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🔻English translation below🔻 في يوم الخميس الماضي ، التقيت مع العديد من أصدقائي في مجال العلوم خلال ورشة عمل حول سياسة العلوم لأول مرة. تم تنظيم ورشة العمل من قبل شبكة تبادل السياسات العلمية - SciPEN وكانت نظرة ثاقبة كبيرة لمهنة سياسة العلوم وما تنطوي عليه. أعتقد أن النقاط الثلاث الرئيسية للخريجين الذين يتطلعون إلى الدخول في مهنة في السياسة العلمية: 1️⃣ الصبر هو المفتاح! يجب أن تكون متفهمًا وصبورًا وتفهم الأُطُر الزمنية لكل منكما وأيضًا معرفة كيفية توصيل الأدلة وعدم اليقين عند الحاجة 2️⃣ حافظ على رسالتك إلى واضعي السياسات واضحة وموجزة وتجنب المصطلحات الثقيلة (لم تعد أكثر من صفحة واحدة!) ا 3️⃣ لا يحدث صنع السياسة في البرلمان فقط ، فالأشخاص الذين يؤثرون في السياسة يعملون أيضًا في الصناعة والمنظمات غير الحكومية وتمويل البحوث والأوساط الأكاديمية. هل تفكر في الانتقال إلى مهنة سياسة العلوم والمشاركة في توصيل العلوم بالسياسة؟ تأكد من أنك تتبع أيضًا صدقاتي الأربع! ا I---I Last Thursday, me and several of my #scicomm friends met up during a science policy workshop for the first time. The workshop was organized by the Science Policy Exchange Network - SciPEN and it was a great insight into a science policy career and what it entails. I think the main three main points for a graduate looking to enter a career in science policy were: 1️⃣ Patience is key! You have to be understanding, patient and understand each other's timeframes and also know how to communicate evidence and uncertainty when needed 2️⃣ Keep your message to policymakers clear, concise and avoid heavy jargon (no longer than one page!) I 3️⃣ Policymaking doesn't just happen in parliament, people who influence policy also work in the industry, NGOs, research funding and academia. I Would you think of moving into a science policy career and participate in communicating science to policy? I Make sure you also follow these 4 awesome #womeninSTEM! I---I #sciencepolicy #policymaking #SciPEN #science #school #university #phd #phdstudent #womeninSTEM #womeninscience #sciencecommunication #scienceblog #crystalsandcatalysts #steminist #girlsinscience #scienceblogging #london
A post shared by Mariam Zaki // مريم زكي (@crystalsandcatalysts) on Jun 2, 2019 at 9:40am PDT
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Following your interest on my latest Instagram post on Earth Day 2019, here’s the solar geoengineering post you've all been waiting for!



This post will be providing most of the known types of solar geoengineering and also critically looking at where this research places us in the battle against climate change. I’m going to keep this as brief as possible so you don't get bored but also full of detailed explanations.

N.B. When I mention “cooling the planet”, below,  I mean by only one or two degrees Celcius maximum.

The aim of SRM is purely to lower global temperatures, nothing else. This does not completely solve the problem of climate change because greenhouse gasses will continue to rise if we don’t do anything to prevent that from happening.

There are six known types of Solar Geoengineering/Solar Radiation Management (SRM):
  1. Aerosol injection
  2. Marine cloud brightening
  3. Ocean mirror effect
  4. Cloud thinning
  5. High-albedo crops and buildings
  6. Space sunshades

Aerosol injection
The theory
This isn’t a completely new concept. It's derived from a naturally occurring phenomenon: when volcanoes erupt they spew millions of millions of tonnes of reflective sulphate particles (in the form of sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide or sulfuric acid) into the stratosphere. So this technique aims to send an aeroplane of a gigantic “balloon” carrying reflective aerosols and injecting them into the stratosphere. These aerosols can act as reflectors that reflect the sun's rays away from the earth's atmosphere and result in global cooling.

The downsides
There’s still so much we don’t understand about this technique and we only have models which have given us limited information on what will happen if this gets implemented on a larger scale.
Aerosols being released into the stratosphere means they have to potential to delay the regeneration of the ozone layer that protects us from harmful sun rays.

On a global scale this process will be incredibly difficult to carry out if not everyone agrees to take part in the experiment and on a political level,  there are many facets to the technique to discuss, including countries that may see ill effects from aerosol injection and countries that don’t agree to this process being used in their stratospheres. To use this technique on a large scale almost every country has to agree to its use and take a part in it.
Additionally, there is a possibility that aerosol injection will be halted and once it’s completely stopped, global temperatures can return to what they were and cause mass confusion in the planet's climate.

Marine Cloud Brightening
The theory
The seas are covered by marine stratus clouds which scientists have recommended sending ships to spray saltwater into the clouds to make them lighter and brighter, resulting in whiter, more reflective clouds that can reflect the sun's rays back into space, cooling the earth.

The downsides
Research into this suggests that you’ll get localised effects with this technique but it's still not clear how marine cloud brightening can actually affect the weather over our various continents. Some studies suggest it will help with global cooling, and ice cover whilst others suggest it can drastically change the climate over specific continents, making it much worse for them i.e changes in storm patterns, rainfall, ocean circulation and local biology.

Ocean Mirror Effect
The theory
This technique requires a fleet of sea vessels to churn up millions of tiny microbubbles on the ocean surface. This creates seafoam which, in a similar fashion to marine cloud brightening, reflects sun rays back into space, cooling the earth down.

The downsides
Creating a layer of microbubbles on the ocean surface can reflect light and harm marine ecosystems, that depend on sunlight to thrive. Although several newer studies have contradicted this and say that ocean mirror effect will not affect marine ecosystems.

Microbubbles on the ocean surface need to be continually maintained, therefore the vessels needed to create the bubbles will need to utilize a lot of energy to cover the ocean surface with microbubbles, which is most likely in the form of fossil fuels unless the vessel will run on renewable energy sources.

Cloud Thinning
The theory
Cirrus clouds are the thin wispy clouds in high altitudes, that are made up of ice crystals. Even though they reflect some sunlight, they also absorb a lot of long-wave radiation which results in warming of the planet. Removing these clouds (with aerosol particles) will alleviate the heat-trapping effect of cirrus clouds.

The downsides
There’s no guarantee that this technique will remove the cirrus clouds, instead, thicker cirrus clouds could be created, thus increasing the warming effect instead of removing it. There are also a lot of questions surrounding other aspects of the climate system, such as atmospheric circulation and until they are answered, this technique will remain a theory.

High-albedo crops and buildings
The theory
Painting the rooftops of buildings a bright white, which increases the albedo of buildings. This means that the roof of the building will reflect more light back into space, cooling the planet. As seen in all of the white buildings in Santorini, Greece and the Mediterranean.

The downsides
This is a less controversial method of solar radiation management, but it doesn't really have the potential to have a big effect on global temperatures. Countries along the Mediterranean and the middle east use this technique to alleviate the pressures of a heatwave and to lower temperatures during summertime.  This is more of a smaller scale approach compared to the above techniques.

Space Sunshades
The theory
Like a mirror, this technique uses a gigantic mirror or a fleet of mirrors launched into space, to orbit the earth and reflect more sunlight away from the earth. The size of the mirror or mirrors will be determined by how much sunlight it could reflect back towards space, thus preventing the increase of carbon dioxide levels and, therefore, its cooling effect.

The downsides
Launching a gigantic mirror into space is a huge technological challenge, and if you get past that hurdle, trying to maintain it in space is another hurdle.

...

The above technologies are all forms of solar radiation management, but until now they are just theories or experiments on a small scale. They are also a PLAN B if PLAN A (controlling greenhouse gasses first) does not work.  There is also a fear that the availability of these “plan B” techniques could result in people thinking that they are all quick fixes and politicians will backtrack on their promises to cut greenhouse emissions.

....
These are the six different types of solar geoengineering that researchers are thinking about currently, the UK has started to lean towards SRM and its regulation and are looking to create discussions on the regulation of solar geoengineering on a large scale. Because such an important technology that has the potential to change the planet's climate needs a lot of regulation before it’s deployed into the stratosphere.

REFERENCES: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
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بعد اهتمامكم بأحدث بوستاتي في الانستغرام في يوم الأرض 2019 ، إليك مقاله الهندسة الجيولوجية الشمسية الذي كنتم تنتظرونها جميعًا!

تقدم هذه المقالة معظم الأنواع المعروفة من الهندسة الجيولوجية الشمسية وأيضًا النظر في المكان الذي يضعنا فيه هذه الأبحاث في المكافحة ضد تغير المناخ. سأبقى هذه المقاله مختصرة قدر الإمكان حتى لا تشعروا بالملل بل مليئاً بالتفسيرات التفصيلية.

ملحوظة: عندما أذكر "تبريد الكوكب" ، أدناه ، أعني بدرجة واحدة أو بدرجتين فقط كحد أقصى.

هدف إدارة الإشعاع الشمسي هو خفض درجات الحرارة العالمية، لا شيء آخر. هذا لا يحل مشكلة تغير المناخ بالكامل لأن الغازات الدفيئة ستستمر في الارتفاع إذا لم نفعل أي شيء لمنع حدوث ذلك.

هناك ستة أنواع معروفة من الهندسة الجيولوجية الشمسية / إدارة الإشعاع الشمسي:
  1. حقن الهباء الجوي في الستراتوسفير
  2. اشراق السحابة البحرية
  3. تأثير المحيط كالمرآة
  4. ترقق الغيوم
  5. المحاصيل والمباني عالية البياض
  6. عاكسات شمسية فضائية

حقن الهباء الجوي في الستراتوسفير
النظرية
هذا ليس مفهوما جديدا تماما. وهي مستمدة من ظاهرة تحدث بشكل طبيعي: عندما تنفجر البراكين تنفق ملايين من الأطنان من جزيئات الكبريتات العاكسة (او في شكل ثاني أكسيد الكبريت أو كبريتيد الهيدروجين أو حمض الكبريتيك) في الستراتوسفير. لذا تهدف هذه التقنية إلى إرسال طائرة تحمل "بالون" ضخم يحمل هباء عاكس وحقنه في الستراتوسفير. يمكن أن تعمل هذه الهباء كعاكسات تعكس أشعة الشمس بعيدًا عن الغلاف الجوي للأرض وتؤدي إلى تبريد كوكب الأرض.

الجوانب السلبية
لا يزال هناك الكثير مما لا نفهمه حول هذه التقنية ولدينا فقط النماذج التي قدمت لنا معلومات محدودة حول ما سيحدث إذا تم تنفيذ هذه التقنية على نطاق أوسع.
إطلاق الهباء الجوي في الستراتوسفير يعني أنه يجب عليهم تأخير تجديد طبقة الأوزون التي تحمينا من أشعة الشمس الضارة.

على المستوى العالمي ، سيكون صعب للغاية تنفيذ هذه التقنية إذا لم توافق جميع البلاد على المشاركة في التجربة وعلى المستوى السياسي ، فهناك جوانب كثيرة لهذه التقنية تحتاج الى المناقشة ، بما في ذلك البلدان التي يمكن ترى تأثيرات ضارة من حقن الهباء الجوي و البلدان التي لا توافق على استخدام هذه التقنية في الستراتوسفير فوق بلادهم. لاستخدام هذه التقنية على نطاق واسع ، يجب على معظم البلاد الموافقة على استخدامها والمشاركة فيها.
بالإضافة إلى ذلك ، هناك احتمال أن يتم إيقاف حقن الهباء الجوي وبمجرد إيقافه تمامًا ، يمكن أن تعود درجات الحرارة العالمية إلى ما كانت عليه وتتسبب في حدوث ارتباك جماعي في مناخ الكوكب.

اشراق السحابة البحرية
النظرية
البحار مغطى بغيوم ستراتوس أوصى العلماء بإرسال سفن لرش المياه المالحة في الغيوم لجعلها أفتح وأكثر إشراقًا ، مما ينتج عنه سحب أكثر بياضًا وأكثر انعكاسًا- يمكن أن تعكس أشعة الشمس مرة أخرى إلى الفضاء وتساعد على تبريد الأرض.


الجوانب السلبية
العديد من الابحاث تقترح أنك ستحصل على تأثيرات محلية باستخدام هذه التقنية ، لكن لا يزال من غير الواضح كيف يمكن أن تؤثر اشراق السحب البحرية فعليًا على الطقس عبر القارات المختلفة. تشير بعض الدراسات إلى أنها ستساعد في التبريد العالمي ، والغطاء الجليدي بينما تشير دراسات أخرى إلى أنه يمكن أن يغير المناخ بشكل جذري في قارات معينة ، مما يزيد الأمر سوءًا بالنسبة لهم ، أي التغيرات في أنماط العواصف والأمطار ودورة المحيطات والبيولوجيا المحلية.

تأثير المحيط كالمرآة
النظرية
تتطلب هذه التقنية أسطولًا من السفن البحرية التي تعمل على إنتاج ملايين الفقاعات الصغيرة على سطح المحيط. هذا يخلق رغوة البحر التي ، بطريقة مماثلة لإشراق السحب البحرية ، تعكس أشعة الشمس مرة أخرى إلى الفضاء ، وتبريد كوكب الأرض.

الجوانب السلبية
إنشاء طبقة من الفقاعات الصغيرة يمكن أن يعكس على سطح المحيط الضوء وتضر بالنظم الإيكولوجية البحرية التي تعتمد على ضوء الشمس لتزدهر. على الرغم من أن العديد من الدراسات الحديثة تناقضت ذلك وتقول إن تأثير المحيط كالمرآة لن يؤثر على النظم الإيكولوجية البحرية.

يجب الحفاظ باستمرار على الفقاعات الصغيرة الموجودة على سطح المحيط ، وبالتالي ستحتاج السفن اللازمة لإنشاء الفقاعات إلى استخدام الكثير من الطاقة لتغطية سطح المحيطات بالفقاعات الصغيرة ، والتي من المحتمل أن تكون في شكل الوقود الأحفوري أو ممكن يتم تشغيل السفينة على مصادر الطاقة المتجددة - تكون افضل.

ترقق الغيوم
النظرية
غيوم السيروس هي السحب الرقيقة على ارتفاعات عالية ، والتي تتكون من بلورات الجليد. على الرغم من أنها تعكس بعض أشعة الشمس، أنها تمتص أيضا الكثير من إشعاع الموجات طويلة مما يؤدي إلى ارتفاع حرارة الكوكب. إزالة هذه السحب (مع جزيئات الهباء الجوي) سوف تخفف من تأثير الاحتباس الحراري لسحب السيروس.

الجوانب السلبية
ليس هناك ما يضمن أن هذه التقنية ستزيل سحب السيروس ، بدلاً من ذلك ، يمكن إنشاء سحب أكثر سماكة ، وبالتالي زيادة تأثير الاحترار بدلاً من إزالته. هناك أيضًا الكثير من الأسئلة التي تحيط بالجوانب الأخرى لنظام المناخ ، مثل الدوران الجوي وحتى يتم الرد عليها ، ستظل هذه التقنية نظرية فقط.

المحاصيل والمباني عالية البياض
نظرية
تزين أسطح المباني باللون الابيض الزاهي ، مما يزيد من بياض المباني. هذا يعني أن سطح المبنى سيعكس المزيد من الأشعة الشمسية الى الفضاء، حتى يبرد الكوكب. كما رأينا في جميع المباني البيضاء في سانتوريني باليونان و البلاد حول البحر الأبيض المتوسط.

الجوانب السلبية
هذه طريقة أقل إثارة للجدل لإدارة الإشعاع الشمسي ، لكنها لا تملك القدرة على أن يكون لها تأثير كبير على درجات الحرارة العالمية. تستخدم الدول على طول البحر المتوسط ​​والشرق الأوسط هذه التقنية لتخفيف ضغوط الموجات الحارة وخفض درجات الحرارة خلال فصل الصيف. هذا هو نهج على نطاق أصغر مقارنة مع التقنيات المذكورة أعلاه.

عاكسات شمسية فضائية  
النظرية
مثل المرآة ، تستخدم هذه التقنية مرآة عملاقة أو أسطول من المرايا اطلقت في الفضاء ، لتدور حول الأرض وتعكس المزيد من أشعة الشمس بعيدًا عن الأرض. سيتم تحديد حجم المرآة أو المرايا حسب مقدار ضوء الشمس الذي يمكن أن ينعكس نحو الفضاء ، وبالتالي منع زيادة مستويات ثاني أكسيد الكربون ، وبالتالي تقل درجة الحرارة.

الجوانب السلبية
إطلاق مرآة عملاقة في الفضاء يمثل تحديًا تقنيًا كبيرًا ، وإذا تجاوزت تلك العقبة ، فإن محاولة الاحتفاظ بها في الفضاء هي عقبة أخرى.

...

التقنيات المذكورة أعلاه هي كل أشكال إدارة الإشعاع الشمسي ، لكنها حتى الآن مجرد نظريات أو تجارب على نطاق صغير. وهي أيضًا خطة ب إذا لم تنجح الخطة أ (السيطرة على الغازات الدفيئة أولاً). هناك أيضًا خوف من أن توفير تقنيات "الخطة ب" يمكن أن يؤدي إلى اعتقاد الناس أنهم جميعًا حلول سريعة وأن السياسيين يتراجعون عن وعودهم بخفض الانبعاثات الدفيئة.  

....
هذه هي الأنواع الستة المختلفة للهندسة الجيولوجية الشمسية التي يفكر فيها الباحثون حاليًا ، وقد بدأت المملكة المتحدة في الاتجاه نحو إدارة الإشعاع الشمسي وتنظيمها ، وتتطلع إلى بدء مناقشات حول تنظيم الهندسة الجيولوجية الشمسية على نطاق واسع. لأن هذه التكنولوجيا المهمة التي لديها القدرة على تغيير مناخ الكوكب تحتاج إلى الكثير من التنظيم قبل انتشارها في الستراتوسفير.

المراجع: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
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This is the most important part of your bachelors, masters or doctorate degree so it's important you know what you're doing so you hit the ground running and don't waste valuable time being lost.
When I was completing my bachelors' dissertation I was completely lost, even though I enjoyed working in the lab, I didn't enjoy the overall process and it left me really stressed and anxious. I only found out the aim of my research once I had completed and submitted my project. Granted I did get a good grade on it and it's still a piece of work I'm proud of, but if I could go back and do things differently or focus on specific parts of it, I would.
Click here to read all about my bachelors' project. 

So here are a few tips on how to go about your dissertation:

BE VERY ORGANISED FROM THE BEGINNING
To be successful in anything you have to be organized. This doesn't mean you have to be a perfectionist but enough to be able to locate everything you need without "dumping the entire contents of your bag on the floor just to find your pen!"


HAVE A FILING SYSTEM
I learned this filing system from my previous employment and still use it today. It's efficient and easy to locate and work from. Also, please name your files. Please don't call them "abfjhfjfhgfksfkl" or "draft1" that won't be helpful in the long run.

FOLDERS AND SUBFOLDERS

HOW I NAME MY FILES AND THE FOLDER THEY'RE STORED IN

ALL OF THE FOLDERS FOR THE PAPERS I READ

And this is how I title my documents:

[DATE]_[DOCUMENT TITLE SHORTENED]_[DRAFT0]

GET A LAB NOTEBOOK
Keeping a notepad/lab notebook or a virtual one is going to help you keep up with all of the research and thoughts you'll compile into the written dissertation. It will also be useful to look back and read through your experiments and previous trials which worked or didn't work and help you organise your work and time more efficiently.

This is the notebook I used for my bachelor's project and master's thesis (a bit expensive but it's a hardcover and fancy)

This notebook is also cute from the Etsy shop called Science On A Post Card (and it won't break the bank!)


KNOW ALL YOUR DEADLINES FROM THE VERY BEGINNING
These should be given to you before the project starts so you know what you need and schedule your project accordingly.


CREATE AN EXCEL TABLE (LIKE THIS) OF ALL OF THE PAPERS YOU ARE READING FROM THE VERY BEGINNING
This is something I've seen that everyone who used it found very helpful. I personally found out when it was too late to start it (halfway through the dissertation!). This will greatly help you complete the literature review and your proposal. Follow this link which details how to conduct a good literature review.


USE THE THREE-PASS METHOD FOR READING LITERATURE / SCIENTIFIC  PAPERS
This link explains it in detail.


READ THIS BOOK IT WILL GUIDE YOU
I cannot recommend this book enough, it really is helpful to all students, especially if you're in the social sciences. You can find it in the university library or access it online.


REGULAR MEETINGS WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR
Meeting bi-weekly or whenever is suitable with your supervisor means you can sort out any issues quicker, discuss your results and make sure you fully understand what's required of you for this big project. This link includes useful advice on how to prepare for your meeting with your supervisor so you get the most out of it as possible.



GET ADVICE FROM YOUR PEERS/ OTHER LECTURERS
At STS we had the option to give a 10-minute presentation on our dissertations so that we could get advice from our peers and other supervisors. I  seriously found this really helpful because they helped me make a very important decision in the project.



RESEARCH METHODS
Make sure you know all of the various research methods that are available to you to use. This will be either qualitative or quantitative. This is the basis of your project, so ensure you pick the right one for your work.



WRITE, WRITE, WRITE ALL THE TIME AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

Most of the recommendations I received on thesis/dissertation completion revolved around writing! So here's a round-up of my fellow researchers' tips:
  1. Writing is the hardest part!
  2. No matter how great of a writer you are, you will get lots of revisions (and that's OK! constructive criticism on your work will help you develop your work and transform it into a great thesis!)
  3. Writer's block happens but always write your ideas down and you can always edit later
  4. Start with an outline!


YOUR PROPOSAL ISNT THE BE ALL END ALL OF THE PROJECT THERE IS ROOM TO GROW AND ADAPT THINGS
We all think that we know what we're going to end up with when we start a project but that's not how it works all the time. Usually, there are things that come up that may require that you change something in your hypothesis or your research method may change depending on how much time you have.



MAKE SURE YOU SAVE YOUR WORK IN MULTIPLE PLACES / USB'S / DRIVES / CLOUDS
It is 2019. There are no excuses. Save everything a million times because laptops aren't reliable and things can disappear from USB sticks, or get stolen so save everything to several places, in clouds and hard drives so you don't end up losing your valuable work a week before the deadline.



DONT LEAVE EVERYTHING TO THE LAST MINUTE
This is really obvious but there's no point in leaving everything to a month or a week before the deadline. It's irresponsible and shows that you don't really care about your work.



  • If you have any questions or other tips you can add to this blog post leave them in the comments below, please! 



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I have come to notice one thing, scientists can be rather condescending and mean to anyone who seems to have any arguments against scientific theories and facts. Especially when you’re not a scientist. In fact, some can be downright awful and make fun of you. This defensiveness appears when we scientists think you’ve made some outlandish remark about a fact that we’ve known for centuries…fact being the key word here. It’s amazing to me how little time scientists spend explaining what the difference between fact and theory actually is. What qualifies a fact to be considered the fact, is it simply the complete truth? And if so, why do some individuals attempt to discredit science at every given opportunity?


I was fortunate to have a rather eccentric lecturer during my degree who once said: “at school, we teach you a bag of lies. At GCSE we teach you a slightly better bag of lies. At A-Level a slightly better bag of lies than that and at the undergraduate and beyond this will be the best bag of lies we have to give you”. And it is remarkably true. It did have me thinking though, we spend so much time teaching what is scientific fact and what is scientific theory we spend so little time trying to explain how we’ve come to call facts as facts. For example, we are taught that matter is made up of atoms, which themselves are made up of sub-atomic particles such as protons, neutrons and electrons. Have you ever thought how exactly we came to know this, how many experiments had to be carried out before a consensus was reached? Or the ingenuity that must have been required to develop those experiments at a time whose technology we would consider primitive by today’s standards? Yet, and by no means the fault of our teachers, we are simply taught that this is a fact.

A scientific fact is not something that can be proven, actually, it’s the opposite. It is the very observation of nature we cannot disprove. We try and find other explanations for the observation until the only explanation left must be the “truth” i.e. the fact. For example, suppose I told you wood is solid. Bear with me here! To prove that wood is a solid we first test it against whether it is a liquid or a gas. So, we know that wood does not have a low density, it has a finite shape and cannot be compressed or expanded, it doesn’t undergo diffusion and doesn’t have a pressure. In other words, we’ve disproven that it is a gas. Similarly, its particles are fixed, that is to say, they don’t necessarily attract one another they are already bonded to one another. It doesn’t flow, and it doesn’t evaporate. So it’s not a liquid. By this, you would say that all that it is left is to state that it is solid and if we looked up our definition of a solid we find that wood fits into that category by disproving the other two.

On the flip side, a scientific theory is our best explanation for observing our environment. A scientific theory allows us one of the most powerful concepts we have been able to harness: prediction. The ability to make predictions has underpinned modern society, from predictions concerning semiconductor materials to predictions regarding drug discovery. Predictions push science forward and sometimes, it’s important to remember that predictions can be wrong.

Whisper it with me, predictions can be wrong.

It feels so taboo saying a prediction could be wrong, but in science, we are wrong far more than we are right. Scientific theories are built as a foundation for scientific fact. Even though we may claim to be somewhat smart beings, there are limitations to the technologies we build to probe nature as well as limitations to our own understanding. This leads to limitations and boundaries within which scientific theories are valid.

I feel that in today’s world the terms scientific fact and scientific theory have become so cross-pollinated that we have forgotten that what each mean and the limitations of each term. Scientific facts are not right because we say so, they are right because nature gave us no choice to accept them and nature, unfortunately at times, really does not care whether or not we like that choice. Scientific theories are right…usually to a certain extent and can also be wrong.

And on that note, I will leave you with a quote from Isaac Asimov:

“The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny…” – Isaac Asimov.


About the Author: Yousaf Khan

Yousaf is a final year chemistry PhD student and he is currently researching new methods of synthesis of photovoltaic materials that are cheaper to produce and more efficient.

As a chemistry student, he has always wanted help to communicate science and express what he finds so absolutely fascinating about the subject he loves. Yousaf is on Instagram @yousaf.w.khan


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I have given a number of presentations, however, up until recently presentations were something I would hide from and try to avoid at all costs because of my nerves.  But thanks to my philosophy of science lecturer, I gave a presentation which gave me the confidence to fight the voices in my head that scare me away from giving presentations. So, I want to give you some tips that I've learnt along the way. This isn't to say that I'm 100% perfect at giving presentations, there is a lot I need to work on too, but these tips have helped me give good presentations that got good marks.

In the midst of giving my thesis presentation. I use my hands a lot to explain my work LOL.

1) KNOWLEDGEYou will be giving the presentation, therefore you are the teacher now, so you need to fully understand the topic of your presentation so that when you are presenting you are confident in your knowledge of the subject and even if you forget your cue, you will know the gist of what you need to say. You will need to efficiently transfer your knowledge to your audience, so you need to be able to communicate it efficiently and without difficult jargon.

2) PRACTISEPractise makes perfect! (I'm sure you've heard this a million times already) You need to practise your presentation, what you're going to say exactly, how you'd like to present it and how long the presentation is going to take. The rule is always one slide per minute. So a 10-minute presentation will require 10 slides maximum. Use your friends, flatmates, course mates, parents to practise your presentation and use their feedback to prepare for the actual day.

3) STYLEWhat is your presentation style?
There are many ways to give a presentation. It doesn't have to be a PowerPoint and you standing in front of it. You can give out handouts with your presentation. You can forgo slides altogether and give a talking presentation or you can have both. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

SOME PRESENTATIONS WILL REQUIRE SLIDES, ALWAYS ASK YOUR TUTORS BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES TO PRESENTATION STYLE SO YOU DON'T WASTE ANY MARKS.

4) SLIDESWhat do you want your slides to look like?
You want to keep them minimal, simple and absolutely do not fill the whole page with text. People are not there to read your slides, they're there to hear what you have to say.
I personally prefer to keep my slides and cues for what I'd like to say, have little to no text and images that can represent what's going to be discussed. Therefore, I won't depend on reading the slides and prevent sounding monotonous.

The presentation should have the same structure as a story. It needs a beginning (introduction), a middle (the aim/explanation of the presentation) and an end (conclusion summarising what you've said). This ensures there's flow and clarity to your message.

5) FEARFear and nervousness are normal feelings to have when you need to present a presentation but they can sometimes prevent us from giving a good presentation. I have had nerves when I present a presentation, I feel shaky and have sweaty palms. But when I start presenting the nerves start to fade away because I realise that I am in control, I know my topic and there really isn't anything to worry about.

Why do we get these nerves? It's the fear of being judged when you have all eyes on you and focused on every single word you're saying.
In actual fact, NO ONE, I REPEAT NO ONE IS JUDGING YOU! Everyone will genuinely be interested in what you have to say or.... some people will be absent-minded.

What's the worst that can happen? Nothing! or you'll just get a grade you don't like!

5+1) JOKESIf it helps, add in some jokes to your presentation (be careful with this) they will help lighten up with a mood of the room and make sure you have everyone's attention.

Do you have any other tips on how to give presentations? Leave them in the comments below. 
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(Arabic translation below)


The beauty of the human race is in our differences and our differences in opinions. But often, some strong opinions held by a group of people can lead to detrimental effects on our planet and our health (i.e climate change deniers and the anti-vaccination movement). Basically what I'm trying to say is that we need to stop expecting ignorance and think of a new way to engage in an active discussion with anti-vaccinators in the hope of fixing the damage caused by the anti-vaccination movement.

As we entered 2019, the World Health Organization reported “vaccine hesitancy” as one of the top ten threats to global health. This is something that did not surprise me, and to be honest I think this comes at least a decade too late. The anti-vaccine movement has seen rapid growth in the past two decades as technology has evolved (easier to get to people through social media) and with the endorsement of celebrities. Diseases, which we believed were eradicated, such as measles, have made a return, the WHO reports there has been a 30% increase in measles cases globally. Can you believe that?!

This means there has been continuous miscommunication which has resulted in a significant number of people hesitating to vaccinate themselves or their children. These people are commonly labelled as anti-vaccinators. In all honesty, and this isn't something new, pro-vaccinators, including myself, have questioned the intelligence (or should I say ignorance) of anti-vaccinators. And this has been the basis of the thought process of some scientists/healthcare professionals/science communicators when dealing with anti-vaccinators online.

Sometimes, communicating with someone who doesn't want to even listen to your correction of a misunderstanding they have can be frustrating, as if your talking to a brick wall. This leads you to think they're ignorant. Anti-vaccinators are adamant on their negative views of vaccination and hold onto their opinions more when their opinions are opposed by scientific facts.

Recently I’ve started to think that this method of communication simply does not work, patronising an anti-vaccinator makes them stick to their wrong thoughts even more. Nobody likes to be talked down to - a key science communication lesson we all know but maybe don’t execute very well in difficult-to-communicate situations.

My master's thesis was on studying online blogs which discuss vaccination, this included the pro-vaccinator, anti-vaccinator, and “neutral” bloggers. To my surprise, anti-vaccinators used scientific research (specifically discredited scientific research and statistics)  to misinform themselves of the “dangers” of vaccination. Anti-vaccinators also do not dumb down names of vaccines to the “flu vaccine” or “measles vaccine” they label them with the scientific code of the vaccine and are always trying to “do their own research” online. This means that we are dealing with a part of society who should absolutely not be ridiculed. They need to be spoken to with professionalism and the RIGHT people should speak to them. Besides, fans of ‘Dr Google’ and ‘Do Your Own Research’ need to understand that Google isn't a replacement for healthcare professionals and scientific research has its specific platforms that are constantly regulated for the benefit of the public.

As for us science communicators… even though we're all equipped with scientific information and statistics, ready to present them at any given chance, we need to think about HOW we are going to change our narrative to one that can reach anti-vaccinators by avoiding the underestimation their intelligence but also correcting the wrong facts and controversies they cling on to. It has been done many years ago and we can do it again.  

I really recommend watching this video, an actual discussion between pro-vaccinators and anti-vaccinators. I don't know whether any anti-vaccinators changed their minds but it is a good place to start to start the conversation.

Pro-Vaccine vs Anti-Vaccine: Should Your Kids Get Vaccinated? - YouTube


Also, Dr Mike has a great video where he answers a lot of questions regarding vaccine hesitancy and also the patient-doctor relationship (reassuring you that doctors aren't out there to harm us or are following some evil agenda).  

The Thing About Vaccines... | Vaccine Controversies | Doctor Mike - YouTube

This video by ASAPscience also gives a great explanation of vaccine controversies and also has Arabic subtitles!
Debunking Anti-Vaxxers - YouTube



لماذا نحن بحاجة إلى التحدث مع مكافحي التطعيم - مقاله رأي

إن جمال الجنس البشري هو في اختلافاتنا واختلافاتنا في الآراء. ولكن احيانا ، يمكن لبعض الآراء القوية التي تحتفظ بها مجموعة من الناس أن تؤدي إلى آثار ضارة على كوكبنا وصحتنا (مثل منكري تغير المناخ وحركة مكافحة التطعيم). ببساطه  كل ما أحاول أن أقوله هو أننا بحاجة إلى التوقف عن توقع الجهل والتفكير في طريقة جديدة للانخراط في مناقشة نشطة مع مكافحة التلقيح على أمل إصلاح الأضرار الناجمة عن حركة مكافحة التلقيح.

عندما دخلنا عام 2019 ، أعلنت منظمة الصحة العالمية عن "تردد في التطعيم" كواحد من أكبر عشرة تهديدات للصحة العالمية. هذا شيء لم يفاجئني ، ولكي أكون أمينا ، أعتقد أن هذا متاخر عشر سنوات على الأقل. شهدت حركة مكافحة اللقاح نمواً سريعاً في العقدين الماضيين حيث تم تطوير التكنولوجيا (يسهل الوصول إليهم من خلال وسائل التواصل الاجتماعي) وبتأييد المشاهير. وقد حققت الأمراض ، التي اعتقدنا أنها استأصلت ، مثل الحصبة ، عودة ، وتشير تقارير منظمة الصحة العالمية إلى أن هناك زيادة بنسبة 30٪ في حالات الحصبة على مستوى العالم. يمكنك أن تصدق ذلك؟!

وهذا يعني أن هناك سوء فهم مستمر أدى إلى تردد عدد كبير من الناس في تطعيم أنفسهم أو أطفالهم. عادة ما يطلق على هؤلاء الأشخاص اسم مكافحين التلقيح. بكل صدق ، وهذا ليس شيئًا جديدًا ، لقد شكك المؤيدون للتطعيم ، بما فيهم أنا ، في ذكاء (أو يجب أن أقول جهلًا) لمناهضي التطتعيم. وقد كان هذا هو أساس التفكير لبعض العلماء / المتخصصين في الرعاية الصحية / المتخصصين في العلوم عند التعامل مع مكافحين التلقيح على الإنترنت.

في بعض الأحيان ، قد يكون التواصل مع شخص لا يريد حتى الاستماع إلى تصحيح سوء فهم لديه ، محبطًا ، كما لو كنت تتحدث إلى جدار من الطوب. هذا يقودك إلى الاعتقاد بأنهم جاهلون. يصر مكافحين التلقيح على وجهات نظرهم السلبية من التطعيم والاحتفاظ في آرائهم أكثر عندما يتم معارضة ( وتصحيح) آرائهم بالحقائق العلمية.

مؤخرا بدأت أفكر في أن طريقة التفكير و التواصل هذه ببساطة لا تعمل ، حيث أن الاستهزاء بأحد مكافحين التلقيح يجعلهم يلتزمون بأفكارهم الخاطئة بشكل أكبر. لا أحد يحب أن يتم التحدث إليه  بطريقه فيها استهزاء- وهو درس أساسي في التواصل العلمي نعرفه جميعًا ولكن ربما لا يتم تنفيذه جيدًا في المواقف الصعبة.

كانت رسالة الماجستيري تدور حول دراسة على مدونات الإنترنت التي تناقش التطعيم ، وهذا يشمل مؤيدين للتطعيمات ومكافحين التلقيح والمدونين "المحايدين". لدهشتي ، استخدم مكافحين التلقيح البحوث العلمية (على وجه التحديد الأبحاث العلمية والإحصاءات غير الموثوقة) لتضليل أنفسهم عن "أخطار" التطعيم. كما لا يقوم مكافحين التلقيح أيضًا بتخفيض أسماء اللقاحات إلى "لقاح الإنفلونزا" أو "لقاح الحصبة" ، حيث يضعونها تحت الرمز العلمي للقاح ويحاولون دائمًا إجراء أبحاثهم الخاصة عبر الإنترنت. هذا يعني أننا نتعامل مع جزء من المجتمع لا ينبغي أن يكون سخرية على الإطلاق. يجب أن يتم التحدث إليهم باحترافية ويجب على الناس الصحيحه في التحدث إليهم. إضافةً إلى ذلك ، يحتاج معجبي ’دوكتور جوجل و ’قم بالبحث الخاصه بك‘ إلى إدراك أن جوجل ليست بديلاً للعاملين في مجال الرعاية الصحية وأن الأبحاث العلمية لها منصاتها الخاصة التي تخضع لتنظيم دائم لصالح الجمهور.

بالنسبة لنا نحن رواد التواصل العلمي ... على الرغم من أننا جميعًا مجهزون بمعلومات وإحصائيات العلمية ، وعلى استعداد لتقديمها في أي فرصة ، فنحن بحاجة إلى التفكير في كيفية تغيير سردنا إلى قصة يمكن أن تصل إلى مكافحين التلقيح تجنب التقليل من ذكاءهم ولكن أيضا تصحيح الحقائق الخاطئة والخلافات التي يتشبثون بها. لقد قمنا بذلك منذ سنوات عديدة ويمكننا القيام به مرة أخرى.

إنني أوصي حقًا بمشاهدة هذا الفيديو ، وهو مناقشة فعلية بين المؤيدين للتلقيح ومكافحين اللقاحات. لا أعرف إذا كان أي من مكافحي اللقاحات قد غير رأيه ، لكنه مكان جيد لبدء المحادثة.

أيضا ، يوجد لدى الدّكتور مايك فيديو رائع حيث يجيب على الكثير من الأسئلة حول تردد اللقاح وأيضا العلاقة بين المريض والطبيب (يطمئنك بأنّ الأطباء ليسوا هناك لإلحاق الضرر بنا أو يتابعون جدول أعمال شريره).

هذا الفيديو من ASAPscience يعطي أيضا تفسيرا عظيما عن الخلافات اللقاحية ولديه أيضا ترجمة باللغة العربية!



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