely one for iplayer.