SpaceUP NL

science communication

IMG_20151003_103732

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.

IMG_20151003_103712 IMG_20151003_103737

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.

IMG_20151003_105415 IMG_20151003_111951 IMG_20151003_112009

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!

IMG_20151003_112714 IMG_20151003_122501 IMG_20151003_135128

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.

IMG_20151003_101959 IMG_20151003_180112 IMG_20151003_193641

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

Advertisements

Introducing the European Geosciences Union – General Assembly 2015

All, science communication

For the rest of April, my blog will be dedicated to all things Earth, planetary and space sciences as I fly to Vienna tomorrow to work at the European Geosciences Union’s (EGU) General Assembly. I will write an in-depth post on the week-long conference when I return but for now, here’s a sneak peek of what I’ll be up to 🙂

CB-vKbbWIAEpgyQ

Credit: EGU Twitter

Made up of over 12,500 members, EGU is dedicated to benefiting humanity and our understanding of the world around us. Their annual General Assembly attracts over 11,000 scientists from across the globe and includes sessions, symposia, poster and oral presentations on a plethora of topics on our planet and the Universe that we live in.

Ranging from space and ocean sciences, to paleontology and volcanology — the conference invites international scientists to present their research, as well as journalists to share these fascinating science stories with the world.

Credits: BBC

Credits: BBC

This year’s theme is ‘A voyage through scales’- contemplating Earth’s extraordinary variability in the scales of space, time and spacetime. Sounds mindboggling? It is, but in the good way! I will be working within the Press Team during the conference to ensure the smooth running of the Press Centre. I’ll have the opportunity to interview scientists on their work, attend sessions and press conferences and write for EGU’s official blog GeoLog. Hosted by the Austria Center Vienna, I’m looking forward to visiting Vienna again after my first visit last April.

CBGy72NUkAE8YxP

Keep an eye out for blog posts written by me during the conference on EGU’s blog and follow me on Twitter here for daily updates on the conference and to join me on my trip to Vienna. 

See you there!

-Nikita

p.s  I have worked with EGU before, you might remember a blog post on an article that I wrote for them last year here.

Creating Communication: 5 Ways to Improve your Writing Style

Creating Communication, science communication

Doing what you love for a living is one of the best things in life. However, as a Science Editor, writing for both work and as a hobby can sometimes lead to times of creative slumps or writer’s block. Ever had that frustrating feeling of wanting to write and/or having something to write about but for some reason the words just don’t seem to flow? Or, maybe you’re writing something but your writing style is still not coming across how you would like it?

Stepping away from your desk and taking a walk, a coffee break or talking to someone are great to distract the mind from overthinking your style of writing. But what about when you attempt to write again? It’s sometimes easy to get lost in the pages and forget what you’re communicating. Here are five ways that I’ve found help me to produce great content whilst ensuring that my writing style stays on the right track.

  1. Read More

It may seem obvious, but great reading leads to great writing. It allows you to grow as a writer, grow in vocabulary, inspiration, story arcs and sentence structure. The next time you find yourself in a creative slump, dust off your bookshelf and settle down on your couch for a few hours with a good read. That’s always a good idea.

  1. Write Like You Talk

Overthinking can lead to writers block. Often, writers that are great communicators in person can struggle on paper. When in doubt, it’s always better to be conversational.

  1. Know Your Audience

Keeping your reader in mind during the writing process is a vital element to ensuring that your article engages, inspires and most importantly is understood by the audience you are directing your words towards. The only true measure of how good your writing is, is the impact that it has on your audience.

  1. Feedback

The first attempt is almost always never how the article will look upon publishing. Seeking comments and criticism from editors, other writers, friends and perhaps a mentor helps to identify where your writing falls short. From this, you can now return to it with a fresh set of eyes and hone your style of writing with further iterations.

  1. Write What You Know

Research is key. Write about things that you know about and through extensive research, have earned the right to communicate. The more you know, the more confidence and credibility will come across through your words.

Hope some of these tips prove to be useful, happy writing!

-Nikita

From London to Leiden

All, Travel

Hello and Happy New Year!

With January almost over, I’ve spent the first month of 2015 getting settled into my new home and it’s about time I shared it on my blog 🙂

New Year, new country, new job. It seems that every year has brought me to another part of the world. This time last year I was living in southern Germany, where I interned at the European Southern Observatory in Munich. This year, I have moved from my home in London, to the picturesque city of Leiden.

2014-11-03 14.18.09

Located in South Holland, Leiden is a beautiful part of the Netherlands around half an hour from Amsterdam by train. Situated almost too-close to the UK, I flew across the English Channel to Amsterdam a few days after the start of 2015. We were delayed in the aircraft for a few hours, however the pilots let us take a tour of the flight deck while we waited 🙂

2015-01-03 14.11.27

I’ve been living in working in this quaint city for almost a month now and have attempted to capture the beauty of my surroundings in a few (mostly rainy) photos that I’ll share with you in this post. The weather may not be that different to home, but that’s all that London and Leiden have in common it seems!

2015-01-10 16.03.16

Dotted with cute flower, cheese and bread stores, the cobbled streets of Leiden are a world away from the London skyline. With a bridge over one of the many winding Dutch canals around every corner, my new home is an enchanting European city with a little character and a lot of bikes!

IMG-20150123-WA0016

2015-01-10 16.20.41

I’m working as a Science Editor at communications company EJR-Quartz, where we do the web content and editorial work for clients including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). It’s a great place to be working in the space industry, with ESA centre, ESTEC situated nearby.

2015-01-04 14.27.29-1

IMG-20150123-WA0034

The winter is a cold yet beautiful time to be here. The frosty morning air is a great wake-me-up on my walk to work and the icy canals make for perfect photos – framed at night by old-fashioned street lanterns.

Leiden will be the first place I’ll be living in for more than 5 months in recent years. Travelling as often as I do, makes you appreciate the contrary notion of settling in one place and making it home.

I’m looking forward to seeing Leiden in different lights as the seasons change throughout the year 🙂

-Nikita