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.

BB_ScinceB%$£@

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

The Science Delusion and #teamslugslayer

ScienceDelusion

Happy Friday Geeks,

Hope you all had a great week. My week was amazing. It was amazing because one of my dearest friends and sister who was diagnosed with stage four cancer not too long ago received the greatest news from her Doctors. After only three cycles of chemotherapy treatment the cancer was found to have decreased by 30%. Words cannot truly express to you all the happiness and love I felt upon receiving this news, it was so so much I literally thought my heart was going to explode.

I am sharing this with you here because, this morning when I was going through my labelled folder of topics to write about and the first one I instinctively opened was the TED video by Rupert Sheldrake discussing his book titled The Science Delusion. I read the book earlier this year and really enjoyed it. His book dissects the often ignored statement that our current form of mechanistic materialism based on outdated “set” laws of physical matter or theory, is a detriment to scientific enquiry and is in-fact very destructive to the evolution of scientific research, and medicine in the modern world (note that non-modern Scientific enquiry started out as scientific philosophy based on the laws of the “gods” or “stars” thousands of years ago, all over the world from East to West).

He discusses how we can’t approach important mind-body topics such as consciousness or the origins of life while we still treat matter in 17th-century style as if it were dead, inert stuff, incapable of producing life. And we certainly can’t go on pretending to believe that our own experience – the source of all our thoughts – is just an illusion, which it would have to be if 17th-centuary style laws were indeed the only reality.

I am not going to go into it too much here in writing as I think Rupert does a good job of explaining it, with a sprinkle of humour, in his TED talk below. Instead I am going to share with you a short story.  When I was fresh in university as a first year undergraduate, my evolutionary genetics lecturer, who also happened to be my supervisor, would continuously pull me to the side after our once a week class and try to “negotiate” with me the “fact” that we evolved from monkeys. Now, I am a very faithful person, true to the name my grandmother (RIP) bestowed upon me which means faith. I would listen to his argument but was absolutely resolved in telling him I believed we came from Adam and Eve, and they were created by God; and God is the beginning and end of everything and nothing he could give me as proof would change my faith in that. He would get red faced and insisted he could not understand how I kept getting good grades if I didn’t believe in anything he was teaching me or I was writing down in my exam papers. I would always say, I understand the theory but that doesn’t mean I have to have faith in it and believe it.

I am a scientist and yes, I do understand and hold a lot of respect for the process and power of scientific inquiry, but I also believe in the power of God, the power of  our minds (not brains), the power of our souls and energy, as do hundreds of other scientists around the globe. My father is also a cancer sufferer and to this date he has beaten it three times alhamduliallah, the most recent being 6 months ago. He beat it with the aid of chemotherapy and amazing surgeons who have the skills and knowledge to remove the cancer. However, he also beat it due to his faith. Despite the pain of surgery and side-effects of chemotherapy, he would still pray 5 times a day, no matter what. He always maintained a positive attitude and was surrounded by an abundance of love and prayers from his family and friends. Each time the Doctors would be amazed by his recovery. Furthermore, every time his cancer re-appeared, it followed a very stressful and negative period in his life.

Rupert Sheldrake, who has long called for the need to develop medicine and science beyond the 17th century laws, spells out this need forcibly in his book. He shows how materialism only has gradually hardened into a kind of anti-faith, an ideology rather than a scientific principle, claiming authority to dictate theories and to veto inquiries on topics that don’t suit it, such as unorthodox medicine, let alone religion. He shows how completely alien this static materialism is to modern physics where matter is dynamic. He ends each chapter with some very intriguing “Questions for Materialists”, questions such as: “Have you been programmed to believe in materialism?”; “If there are no purposes in nature, how can you have purposes yourself?”; “How do you explain the placebo response?”; “How do you explain the thousands of spiritual healings that are reported annually?” and so on.

Click play below and hear him out.

My beautiful sister Yosra, who’s amazing news this week made my heart near explode from happiness is surrounded by a team of wonderful friends and family, globally, both near and far. She calls us her team of slug slayers, as she affectionately named her tumour the “slug”. We, under her guidance and love have been collectively showering her with a constant abundance of love and prayers to help her destroy the “slug” and restore her to full health. Her treatment cocktail includes chemotherapy, love, light, positive energy, food, more blessed food, blessed water, water, homoeopathic remedies, laughter, tears, more prayers and even more love. This woman is amazing and an inspiration to so many people, I feel beyond honoured and blessed to be a part off her team. I believe the 30% reduction in her cancer is not only due to the effects of the chemotherapy drugs, medicine and scientific research expertise of the talented Doctors around her, but a combination of all that came with #teamslugslayer and the homeopathic remedies alongside the chemotherapy. That, as a scientist, I have 100% faith in.

If you want to follow her journey more closely please visit her blog www.teamslugslayer.com

To learn more about Yosra’s care and cancer visit

www.maggiescentres.org

www.macmillan.org.uk

www.cancerresearchuk.org

In the name of fairness, if you read Rupert Sheldrakes The Science Delusion (2012) you should also read Richard Dawkings The God Delusion (2006) for the counter argument. All things fair in love and war as they say.

This song has already been dedicated to you by Beyonce herself but here it is again honey, I love you and your slug but wont be sad to see the slug gone  #teamslugslayer #healingwithlove

Have a great weekend everyone.

E

Update; literally 30mins after I posted this post. This happened. Beautiful. Masha’allah. We got your back monkey, we’re with you. Thank you Beyonce and the tour family for this amazing gift.

Organ Printing- Is 3D printing a game changer?

3Dorgans_1

Hello Geeks,

I’m back. Now, I know I promised to post something new every Friday and I am aware I failed you for two weeks but to be fair it was a bank holiday over here in England so it doesn’t count and I have a great excuse for the following week. The following week I was a bridesmaid at one of my girls wedding, it was a wonderfully beautiful affair. How’s that for a great excuse?

Last week I was flicking the pages of the Metro newspaper and came across this heading ‘3D printers ‘could be used to print off human organs’. Usually my first instinct when reading something “scientific” in the papers is to discount it, but I took a note of the research groups name to follow up on later. To be fair, the grabbing headline is approximately 10 years away from being a reality but a reality it may be and that reality is something that the thousands of people on the organ donation register and families dream about. According to Dr Sean Cheng, who is an expert in medical devices at Cambridge University, printing organs “would literally save hundreds of thousands of lives every year”, if all goes to plan.

Let us all just take a moment and let that statement sink in. The technology that is being developed as we speak can possibly print human organs!! WOW.

3Dorgans2Experts at Melbourn TTP have created a 3D printing device that could be used to make tailor-made transplant organs at the click of a button. TTP’s breakthrough involves a special print head nozzle that can dispense a wide range of different materials very accurately.  At present 3D printers can only print single materials or groups of materials.

The company’s managing director, Sam Hyde, said the medical possibilities were “very exciting” and he estimates organ-printing could be done in just five to 10 years’ time. The new nozzle has the ability to dispense the right kind of cells to the printer delicately and in the right position. The nozzle will be fed by cartridges of the required material, which could be anything from stem cells to metal powder. If the group can keep them in the right position and conditions without damaging the dispensed cells, the possibilities of this technology seem endless.

In the shorter term, the printers could make simpler structures, such as highly customised surgical implants, orthopaedic implants, or hip replacements with the possibility they can use “tailor-made designs” from an MRI scan. My mama recently underwent knee replacement surgery, she is doing amazingly well now but her only constant complaint is that it feels nothing like her “old” knee and she can “feel” the “new” metal one. Oh what a difference it would make to my ears and her if it was tailor made to be just like her “old” knee. I can almost taste the silence lol.

3Dorgan3

This breakthrough in technology has the prospect of becoming a complete game changer in the fields of design, medicine, technology and most importantly could also change the face of manufacturing products worldwide. It will give companies the ability to print off complex products made of several materials, rather than sourcing them from abroad. We could be printing products as diverse as toys, medical devices, aircraft parts and even organs. The economical implications of this are immense. I am sure Sam Hyde, the managing director at Melbourn TTP is a VERY HAPPY man – economically that is.

As you know, I am a total TED videos geek, so I did a little bit off digging and came across a few talks about organ printing. I picked the one below becasue it does a very good job of relaying the history of this technology and they have a live 3D printer on stage printing a kidney.  We also get to meet Luke, who at the age of 10 was given a bio-engineered bladder that changed his life thanks to these scientific advances The talk is 16min long but you wont meet Luke until 13mins in but please be patient and watch the whole thing. I promise you wont regret it.

Until next time, stay blessed.

Is it true that semen is an antidepressant?

SpermHappy

Happy Friday Geeks,

Firstly, thank you for all the Questions. I have my work cut out for me, I have to say that some of the questions had me rolling on the floor with tears of laughter running down my face, so thank you to each and everyone of you that responded to last weeks Knock Knock request.

It was pretty difficult to pick which question to answer first and in all honesty I picked this one because I got asked it not once, or twice but thrice by three different people. This really intrigued me so I did a little background research and realised that the story was recently spun by our very own Daily Fail aka Daily Mail and The Burn aka The Sun. It didn’t stop here however, it got picked up by a number of chat shows and comedians hence the proliferation. I am going to scientifically BREAK this down for you ladies and gentleman.

The above newspapers claimed that scientific research has shown that semen acts as an antidepressant for women, they published this story towards the end of August 2012.  Right off the bat, the first thing to note is that these claims are actually based on a decade-old study that made the extraordinarily bold claim that semen has an antidepressant effect in women (Gallup, Burch & Platek, 2002). The fact that the study is 10 years old and has not been followed up by any other researchers testing whether this claim is actually valid is already a red flag.

Side-note; during my background research I discovered that the huge media attention was linked to the fact that the President of the American College of Surgeons lost his job over a very bad Valentines Day joke related to this particular paper. Of-course some dude just HAD to make THAT joke lol.

Back to the science, the study was a correlational in nature and provided no direct biological evidence for the claim that semen has an antidepressant effect. A well-known research principle is that correlation does not imply causation, and there are many plausible alternative explanations that the authors of the study did not take into consideration. Furthermore, close examination of the scientific literature shows that there is no basis at all for taking this claim seriously. What the study actually found was that women who did not use condoms during sex had lower levels of depressive symptoms compared to women who usually or always used them, and to women who abstained from sex altogether. The authors argued that vaginal exposure to semen was the causal mechanism underlying this effect, arguing that semen has components including various hormones, particularly prostaglandins, that are readily absorbed into the woman’s bloodstream and that these have an antidepressant effect.

This may seem like a valid conclusion to make when taken on it’s own but that is not how research and scientific enquiry works geeks. It is a rigorous process and ladder that has been established for hundreds of years, otherwise every Tom, Dick and Harry would prove his/her hypothesis. In this case, the authors’ source for the antidepressant hypothesis was a single case study (Ney, 1986) published in Medical Hypotheses which found that evening primrose oil apparently alleviated depression in a child-abusing mother (What the …??)

For the sake of our collective sanity, I am going to explain to you what I think Ney’s thought process was. Ney argued that evening primrose oil and semen have in common the fact that they contain prostaglandins, and claimed that the latter have an antidepressant effect. Ney even went so far as to argue that in the single case study mentioned above, the disruption to the woman’s sex life due to the birth of her child was a causative factor in her depression because of the lack of exposure to her husband’s semen. Oh, the story gets even better, Ney the goes on to admit that semen contains minute quantities of prostaglandins but still goes on to argue that even so “they have powerful direct effects”. I am going to give him a break here and say that he was talking about the effects on the mood otherwise his theory is flawed beyond recognition. To back up his theory Ney describes a review of the psychiatric implications of prostaglandins (Gross et al., 1977).

Wait it gets better, when I read this review by Gross et al I found that they reported that one study found that depressed patients had slightly elevated levels of prostaglandins, whereas another study found depressed patients had normal levels of prostaglandins. Furthermore, Gross et al. noted that antidepressant medications had an inhibitory effect on prostaglandins (they say they have done little research and clinical implications are yet unknown so props to them for being clear).

What does all this mean? It suggests that if absorption of prostaglandins in semen had an antidepressant effect, one would reasonably expect this to mean that depressed patients had low levels of these hormones or that antidepressant medications would actually increase not decrease their production, yet neither of these things appear to be true. Hence the claim that semen has any antidepressant properties at all does not appear to rest on any biological evidence.

SemenCafe
Ok, let us go back to the paper from 2002 that caused the media storm and the poor man to lose his job by Gallup et al. I am going to bullet point the many other reasons why I am confidant in letting you know that NO semen is NOT an antidepressant.

1-No evidence that semen exposure explains the differences in depression between women who do not use condoms and those who do.
2- They did not properly consider a range of alternative explanations. For example; why some women choose not to use condoms in the first place and whether pre-existing differences between users and non-users might have affected their results?
3-They noted that non-users had the highest frequency of intercourse and in fact those who never used condoms had sex almost twice as frequently as those who always used condoms. However, when statistically controlling for condom use, frequency of intercourse did not predict depressive symptoms.
4- The fact that non condom users were not only less depressed but also had the most frequent intercourse suggests that non-users may be different from users in some important way. Gallup et al. argued that the “important” difference is their exposure to semen and frequency is suddenly not important.

5-This was a correlational study and hence statistically they are not justified in arguing that this is the underlying cause of the relationship between condom use and depression particularly when there are other plausible causal factors.

It is well known now that frequency of intercourse is positively correlated with both life satisfaction and good mental health. It has been suggested that sex with condoms for some women may be less satisfying where 40% of women surveyed reported decreased sensation with condoms. Therefore, it seems possible that sexual enjoyment has an antidepressant effect that may be reduced by condom usage. But ladies, please do not ditch the condoms without weighing up the consequences i.e sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies.

In conclusion, the claim by Gallup et al. that semen has an antidepressant effect is not only lacking any direct evidence, there does not even appear to be any plausible biological reason to believe that the components of semen have a beneficial effect on even mood. The authors thankfully acknowledged that more definitive and direct evidence is needed, e.g. manipulation of the presence of semen or measures of seminal components in the bloodstream. However, no studies providing such evidence appear to have been done and there is probably little justification for investigating such a far-fetched hypothesis. There are plausible psychological mechanisms that could explain the relationship between condom use and depression, such as pre-existing depression, personality differences, or “turn-offs” associated with condom usage, that have not been adequately explored and seem more likely to yield informative results. Finally, sorry to disappoint any of you, click on the video below and enjoy one of my favourite SV songs, it will make you feel better I promise.

Until next time, have a great weekend all.
E

What’s up Doc?

BugBunny

Hello All,

Hope you have all had a great week.  The holy month of Ramadan falling in the summer months has meant that it has been a long and hard month of fasting, this hardest Ramadan I have fasted during my life-time so far.  This summer especially, London has been exceptionally hot (sods law of-course). Yesterday was Eid (yaaay) so Eid Mubarak to one and all. I am in the midst of celebrating the three days of Eid with family and friends so for this reason I have not had the time to finish working up the topic I wanted to share with you this Friday.

However, I have been meaning to ask you all to send me in some new questions for the Knock Knock section as it has been neglected of late and figured this is a good opportunity to do so. Please send me a message or post a comment with a question you would like me to research and/or ask my network of Dr’s to answer so we can keep sharing the knowledge.

Until next week, wishing you all a blessed and wonderful weekend. Here is some music to inspire you to think of some questions.

Tatsallfolks

E

DJ decks made of paper. Yes, made of paper!

CoolDJdecks

Hello geeks,

Hope you have all had a blessed week so far and you are looking forwards to the weekend. I am sure you all know by now that I am a massive TEDx videos fan? If you didn’t, now you do. I recently came across this science technology video that gave me goose bumps whilst watching it for a number of reasons.

Reason one, Kate Stone herself is an inspirational figure and a wonderful example of how someone who is fearless in following her dreams, interests and vision despite not “fitting” in with or “following” conventional paths can still achieve success and greatness. Her complete journey and story is absolutely fascinating.

MusicPosterTwo, I don’t want to spoil the story for you but the fact that her parents sent her back to Australia had me laughing out loud,  I was sure only African parents did that!

Thirdly, the fact that science technology has advanced so much so that DJ decks can now be made out of paper completely blows my mind. I can still remember the days when DJ’s carried very heavy looking boxes of vinyl records into venues and was just getting used to the Ipads and computers being used. The rate of advancement in the science technology arena is crazy.

Click on  the video below and listen to Kate Stone’s story and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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