Dr Chris Emdin + GZA + The Bronx + Science + Hip Hop = Geek Out Science Genius

GZA

Hello All,

It’s Friday Geek Out time. I am so excited to introduce to you Dr Chris Emdin’s work as I have been slowly but surely developing the same concept here in London and cannot wait for one of my best friends who is a MC to finish a Science of Rap book project we have been working on (hint-hint). Dr Chris Emdin is a Professor of Math, Science and Technology and works for the Colombia Teachers College teaching at New York inner city schools. Christopher is the author of “Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation”. Dr Emdin’s work has been featured on Good Day NY, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, in The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine and others AND if that was not enough to wow you, he is also very handsome and extremely dapper *swoon*.

DrChris1

Currently, one of my clients is a inner city London science specialist school and the biggest challenge is engaging the young boys and girls with Science. I cannot tell you how much it hurts my heart to hear them say “Science is boring Miss”. Much like Dr Chris Emdin, my first point of call is to find out what they do find interesting, which is more often than not music and/or football and use that as a bridge to engage them actively with the science topic at hand. It always works a treat, despite my mediocre “rapping” technique, although thankfully my knowledge of football is good enough to pass ( I was called a G by the “leader” of my year 10 troublesome Science group last week, I told him I wasn’t his G and to refer to me as Dr E but secretly inside I was jumping for joy).

Hip-Hopeducation1

Click play on the video’s below and be inspired by the amazing work Dr Chris Emdin is doing in the Bronx and watch the young boys faces in part two when GZA from the Wu Tang Clang walks into the classroom. It is absolutely priceless.

Part one introduces Dr Chris Emdin and the program

Part two introduces GZA to the program

Also, I found this short comic relief skit with Catherine Tate & David Tennant to give you an understanding of how hard it can be for teachers to do the job at hand their when even one student is not engaged and disinterested in the subject.

Unfortunately, I have been into many science classes where this is the case. Please share this post with your teacher friends, your family and extended family. Let us start using creative ways to keep our young people in-line as GZA would say and use some of the things they enjoy and find interesting to engage them fully with Science or any other subject for that matter.

Hope you enjoyed the read, have a blessed weekend and remember genius is never impossible and always possible especially when we all work together like Dr Chris Emdin and GZA have just shown us. Peace.

GZA_DrChrisEyman

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Chinese Doctors Build A New Nose…On A Man’s Forehead! Science, B*$€#.

BreakingBad

Hello Geeks and Happy Friday,

This week, two stand out events occurred that I wanted to share with you. The first being that the last episode of Breaking Bad was aired (sad times). I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to all the BB fans, I feel you. I thoroughly enjoyed watching this series and I am not a big TV person. If you have not been following it, especially if you are a science geek like myself, I urge you to watch it. I promise you will not be disappointed, the show is very well written, the development of the characters and scripting is outstanding and the filming is amazing. Top notch telly.

The second event was the sensationalised media storm that occurred around the man with the nose grown on his forehead. Usually, I try to stay away from sensationalised science journalism but I was asked about this enough times by both my adult friends and the kids at School to want to address it. The story goes that a surgeon in China says he has constructed an extra nose out of a man’s rib cartilage and implanted it under the skin of his forehead to prepare for a transplant in probably the first operation of its kind. Surgeon Guo Zhihui at Fujian Medical University Union Hospital in China’s south-eastern province of Fujian spent nine months cultivating the graft for a 22-year-old man whose nose was damaged (please note that when Doctors progress to Consultant Surgeons, they drop the Dr title and are referred to as Mr or Miss/Mrs again).

The striking images of the implant with the nostril section facing diagonally upward on the left side of the man’s forehead drew widespread publicity after they began to circulate in Chinese media last week. Guo plans to cut the nose from the forehead while leaving a section of skin still connected, and then rotate and graft it into position in a later operation. Although this seems like a new “Frankenstein” development in science, specifically plastic surgery, this type of operation is not completely new. Surgeons have previously used cartilage to help rebuild noses in their proper position and have been experimenting with growing new ones from stem cells on other parts of the body, such as a forearm (this technique is much “newer”). A nose graft grown from stem cells would also be prepared on another body part first, but this operation is using existing cartilage.

Nose_Forehead

The reason this story has been sensationalised lays with the fact that this is the first known case of building a nose on a forehead and the visual pictures, as seen above, are very striking to say the least. Guo is quoted as saying “We were just interested in helping the man and did not expect it would stir up this much attention,”. This I can believe as the Chinese are well known to push the frontiers of science and medicine. China has one of the worlds biggest scientific research communities and some of the biggest functioning research facilities in the world. They are more than capable. Alexander Seifalian, a professor of nanotechnology and regenerative medicine at University College London who has worked on transplants using stem cells, said implanting the nose graft in the forehead makes sense because the skin there has the same “structure and texture” as that of a nose. The rest of the scientific community is yet to see medical reports and data therefore they can only comment according to what has been said in the media.

The media reports that the patient lost part of his nose in an accident in August 2012 and did not immediately have any reconstruction surgery because he couldn’t afford it, Guo said. An infection later ate away much of his nose cartilage. Guo said his team examined what remained of the nose and concluded there would be little chance of viably grafting cartilage there, instead building the nose on the forehead. When the new nose is rotated into position and grafted, it will at first have its own blood supply from links to the forehead, before developing new blood vessels. Later surgery will smooth out all of the skin.The team first expanded skin on the man’s forehead for more than three months before using rib cartilage to build the nose bridge. Lastly, Guo’s team built the nostrils. “We sculpted the nose three-dimensionally, like carpenters,” he said.

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Click play on the video below and see the “carpenters” work, it is some kind of wonderful. Science rocks, they are about to give this man a new nose when all hope seemed lost post infection. Unbelievable.

Until next time, have a great weekend. Peace and blessings.

Eyman

Geek out with Rosalind Franklin, DNA, The Brain, and Queens.

Rosalind Frankin

Hello Geeks,

Hope you have all had a great week. As you know I made a commitment to make sure I wrote a post every Friday and today I must say I almost missed it but for good reason; it is my younger brothers birthday today and we spent most of the day playing Aunty and Uncle at the London Aquarium with our niece. Much fun was had and here I am at 9.42pm on a Friday evening, working on this post making sure I fulfil my commitment to you all.

I can’t help but geek out over and share with you one of my personal female role models in the world of genetics, and I am not alone; you may have noticed the google doodle tribute below on your home-screen yesterday. This is becasue it is the 60th Anniversary of Rosalind Franklin’s discovery at our very own Kings College London of the structure of DNA through X-ray images, the famous Photo 51. Yes, I said famous, and it is deserving of the word and you are about to learn why.

Rosalin_Franklin_94thThe images above and below denote one of the 20th century’s biggest scientific breakthroughs, and Rosalind Franklin is being celebrated for this contribution this weekend. Franklin’s Photo 51 below was one of the biggest contributing factors to helping us unlock the secret of DNA, even though she famously failed to share the Nobel Prize awarded to Francis Crick and James Watson for the work they admitted was built on her investigations. In-fact, it was “rumoured” that Franklin’s supervisor shared several of her images, including “Photo 51”, with James Watson without her knowledge or consent. Up until the time when they saw this particular image, Watson and Crick, had wrongly postulated that the DNA “backbone” was on the inside of the molecule. Her image pointed out their error in logic and they quickly revised their hypothesis and published it, which then led to them being awarded the Nobel Prize a few years later.

Photo 51

She got side-lined but this weekend she is being celebrated and recognised for her good work and efforts. Hard work always pays off in the end. The Guardian wrote up a brilliant article about her devotion to science research and her inspirational and pioneering career. She was finally recognised by the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine four years after her tragic death from ovarian cancer.

Tomorrow, Kings College is providing a free family open day at the University’s Cultural Institute at the East Wing of Somerset house. Visitors will be invited to watch real human brains being examined by anatomists, and learn about the wiring of the brain (not for the squeamish and an advisory age of 12 has been given). You will get the opportunity to meet with neuroscientists and learn about the structure of DNA upfront and close. The Institute is open from 11am-5pm.

It is also the last chance to visit the photographic exhibition of picture cells which of-course includes Franklin’s Photo 51. Schools are out, so this is a great opportunity for the family as a whole, aspiring medics and scientists, as well as everyday people geeks to get inspired.

I was trying to think of a fitting song tribute for this lady and as she is literally the Queen of Genetics, I finally settled on this ‘Queen’ by Janelle Monae feat Erykah Badu. I love this song and video for many reasons, too many to re-count here so click play below and enjoy!

Have a great weekend all.

E

Meet Ibrahim El-Salahi

Ibrahim_Salahi1Hello All,

Hope you have all been enjoying the glorious sunshine this past week in London, New-york, Paris and everywhere else in the world where the rays from that big ball of fire and light has touched.

This post is short and sweet and it is also not hugely scientific so a slight cheat, although like I said everything started with science including art! and this is my blog, so I am allowed to cheat once in a while especially when it is to big up one of my own.

I feel proud to tell you that the first Tate Modern exhibition dedicated to African Modernism traces the life and work of Ibrahim El-Salahi, a Sudanese artist. Sudan stand up. I am super excited to have the opportunity to support this great man from my home country.

“This major retrospective brings together 100 works from across more than five decades of his international career. The exhibition highlights one of the most significant figures in African and Arab Modernism and reveals his place in the context of a broader, global art history” Quote taken form the Tate site.

Ibrahim_Salahi2

We learn about Mr El-Salahi’s journey from Sudan in the 1950’s, his education in London and how he returned to Sudan in 1957 as a pioneer in the Art scene. His story is amazing, he shares his life, his joys, his deep spiritual faith and his dreams with you in his work and I urge you all to go and see it. It is showing from 3 July – 22 September 2013, do not miss it geeks.


Click on the video below and meet the man himself.

Also, while you are at the Tate you should also go see Meschac Gaba: Museum of Contemporary African Art also showing from 3 July – 22 September 2013.

Since the theme is Sudan here I’m going to introduce you to these beautiful young ladies who have re-created some of our cultural songs which I used to hear my grandmother and great aunts sing around a coal burning coffee pot. I absolutely love this rendition of this song and I hope you do too.

Thank you for reading, please share the information and have a great weekend everyone.

Eyman

Beauty By The Geeks

BeutyByGeeks1Hey Geeks,

The weather is beautiful in London today, it is hot and sunny, I kid you not. I am very excited about that. I Hope it is just as glorious everywhere else in the world. If you read my last blog post you will know what I have been up to lately and I remember mentioning to you that I wanted to introduce you to some of the amazing people I have been blessed to meet. This is the first of those introductions.

I geeked out when I came across Brigitte West and Rose Brown at the STEMettes event last month. Not only are they both lovely ladies, but they are also brilliant entrepreneurs who had an idea that they confidently nurtured creating a business that helps people understand the science behind beauty products. This in itself is inspiring but the amazing thing is, they achieved all of this while studying full time medical science degrees at university.  They are 21 and 20 years old respectively. Brilliant young ladies. And, they named the buisness Beauty By The Geeks. Whaaaat. Total geek out.

BeautyByGeeks2

Click on this link and find out how to make your own beauty products at home using ingredients from your kitchen. Also, see if you can catch them at the British Science Festival and if you work in a school or are a member of your parental governing body at your children’s school, suggest some of the educational courses they offer in and around England and help them make science more engaging (school girls love make-up whether parents like it or not, it is the the truth of our times so let us use it to our advantage and educate).

Keeping with the theme and because I miss Brazil and because it is perfect for this sunny day, click play and enjoy the sunshine with Pharrell and Snoop in Brazil.

Until next time, enjoy the sunshine and have a great weekend.

E

Can I live?

Can I liveSweater by my friend with skills on his label B-Side by Wale. For more click here.

Hello Geeks,

Firstly and most importantly I need to say a huge THANK YOU to you for all the lovely messages of support and appreciation I have received thus far. I do not have the words to convey to you how much it means to me to open my in-box after a few weeks and find so many encouraging messages. I know I have been very slack of late with my posts and so I wanted to take a moment to let you all in on what has unintentionally kept me away for so long.

This year has been exceptionally busy and I have learnt lots. I have definitely learnt that running your own consultancy business, writing a bog, teaching, caring for your parents and having a social life all at the same time totally messes with your time management scenario. However, you will be pleased to know that I think I have a handle on it all now and will be religiously aiming to put geeky science associated words to keyboard every Friday at the very least from this day on. Word to my mama (who is visiting from Sudan at the moment :-).

I wanted to give you a quick run down of some of the things I have been doing lately and let you in on what I’m working on next before moving onwards and upwards with the blog. I find it quite difficult to talk about myself in this context but I have been given strict advice by my mentor and good friends to start self promoting myself more, so here it goes. Of-course, I have “scientific” evidence to show for my lack of postings and self promotion in the form of stories and photographs you will be please to know.

I was asked to panel on the Africa Today show with Henry Bonsu to discuss the use of genetically modified foods in Africa. It was my first major TV experience and I was super nervous having only been asked to do it a few days before. I had a lot of fun and I am looking forwards to more experience in that area in the near future (watch this space).

TVA month or so later, I was invited to speak at Oxford University. I shared my experiences in science to date, my PhD research, my blog and what I thought the future of science education and research would be. It was an amazing experience, one that I will not forget and the food at the gala was immense.

Oxford1Oxford2I have also been busy giving lectures, talks and panelling at events in and around greater London, visiting schools, Universities as well as community groups. It has been humbling to meet so many varied people ranging from Essex to Lewisham to Eaton and I have learned so much in the process. The new generation of youngsters coming out of school are incredibly inspiring. I cant wait for the world to meet them.

SchoolThe most recent event I had the pleasure of being invited to panel on was hosted  at the Deutsche Bank head quarters in London for the STEMettes event aimed at presenting Women in Science Technology, Engineering and Maths. I met some amazing women and will be sharing more of that with you soon.

STEMettesI also just came back from an amazing vacation in Brazil, Salvador Bahia. I was starting to burn out and I have always been a firm believer in the concept that if you want to achieve great things you need to give your body the energy and love it needs to keep taking you upwards and onwards. So I listened, and ignored all the millions of reasons for why I should not take a break and listened to my tired body, mind and spirit and spent three weeks relaxing in the sun, sea and sand. It was bliss.

BahiaBeachSunsetI am so thankful for the blessings that I have been given so far and I have returned from Bahia with so much renewed energy. I am very excited about what’s coming next and look forwards to sharing with you. I will be adding a new subsection to my blog and it is going to be called Real Geeks where I will be interviewing some of the many new and interesting people I am meeting who I feel are total geeks who can share with us all some amazing stories about what they do and/or what they are passionate about in the world of science, art, health and more. It is going to be so much fun, I cant wait to share the first interview with you. In the meantime, I am going to share with you some new music that I love. If you do not have the new Omar album titled The Man, please do yourself a favour and buy it now. Click play below for a taster.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed reading my story and I’m looking forwards to writing and posting my next FIG post. Oh, I am also in the middle of designing a new logo for the blog that I will reveal soon, good times :-).  Have a great weekend all.

E

Geek Out: Angelina and family take on breast cancer

Angelina

Hello Geeks,

I want to start by saying thank you to all my followers, readers and sharers. It has been a few weeks since my last post, life sometimes throws you a curve ball that takes you off track but I am back on it now. I have received so many lovely messages asking me to write more and your support is invaluable. Thank you so much.

I am in the middle of writing up a few posts simultaneously, one of which is very dear to my heart but before I wrap them up and post them I wanted to share Angelina Jolie’s amazing story in which she shares with us her decision to have a preventative double mastectomy. I have always secretly admired this woman for her strength, leadership and fighting for what she believes in despite what the media or people say about her.

It was the first thing I read this morning and it resonated with me much for two reasons. One, my father suffers from cancer and although it was in remission for a while it came back full throttle early last year and it made me wonder about the chances of me and my siblings developing the same cancer. Two, I remembered writing a post a while back about how important it was for all women to do the monthly breasts check up for lumps, this is one of the simplest ways for us to take some preventative action and control. My favourite quote from Angelina’s story is “Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of”

Click here for her full story. Read it, share it and then go back to my post about breast cancer checks , in-fact I am going to re-post it right after this post. In the words of Angelina and Janet, take control ladies, only you can. Play Janet in the background and do it now, if you are at work take a toilet break and do it in the toilet, don’t procrastinate with your health.

Ex

Google Glass

GoogleGlass2

Hello Geeks,

I was surprised that when I mentioned Google Glass to my friends and colleagues in-order to find out what they thought about it, not all of them knew what I was talking about. Secretly, I think I also want to be a tech nerd because I get really excited about new technology, inventions and gadgets. I am super-excited about Google Glass, it feels like “The Future” that I imagined as a kid has finally arrived…well, almost.

On the 20th of February, Google finally released Google Glass to the public. However, the people at Google are very clever and have come up with a brilliant marketing strategy. You cannot go and simply buy Glass just yet, no that would be too easy and Apple have upped the game when it comes to creating hype around a product.

google glass

In-order to get your hands on one of these bad boys you have to enter an essay contest of sorts and apply to The Google Glass Explorers Programme (you can Google that if you want to know more or get involved). Once you have been selected as worthy by the Glass team, you also have to pay $1,500 dollars and they are yours to do as you please with; EXCEPT you are legally bound from re-selling it to anyone or Google will de-activate the product (I knew they always had control over our gadgetsl!). Don’t worry, if you do not want to be an explorer or write 50 words or less followed by the #ifihadglass, Google aims to bring Glass to the market early next year for all.

Click on the video below and get hyped.

Oh and please humour me and click on this video, too funny.

E

Utopia

utopia2

Hello All,

This is the first time I am recommending a TV series and when you watch it you will understand why Geeks. This is by far the best Channel 4 Drama series I have had the pleasure of viewing in..I can’t remember how long. The writing is brilliant and the content blew me away. Not only is the writing splendid in my humble opinion but the whole thing was easy on the eye as it is coupled with beautiful photography and filming. I even went to the trouble of taking a few screen shots to share with you.

utopia1utopia4

I am no stranger to the conspiracy theories thrown at scientists, as a geneticist you hear all sorts of theories such as the “fact” that human cloning has already been achieved (this seems to be everyone’s favourite) . This is the first Sci-Fi drama  that has really made me question some of the recent scientific developments and honestly made me question how powerful science can be in the wrong hands. I don’t want to give too much away so below is the summary provided by Channel 4 ;

The Utopia Experiments is a legendary graphic novel shrouded in mystery. But when a small group of previously unconnected people find themselves in possession of an original manuscript, their lives suddenly and brutally implode.

Targeted swiftly and relentlessly by a murderous organisation known as The Network, the terrified group are left with only one option if they want to survive: they have to run.

utopia3I urge you to log onto Channel 4OD and enjoy. You can thank me later.

Eyman

Fly me to the Moon

VG1

Hello Geeks,

It has been a while I know 🙂 How are you all? Let’s pick up where we left off and keep moving onwards and upwards.  I have a lot of posts which I had half-written but never got round to posting in the midst of life’s runaway process. Despite this, I still could not make my mind up about which one to post first, until I picked up the Metro this afternoon and saw the picture of Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic Spaceport and I geeked out. I couldn’t help it. This is actually going to happen. Look at this site. WOW.

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I remember reading about this proposal way back in 2005 when The State of New Mexico and Mr Branson told the world that Virgin Galactic would operate its space flights from Spaceport America in Mexico which would become “the world’s first purpose built commercial spaceport”.

I am sure most of us have had that internal dialogue that goes something like this “I want to go into space, how cool would that be! but that’s never going to happen as I’m not an astronaut, oh well  😦 ”

Well don’t you worry, if all goes according to plan by next-year, that’s right, by 2014 you can pay for the privilege to do just that. And by privilege, I literally mean for the privileged few who can afford the starting price for flights at $200,000 (with refundable deposits starting from $20,000).

Ok, so the truth is I’m hating. If I could do it, I would do it. Seriously, I think I would pay that much to go into Space. Not only would the experience be a once in a life-time experience for most, but Virgin Galactic are also providing researchers and their experiments access to space. They are offering two main types of research flights that would allow scientists and researchers to carry out experiments in the correct “environment”. To find out more about the research side of things click on this link.

Let me know what you think? would you or would you not pay for the experience?

I am putting it out into the Universe. I am going to be a passenger on one of these flights. Ok, I said it out loud :-). Now I am going to sit back and listen to this and do the Atmospheric Disco Strutt in my head. Join me please.

I wanted to start again with an nice and easy post, but get ready for the Science Theories section to blow up next.  Thank you for those of you that stayed faithful and sent me messages of encouragement. You support is very much appreciated. If you are new to the blog, welcome to the experiment. Spread the word and share.

Love and Light