Wednesday, September 23, 2009

From women in science to why science makes the news

Day 3 here at EGEE’09 and the Barcelo Sants is still buzzing – be quick at coffee break if you want to grab a cup as its busy, busy, busy! It’s been an active day, starting off with a keynote talk by Nancy Wilkins-Diehr from TeraGrid on the possibilities offered by science gateways. It was an entertaining talk peppered with some fun video clips, with an interesting aside on work they are doing with some of the new social media tools, iPhone apps etc. As Wilkins-Diehr says, you have to stay current if you want to attract the future generation into science. Not only that, people don't like to read, especially web pages - videos and use cases are the way to go.

At lunchtime, three tables were set aside for the women's networking lunch, and many thanks to all those who joined us to discuss some ideas, both for encouraging women into science and IT and retaining them throughout their careers. Thanks to our postcards, we have received some interesting suggestions, such as extending paternity leave to men, subsidising women's accommodation at hotels near or in the conference venue for safety, less travel and more e-participation via video conferencing. More ideas still welcome, just drop a postcard into the EGEE booth – if your pen has trouble with the shiny surface, we have pens that work!

Next up was the NA2 session, looking at how a conference abstract can become an international news story, giving the spectrum of views from the press officer, the researcher and a journalist. What makes a story stand out and why - and what does it feel like to be on the receiving end of a radio interview?

Helen Thomson of the New Scientist explained why you should keep a good relationship with your friendly but busy journalist and not spam them with press releases. The bottom line - would you talk about this story in the pub (but not just with your colleagues)? Yes? Then phone the Times! Or better yet, ask your press officer to.

Finally, I went to hear about the big challenges facing bioinformatics in processing data, how to make interfaces user friendly and hide the tools, so you don't need to be an IT 'carpenter' to find the right one at the right moment.

All this in one day and the conference dinner hasn't even started yet!

No comments: