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Astrobiology summer school: becoming a team online

In October 2020 I started my PhD with AstrobiologyOU at the Open University. Like many others starting PhDs during this time, I have been faced with the somewhat isolated world of working as a researcher from home.  As someone who loves any opportunity to meet people with similar interests to me, the weeklong AstrobiologyOU and STFC summer school sounded like the perfect chance to get to know people in my field. However, I wasn’t fully convinced by the concept of an online workshop.

8th March 2021

Diary of a Mars operations day

It’s the 8th of February, and I wake up at the usual time in the morning, snow has fallen over night, there are reports of disruptions from further north, but here in Milton Keynes it all just looks like a little bit of powdered sugar decorating the world out there – and covering the first tips of the snowdrops that were brave enough to come above ground a few days ago. But before I can get too romantic about it all, I better start thinking about my workday. 

10th February 2021
Bea Baharier standing in front of a green screen, next to a telescope. photographed through a light ring, behind which you can see the camera.

Can we all be Leonardo da Vinci?

I started my undergraduate studies later than most, when I was 24, and I didn’t feel I could keep up. I was struggling with dyslexia, and as an artist’s daughter, I didn’t have the necessary science background, I couldn’t afford nice clothes, I could hardly use a computer, a smartphone or a camera as my parents couldn’t afford them when I was younger. I focused as hard as I could on the science, but I felt invisible. I kept on thinking that I would never catch up in this rigged race. I wasn’t born for this and most of all, I resented art.

14th January 2021
AJ, a small brown and white dog, is sat perched on the edge of a desk in front of a laptop, blocking the view. With the words "AJ always helps me study" written in the top left corner.

Summer studentship during COVID-19

During my second year as an undergrad at the University of Manchester, I began to develop a great interest in Astrobiology. It all started with a book, of course… Prof Matthew Cobb, who was teaching evolution made a big impression on me through his lectures, because they did not feel like university lectures at all; he conveyed the material with such passion and articulation, I felt like I was watching a live popular science documentary. And he was always recommending books with some students even wondering whether the books were actually compulsory further reading!

5th January 2021
Pointing figure

Life of an Undergraduate

Decorated cake

Do you ever sit and wonder about the type of person that has written an article that you have been engrossed in or a book you couldn't put down?

You may wonder what their background is? Why they have written that particular article and what their favourite food might be? 

15th October 2020

From the field to the lab – a geologist’s perspective

Sognefjord, NorwayIn most films, geologists are portrayed as being outdoor types who love to have a few drinks after a successful field day. It also turns out that most geologists are predominantly good guys who tend to die quite frequently in movies 

6th October 2020

Can Space Technologies solve the Sustainable Development Goals?

FINDER device mounted on a droneFormed in global collaboration and agreed upon by 193 of the worlds 195 countries, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent a united vision of equality, justice, and sustainability for the future. 

10th September 2020

Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud

Fred Hoyle's The Black Cloud19 August 2020 is the date of the letter in the Prologue to Fred Hoyle’s first space science fiction novel, The Black Cloud, published in 1957. Born myself in 1957, I have been waiting all my life for an opportunity to write about The Black Cloud on this very date. 

19th August 2020

Scientific storytelling: A recipe for a peer-reviewed paper

sampling one of the springs on Axel Heiberg Island

Peer-reviewed journal articles, or scientific papers, are the bread-and-butter of scientific research. They are the primary means by which scientists communicate a ‘finding’ – a new piece of scientific knowledge- to others across the world and into future generations. 

10th August 2020

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