SpaceUP NL

science communication

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Last month, I attended my second Space Up event with some friends. As an unconference, it challenges the usual constraints found within a traditional conference environment and invites the participants to shape the topics and structure of the day.

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Space Up NL took place at the Space EXPO, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) museum on the space campus here in the Netherlands.

Featuring a model of the Columbus module of the International Space Station, satellite mock-ups and more, it really was the perfect location to discuss why space matters, what’s next in the space industry and how to inspire the next generation.

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Of course, I had to take advantage of the Cupola module. Here I am, pretending to be an astronaut and posing with a cardboard cutout of one too!

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There was a great variety of talks on the day. A particular highlight of mine was on ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission – which intends to crash into an asteroid to understand it. (Bruce Willis eat your heart out!)

Other talks were more personal, triggering discussions with the audience on topics such as entrepreneurship, science communication and whether we should ban commercial spaceflight.

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Space Up NL just so happened to fall on 3 October, or 3 Oktober – a national holiday in the city of Leiden where fellow Leiden blogger Molly and I live. Our neighbourhood turned into a funfair for the weekend, making for both a beautiful, if not fairly random end to the day.

If you’d like to take part in a space unconference too, the next Space Up is in Tokyo on 22 November, with the next European Space Up taking place next February 2016 in Helsinki.

-Nikita

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Current Book Recommendations

All, science communication

DSCF6132 (3)Recently, I found that I’ve been reading less than I used to. It’s always been one of my favourite things to do, so to inspire both myself and hopefully some of you to dust those books off the bookshelf, here are some of my favourite books right now!

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler

Some of you may already know, I am a big fan of Amy Poehler. Her work, her voice and her honesty really speak to me. This book is the epitome of all three. She is down to earth and speaks frankly and light-heartedly about things that we all think, yet sometimes don’t say. Whether it be about who we are, what we want to do or who we want to be with – Amy dishes out some real life advice from her own experiences.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This novel is a classic. Set in 19th Century England, it centres around the lives of the Bennet sisters, in particular Elizabeth Bennet. I’m one of those people that tends to forget the details once I complete a book, so I love having this one on hand to re-read it all over again. Also, I have a soft spot for Mr Darcy..

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The Hands-On Guide for Science Communicators by Lars Lindberg Christensen

This book is slightly different to those previously mentioned. Written by my former boss from my time at the European Southern Observatory, it is a great guide to science communication. The foundations of communicating scientific concepts are explored in the book, illustrated by graphics which concisely present the information in a colourful way. I’d recommend this for not only those new to the field, but also experienced science communicators out there. 

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The first time I got my hands on this book I was around 15. I found it in my parent’s house and in an attempt to try something more mature, I gave it a try. Needless to say, I didn’t really understand a lot of the philosphical elements back then. But, now at the ripe ‘old’ age of 24, this book is one that I think anyone can read and gain something from. It’s quite a dense piece of literature and can be slow at times, however the character of Dorian Gray is so different to others I think it is worth the read.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Usually, I like to read the original book before watching the movie version of a story. This was a rare exception. I caught the movie on my flight home from Canada last year and immediately knew I had to read the book. I was not dissapointed. Let’s just say, you will not have a dry eye when reading this one. It’s a very heartwarming and touching storyline for all ages. I also like the fact that my new home of the Netherlands makes an appearance in the book too!

What are your favourite books right now? Let me know and I’d love to give them a try 🙂

-Nikita