Science Book a Day Celebrates 1000 Books

SBAD-1000 books

On the 26th of February, my blog, Science Book a Day ( celebrated featuring 1000 books since it started on June 1, 2013. SBAD was a project I started with the objective of engaging more people in popular science books. I thought that I would feature a book each day, linking to reviews, videos and the author/illustrator/editor of the book.

On the 11th of March, I celebrated this achievement with an ASC Victoria event at Embiggen Books in Melbourne’s CBD. A small group turned up and we feasted on sushi and champagne and I got the opportunity to share some of the adventures I’ve been on with my little blog and the realities of attracting attention to a science blog and maintaining an audience.


  • Getting re-tweeted by Oliver Sacks
  • Interviewing Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Carl Zimmer
  • Doing interviews and media, and writing about my little blog
  • Getting sponsored by Bloomsbury Sigma (who provide free science books for our monthly giveaways)
  • Featuring a review by science writer, Dorion Sagan (Carl Sagan’s son)

SBAD-1000 books-2

ASC partner with BIG science communication summit

Thanks to Claire Harris for her run-down of the ASC/BIG science blogosphere team.

There is no doubt that the BIG Science Communication Summit provided a memorable experience for those that attended. And… for those who watched from afar via the EASELivestream and on social media (for example, using the hashtag #bigsci13 on Twitter).

ASC was proud to be a community partner with the Inspiring Australia, TechNyou and ScienceRewired teams and to be part of delivering the vision for the BIG Science Communication Summit. The event aimed to deliver an opportunity for science communicators to collaboratively discuss the challenges they face individually and collectively, and to develop solutions through engaging both before and during the event.

ScienceRewired provided an opportunity for six ASC members to have berths on the social media team – to drive discussion and debate – and to attend the event.

The ASC Live Bloggers were:

  • Amelia Swan (@SwanAmelia)
  • Victoria Leitch (@craniophiles)
  • Melissa Lyne (@malyne)
  • Kali Madden (@ASCkali)
  • Sarah Lau (@LaLaLausy)
  • Sam Askin (@samaskin). Sam actually contributed from his office in Townsville. Kali said: We were all amazed that he could be so ‘in the moment’ and we thought he must have been sitting in the gallery with the rest of the team!

The super team of live bloggers (ok, yes I was one of them but hell, I’m going with super!) were encouraged to explore topics of interest and contribute Tweets, blogs, photo galleries. The ASC live bloggers also played an important part in reporting the happenings at the event, particularly the workshops, as they weren’t being live-streamed.

Kylie Sturgess, the Social Media Coordinator for ScienceRewired led us through the, at times for me slightly confusing, social media playground set up for the event. (I for one had some experience in Twitter, Facebook and blogs but Storify, live streaming… not so much.)

Kylie Sturgess actively podcasted, networked and blogged/Tweeted/photographed the event along with the team. She gathered some great stories on Storify.

I think I can speak on behalf of the team to say that Kylie was a bundle of fun and a font of knowledge on social media.

Apparently #bigsci13 trended on Twitter on both days for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney and we got feedback from attendees present and online saying they appreciated the contributions from the team.

Bloggers’ selfie: Claire Harris (left), Vanessa Hill (middle), Victoria Leitch (top), Kylie Sturgess (bottom)

Some Tweets:

@sciencerewired: Missed a session from yesterday? Didn’t see it livestreamed? Thanks to our Social Media Team, catch up at: … #BigSci13 This Tweet was Retweeted 14 times.

@DoUBelieveInDog: @sciencerewired Can confirm you are coming through loud and clear and amazeballs on the live stream #bigsci13  🙂 (Just need more #dogs!)

@nessyhill: Mwahhahaha RT @chachiconnell: So there’s bloggers hidden in the gallery #bigsci13 I’m getting flashbacks of the #redwedding #GoT

See some of the live bloggers’ contributions on one of the Storifys.

Check out some of the blog posts written by the team:

Thanks for a great experience and all your hard work ASC crew, Kylie and indeed all involved in the event.

Bloggers’ selfie: Will Grant (left), Sarah Lau (middle), Amelia Swan (left)

Big Blog Theory finalists and the winner is…

Bec Crew, author of the entertaining animal behavioural science blog Save Your Breath for Running Ponies, won the National Science Week 2010 Big Blog Theory competition. I’m pleased to note that all four judges of the blogs, including myself, are ASC members. We examined 31 Australian based science blog entries to select the ten finalists. Look at to see how the public voting went. A separate group of judges assessed the microblogging category, won by Corri Baker, chemistry PhD candidate and lecturer at the University of South Australia.

Even with well defined judging criteria it was no easy task to assess the blogs but worthwhile to get a snap shot of the excellent local science communication efforts on the web. I’d like to acknowledge Laura Miles, our Scope editor, for her contributions to the judging criteria.

Here are the finalists and the links to their blogs:

Running Ponies (winner – Bec Crew)

Mr Science Show

A Schooner of Science

Brave New Climate

Homologous Legs

Pod Black Cat

Conservation Bytes

All in the Mind

Environment Blog

The Skeptics Book

The microblogging finalists were:

@cbsquared_ (winner – Corrie Baker)





Bec Crew will officially start her National Science Week tour Friday 13 August at the launch event at the Royal Botanic Gardens. During her blogging tour she will cover events in Sydney, Melbourne and the Northern Territory. Corri Baker will tweet about events in Perth from 15-17 August.

Jesse Shore
President and Big Blog Theory judge

Science blogging – tips and tricks from some Adelaide science bloggers

Tonight (Monday 18 Jan) we’re hosting an ASC event at the Science Exchange, Adelaide on science blogging (

I asked some of our guest bloggers for some tips and tricks of the trade, and I’d like to make it available to all the ASC members. Big thanks to Sarah ( for putting this together…..

Blog it
If tonight has given you an inkling to try out this blogging business yourself, here’s some tips from our panellists to get you started….

How to set up a free blog
You can do it with or They are very easy to use, and you can set your account up in minutes. You’ll get your own website address such as or If you go with WordPress, you can switch to a custom address later if you like (at a cost.)

Adelaide-based science blogs
A Schooner of Science
Brave New Climate
Conservation Bytes
Disease of the week

Suggested reading
The who’s who of science blogging
Carl Zimmer at The Loom
Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science
Ben Goldacre at Bad Science

Other great writers
Deep Sea News (biology)
ERV (biochemistry)
Lab Rat (bacteria)
Science Geek Girl (Sci Comm)
Carbon-Based Curiosities (Chem)
Not So Humble Pie (Science Cookies)
PZ Myers’ Pharyngula (Dev Biol)
BadAstronomy (Astronomy Scepticism)
Respectful Insolence (Medicine)
Australia’s Deltoid is a good complement to Barry Brooks blog

The ScienceOnline 2010 blog, with lots of good science blogging tips will help with lots of issues on Science Blogging.

How to attract readers
• Comment on other blogs (and put your website in your profile.)
• Add blogs to your blogroll and ask to be added on theirs.
• Put your blog on lists such as, and
• Start a Twitter account and set it to automatically tweet your blog posts (install the Tweetable plugin on WordPress.)
• Post links to your Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and LinkedIn, if you have them.
• Write catchy titles, use eye-catching pictures and write in small paragraphs. Internet users have a VERY short attention span – grab their attention quickly.
• Increase your Google hits by writing longer titles, and using tags and categories. Google does not search your whole post for key words, just those three places and any images.
• Label images correctly so they appear in a Google Images search – this will boost your hit rate, and improve your rating in Google searches.
• Use Google Analytics for blogger or the WordPress stats to check where you’re readers are coming from. Learn what works and what doesn’t.
• Use surveys, polls, quizzes and video to get people involved.
• Install widgets to send your posts automatically to aggregator sites.
• Lastly, don’t be overzealous! People will find your blog eventually and you will build up a solid readership over time. Excessively marketing your blog at every opportunity will often do more harm than good.

Managing comments
• Install a spam filter such as Akismet on WordPress, or enable word verification on Blogger.
• Check comments regularly and delete any spam.
• Respond to people who write negative comments, but don’t be rude.
• Don’t delete comments just because you don’t like them, it makes you seem untrustworthy.
• Reply to comments that ask questions, be helpful whenever you can.
• Blogger also has a “require confirmation on posts over two weeks old” feature, which catches a lot of spam. WordPress has a “hold comments for moderation” feature which also works well.

More Questions?

E-mail Captain Skellett at

A reminder of science blogging event in Adelaide

A quick reminder…….

ASC-SA Event Monday 18 January, The Science Exchange (

Science Blogging – who and why?

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.” A. J. Liebling of the New Yorker. In the age of blogging, anyone can make themselves heard. Science blogs can communicate science in a way that few other media can. You can read about the latest research that you may not have access to without a journal subscription, or hear the daily gripes and grumbles of lab life, or follow detailed analysis of policy development or breaking news stories. The best part is blogging is open to anyone to give it a try and join the discussion. At this event we’ll hear from several Adelaide-based science bloggers about why they do what they do, and where blogging fits in the spectrum of science communication.


free ASC or RiAus members

$5 students

$10 non-members.

Book now online at and cash payment can be made on the evening at reception.

Lisa Bailey Ph: (08) 7120 8605 | mobile: 0427 490088| Fax: (08) 8221 6563 | |

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