Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How I Came Into Blogging

I never thought that anyone would be interested in what I had to say, especially in an ongoing basis.  I go to work (albeit to a pretty cool job), go home and do normal things that everyone else does.  Who'd be interested in that?

But then I thought about how scientists are usually perceived.  I've noticed that people who were having a normal conversation with me will talk to me differently when they find out I'm a physicist.  I've had adult visitors to LIGO be in awe and mention that they have never met a physicist before.  My response to that is that they don't really know that - the person in line behind them in Walmart could have been a physicist and they would never know it.  When scientists are portrayed in media, there is usually something about them that puts them apart from the "everyday" person.  I admit that the characters on CBS's "The Big Bang Theory" have gotten a lot of the quirks right (I can label the characters with my friends) but the show only shows the interesting parts of their lives where their quirkiness comes to the fore - I can guarantee you that if these were real people, their 'boring' times are just like everyone else's.

Still, I didn't think that this was enough to base a blog on.  Last February "Astro Guyz" David Dickinson requested a tour of the LIGO Livingston facility so that he could blog about it.  I was more than happy to take him around (regular readers of this blog know that I LOVE to talk about LIGO to anyone who will listen).  After showing David and his wife around we talked about their experiences blogging (they are both experienced bloggers).  They were very encouraging and I was intrigued.  Read Astro Guyz blog post from his visit to LIGO here.  Below is a picture of William Katzman (LIGO Livingston Science Education Center lead), me, and David Dickinson from this post:


Astro Guyz also gave me my YouTube debut:


Months later, on my birthday, I decided that there is no better time than the present to start my blog and see if anyone was interested in following what being a scientist is really like (not just the stereotypes).  Now I had to find a way to let others know that the blog exists.  For that I turned to Astro Guyz and sciencegeekgirl.com (a blog run by Stephanie Chasteen - a well known science education and communication expert who I was acquainted with).  They were both very helpful in giving me hints and their common advice was along the lines of "if you write it, they will come" and to "use Twitter".

And here you are!  :)

I hope that this blog is serving its purpose by letting you see what I do on a daily basis.  I know not everything is thrilling (like this post) but every now and then I get to tell you about a bit of excitement (like the "Big Dog" blind injection - which was picked up by Discover Magazine's Cosmic Variance blog and Discovery News).

I'd love to hear your thoughts!  Is there anything you would like me to talk about?  Just drop a comment below or send an email to amber@livingligo.org.

2 comments:

  1. Hi! As a high school science teacher and all round science geek I spend everyday demonstrating that being a scientist is normal and one can still be cool! Teens need this reassurance !
    From, EurekaTeacher

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  2. Thanks for your support!

    Do you have any ideas how I can use this blog to reach more students? I am not sure that a student would follow my blog on my own but I was thinking about working with teachers to talk to classes through Skype. Or even answer student questions through the blog.

    And I love reassuring teens who don't think they are cut out to be a scientist. I just asked my mother to dig out a particularly bad report card of mine to post and prove that you don't need to be a genius and any past can be overcome. I hope she finds it!

    Again, thanks for posting and let me know if there is any way I can be of assistance to you!

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