Let’s talk about Science

I made a mistake.

This summer I am allowed to join an amazing Science Communication workshop hosted by the Leiden University and in my motivational letter, I promised that I would start to regularly blog about science if I would be selected. Whelp, now I’ve got to do this. As a warm-up, I will share a part of my motivational letter below:

Without gravity, there would be no anus. Why? Read this motivational letter to find out.

At some point, I heard about an experiment where chicken eggs were taken along on a space mission to look at the effects of space travel on embryonic development. The experiment with chicken eggs showed that chicken eggs fertilised 7 and 10 days before a space mission grew to be healthy chicks, whereas eggs fertilized on the day of the mission died. (Suda T, et al (1994) FEBS letters 340;34-38) This means that –somehow- gravity is essential for fertilization or embryonic development.

This space fact has fascinated me for years because of the implications for evolution on Earth. Everything on this planet has evolved with gravity and it’s difficult to predict which processes are dependent on it – we cannot simply switch it off and experiment with it.

This is an interesting scientific fact, but it was excellent scientific communication which allowed it to reach me. This is exactly something I want to learn, to recognise interesting and impactful science and to help it reach people.

At the moment I am working as a Postdoctoral scientist in an excellent institute, this gives me the opportunity to publish papers and consider my future scientific career. And wherever my future scientific career goes, I will need to talk about science and convince both my scientific field and laymen of the impact of my work. More important, I greatly enjoy science communication and I would like to spend more time doing this.

As a dedication to you, if you allow me to follow the summer school then I will start my blog in June.

Now why wouldn’t there be an anus without gravity? The solution to this mystery found me years later at a scientific conference. My friend at the dinner table mentioned that chicken embryos spin around in the egg, placing the yolk on one side of the blastoderm, a disc of cells. This helps to decide on the front and the back of the embryo. So without gravity there would be no anus and no healthy chicken. (Kochav S M , Eyal-Giladi H(1971)Science;171:1027–1029)