Science communication has bitten me like a bug and I love the effects! Through science communication, we as scientists get the precious opportunity to tell our science-related stories to the public. This sharing of scientific research and discoveries with non- experts in our different fields of expertise can be in the form of science exhibitions, written articles, talks/ presentations and media. My chosen modes of delivery are talks/ presentations and writing, for now. Science communication is essential as it educates and stimulates stronger cohesion between the public and science. Good science communication captures the imagination and ignites reasoning, debate and stronger science interest in society. IT’S AN EXCITING TIME TO BE A SCIENTIST.
In 2018 I had the privilege of being one of the nine speakers at the University of Cape Town who took part in the first Pint of Science South Africa. It was a life-changing experience that had me getting requests and invitations to give talks at different important entities. Taking part in Pint of Science was exciting, but most of all it was fun. Of course, the chair of the day, Professor Isabelle Ansorge made it such a thrilling event as she is a great hostess and sold me and our department to the audience on an advanced level. All the speakers had diverse topics and mine was to create awareness to the world that phytoplankton communities are saving us from ourselves by taking up carbon dioxide and compressing it into the deep ocean.
In 2017 I took part in FameLab South Africa where I became a national runner-up at the Cape Town heats. That competition was a game changer as it opened several opportunities for me in the science communication playing field. I can safely say I’m not too bad at science communication. In fact, after FameLab and Pint of Science, I somehow became a favourite, even getting emails from strangers because of recommendations, I became this favourite in terms of speaking in front of crowds about science, especially my own work which focuses on Marine Biogeochemistry. I was invited by several entities including the CSIR’s SOCCO, UCT’s Centre for Bioprocess Engineering Research, Southern African Post Doctoral Conference 2018 to either speak about my work or to be a judge. In November of 2018, the Centre for Excellence and Invasion Biology invited me to judge in their heat session finals at the University of Stellenbosch and I finally met and judged with the dynamic Professor Nox Makunga (who I idolise) and Dr Marinus de Jager who is an absolute gem. Special thanks to Dr Natasha Mothapo and Dr Elrike Marais.
The year 2018 was filled with science excitement and new adventures which have made me grow as a candidate researcher in sciences, generally, my presentation skills have been carved and these experiences challenged my flexibility as a science communicator. Below I share action shots of my numerous other talks (including Oceanography Dept UCT, South African Antarctic Programme Symposium 2018) I gave this year and I had fun with a sprinkle of anxiety every single time.