Hi reddit! Creating effective visuals to explain your research can be intimidating but also critical to communicating your ideas and findings. I’m passionate about science communication and I’m here today to share a few trade secrets on how to create better journal figures, science illustrations, presentation slides, graphical abstracts and more! All it takes is a few tips and tricks, some help from available tools (or experts!), and a little bit of patience. AMA! Brief bio: Shiz Aoki graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine through the Art as Applied to Medicine program after obtaining a B.Sc. in pre-medical sciences, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Illustration from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. In 2010, she was hired straight out of school as a science illustrator for National Geographic Magazine at their HQ in Washington, DC. Having grown up in Toronto, she eventually moved back to the city where she continues to actively work for the magazine while operating her own biomedical communications company, Anatomize Studios. She has serviced other renowned clients including Scientific American, HHMI, NIH, McGraw Hill, Stanford University, and many others. Aoki hopes to democratize the process of visual science communication to scientists at all stages of their careers. Her team is currently creating new tools and resources for scientists to create science visuals (such as graphical abstracts, journal figures, presentation slides). Please email [email protected] if you’re interested in participating or learning more about this new initiative! Follow her on Twitter: @ShizAoki Learn more at www.biorender.io EDIT: Thanks everyone for all the great questions! This was a lot of fun. I’ll glance back in a few days but if you want to chat, please feel free to email me!
Hi reddit! In order to feed a growing population, estimates suggest that world food production must increase by 70% by 2050. Wheat is a major crop grown worldwide and increasing its yields provides an opportunity to meet this demand. My colleagues and I at the University of Essex have worked closely with researchers at Lancaster University and Rothamsted Research to increase wheat yields by improving the efficiency of photosynthesis, where light energy is converted into biomass. We’ve done this by increasing the expression of an enzyme in the photosynthetic process. We will soon begin field trails at Rothamsted to evaluate the performance of the GM wheat in real world conditions. I’m part of the Sense about Science Plant Science Panel, an online group of over 50 independent plant science researchers. You can ask them any questions to do with plants, food or the environment on Twitter (@senseaboutsci #plantsci) Facebook or via the website. Answers are sent back within a couple of days and posted online. The Panel has answered close to 400 questions over the last three years and it’s a great way to cut through the noise around what can often be very polarised debates. I’ll be back at noon EST to answer your questions, AMA!
I am Mike Brudzinski, Professor of Seismology at Miami University in Ohio. I’ve spent most of my career studying earthquakes big and small. The big ones I have worked on are the megaquakes formed at subduction zones where two tectonic plates collide and generate the largest earthquakes and tsunamis on Earth. These earthquakes are rare but potentially devastating, so I have also worked on the much smaller fault tremor and slow fault movements that seems to occur right below and possibly leading up to the really big earthquakes. My colleagues and I just published a paper indicating the likelihood of earthquakes does appear to be higher when the deeper roots of faults are moving slowly. Lately, I have also worked on swarms of small earthquakes triggered by oil and gas activities. My graduate student did a popular AMA when our paper came out linking a series of earthquakes to hydraulic fracturing in eastern Ohio (https://redd.it/2rjqad). This highlights one of my other passions: training the next generation of earth scientists. I have worked on developing courses and teaching modules that follow a strategy I refer to as “active e-learning”. This is where students learn science by actually doing it with computers instead of just listening to me lecture about it. In addition to making classes more engaging and flexible, the transition from student to researcher is more seamless and allows me to work with more students in my research. Lastly, I think science outreach is critical, and I found a fun way to do that recently by helping to measure how much fans shake the Ohio State stadium during football games. I’m looking forward to all sorts of questions about earthquakes, big and small, fast and slow, natural and human induced. And I would love to talk about education and outreach too! And let’s continue the discussion on Twitter @seismohio
The doctors involved in the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) are real-life House M.D.s. We’re using genome sequencing along with a network of specialists from numerous medical disciplines at seven clinical sites around the country to diagnose the most challenging and rare genetic diseases. But rare genetic diseases aren’t so rare. The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), as well as the Rare Diseases Act of 1983, defines a rare disease as one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. And even despite the impressive state of medical technology today, the causes of many rare genetic diseases remain mysteries. Since accepting its first patient in 2015, the UDN – an NIH-funded program – has been trying to find the causes and treatments for patients with unknown disorders and to help provide answers for families that have nowhere else to turn. The UDN is an expansion of an Undiagnosed Diseases Program initiated in 2008 within the Intramural Research Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). This week at NIH and around the world, we celebrated Rare Disease Day. To help raise awareness in the science community and share info about rare diseases and their impact on patients’ lives, we’re here today to answer your questions about rare diseases, how the UDN is using genomic techniques to find cures, or just how to find support if you or a loved one is suffering from a rare, undiagnosed condition. Today’s AMA brings together us – two UDN investigators at the NIH Clinical Center – along with Chad Smith, the father of a young boy with a rare, unidentified condition whom we evaluated at the Clinical Center in June 2016. A bit more about us. We are: Dr. William Gahl: Clinical Director, and Head of the Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) at NHGRI, one of seven clinical sites within the UDN. Dr. Cyndi Tifft: Deputy Clinical Director, and Head of the Pediatric portion of the UDP at NHGRI. Mr. Chad Smith (aka “Chad the Dad”): Father of Blake, an 8-year old undiagnosed child who is currently being researched by the UDN. We will be answering your questions at 1 p.m. ET – Ask Us Anything! Update: We’re signing off for now, but thanks to the Reddit community for such thoughtful and engaging questions! We had a blast and hope to do it again sometime to share more stories from the Undiagnosed Diseases Network. (More info here: https://undiagnosed.hms.harvard.edu/)
Hey Reddit! I am Sijbren Otto, joined today by Gaël Schaeffer (postdoc), Andreas Hussain and Jim Ottelé (PhD students) to discuss systems chemistry and synthetic life. You can find a video describing our research here! Back in 2010 we reported a system where self-replicating molecules spontaneously emerge from a complex mixture, via an growth breakage mechanism.[2,3] A few years later, we discovered another system using the same concepts, but where mutations lead to the consecutive emergence of two ‘species’ of replicators, one being the ancestor of the previous one, thus mimicking an important process in biological evolution. This work received a fair amount of attention from the media and from you guys on reddit. Our next challenges are the incorporation of more biological features into artificial systems, such as adaptation, Darwinian evolution or metabolism and compartmentalisation, in order to one day make a chemical system that captures all the essential elements of life! For more information, visit our group website here or our list of publications here. We are very happy to answer any and all questions relating to this topic.  J. Li, P. Nowak, S. Otto, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 9222-9239.  J. M. Carnall, C. A. Waudby, A. M. Belenguer, M. C. Stuart, J. J. Peyralans, S. Otto, Science 2010, 327, 1502-1506.  M. Colomb-Delsuc, E. Mattia, J. W. Sadownik, S. Otto, Nat. Commun. 2015, 6, 7427-7433.  J. W. Sadownik, E. Mattia, P. Nowak, S. Otto, Nat. Chem. 2016, 8, 264-269. Edit: Thanks a lot for all the questions! We are overwhelmed by the amount of good questions right now. We are on to answer some more! Edit 2: Thanks again for all the questions, we’ve all had a lot of fun! However, we’re in the Netherlands and our dinner is getting cold. We hope to come back in the future, and get some more feedback from you all!
I’m a philosopher at New York University and the Australian National University. I’m interested in consciousness: e.g. the hard problem (see also this TED talk, the science of consciousness, zombies, and panpsychism. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the philosophy of technology: e.g. the extended mind (another TED talk), the singularity, and especially the universe as a simulation and virtual reality. I have a sideline in metaphilosophy: e.g. philosophical progress, verbal disputes, and philosophers’ beliefs. I help run PhilPapers and other online resources. Here’s my website (it was cutting edge in 1995; new version coming soon). Recent Links: “What It’s Like to be a Philosopher” - (my life story) Consciousness and the Universe - (a wide-ranging interview) Reverse Debate on Consciousness - (channeling the other side) The Mind Bleeds into the World: A Conversation with David Chalmers - (issues about VR, AI, and philosophy that I’ve been thinking about recently) OUP Books Oxford University has made some books available at a 30% discount by using promocode AAFLYG6** on the oup.com site. Those titles are: The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory Panpsychism: Contemporary Perspectives The Character of Consciousness Constructing the World AMA Winding up now! Maybe I’ll peek back in to answer some more questions if I get a chance. Thanks for some great discussion!
I’m Paul Wyman, Senior Scientist at DSM, a global science-based company active in health, nutrition and materials. My specialties are polymer synthesis and coating technology. At DSM I am part of a research team developing materials to improve the performance of solar panels. With the majority of the world’s greenhouse-gas emissions being produced from fossil fuel consumption, research and development in the renewable energy sector are key steps towards tackling climate change. We are working on a portfolio of innovations focused on lowering the cost of solar energy by providing solid, durable and sustainable materials. Our solutions include light trapping technology, anti-reflective coatings, backsheets and an anti-soiling coating. Here’s a little bit about my colleagues who will be joining me during today’s AMA: Peter Pasman - PhD in physics, expertise in optical modelling Damien Reardon - PhD in chemistry, expertise in sol-gel chemistry and thin film coatings Ian Bennett - Expert in photovoltaic modules We will be live from 10:00 EST (16:00 CET) and will stay online for a few hours. We welcome your questions about renewable industry and our solar energy solutions. AMA! 10:00 EST - Hello from our team! We are live and ready to answer your questions. Ask us anything! 12:24 EST - Thanks for your questions today. You’ve certainly got us thinking and challenged us with some important topics. We hope we’ve provided you with some useful answers! Solar is a very motivating and exciting area to be working in, with plenty of science still to do to address one of the big issues of this generation - and it’s great to be part of it. Lots of your questions are about energy storage, better, more efficient, solar capture and the additional benefits solar can bring to society, please do take a look at our current Bright Minds Challenge as these up-and-coming pioneers have the potential to really take things forward in this space. Thank you for making our first Reddit AMA so welcoming and so much fun - we enjoyed it, hope you did too!
ACS AMA Hi Reddit, my name is Prashant Kamat, and I am a Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science and a principal scientist at the Radiation Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame. My research group focuses on multidisciplinary insight into nanostructure architecture and energy conversion processes, and collaborates with chemists, chemical engineers, and physicists to study the fundamental science and applications of light energy. In addition to my research at Notre Dame, I am also the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of ACS Energy Letters a new journal from the American Chemical Society publishing papers on all aspects of energy research (read the first issue and first of 2017 free). Previously I served as the Deputy Editor for the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters I am also a fellow of the ACS, the Electrochemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Indian National Science Academy. I’ll be online at 11am ET (8am PT, 4pm UTC) to answer your questions. Go ahead, AMA! - PVK Edit: Signing off now. Thanks for the wonderful discussion. Hope to meet you at the next ACS meeting or another venue.
Hi reddit! Misunderstood or “silly sounding” research is often much more than it seems. We are interested in creative ways to explain the value of esoteric work in the face of public or political scrutiny. We are always looking to help scientists who work in controversial, odd, or obscure areas of research. Ask us anything about the kind of research we try to highlight, the scientists we try to support, and how “silly-sounding” science can lead to societal benefits. We (David Scholnik of Pacific University, Patricia Brennan of Mount Holyoke College, and Brian Baird, former United States Representative from Washington) are looking forward to answering your questions about the ways that individual scientists, their institutions, and the scientific community at large can work together to speak up for science, such as the Golden Goose Award, which recognizes silly, odd, or obscure-sounding research that has returned serious benefits to society. Patricia Brennan tweets as @sexinnature. Check out my research in the XX files at Science: My science is basic science We’ll be back at 1 pm to answer your questions! Ask us anything!
Hi Reddit! I'm Martin Gibala, PhD, professor and chair of the kinesiology department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. I conduct research on the physiological and health benefits of interval training and how this time-efficient exercise method compares to traditional endurance training. In my decades of study in this field, I've conducted extensive research on the science of ultralow-volume exercise and time-efficient workouts. Inspired by my own struggle to fit regular exercise into a busy schedule, I set out to find the most effective protocols that take up the smallest amount of time, while still offering the benefits of a traditional session at the gym. It became clear that short, intense bursts of exercise are the most potent form of workout available. One of my recent studies, published in PLOS One, found that sedentary people derived the benefits of 50 minutes of traditional continuous exercise with a 10-minute interval workout that involved just one minute of hard exercise. Study participants who trained three times per week for twelve weeks experience the same improvements in key markers of health and fitness, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment in the interval group. My new book, The One-Minute Workout, distills complex science into practical tips and strategies that people can incorporate in their everyday lives. It includes twelve interval workouts, all based on scientific studies, that can be applied to a wide range of individuals and starting fitness levels. From elderly and deconditioned people who are just beginning an exercise regimen to athletes and weekend warriors, there is an interval training protocol that can boost health and performance in a time-efficient manner. Ask me anything about the science of exercise and in particular how to incorporate time-efficient training strategies into your day. Signing out for now! Thank you so much for having me and for all your great questions.