About George Aranda

Dr George Aranda is a former psychology researcher who has moved from the world of neuroscience to pursue a career in science education research and science communication. Now researching and teaching at Deakin University, he has broad interests in writing, social networking modes of communication, podcasting, science communication videos and understanding how scientists and their work are perceived in the world.

ASC Victoria Christmas Trivia Night

#1 – What is Lord Kelvin’s real name?
#2 – How fast does the Earth rotate?
#3 – What are the chemical elements that spell ‘Cute cat’?

If you think you can answer those questions (or even if you can’t), JOIN US at the ASC Victoria Christmas Party Trivia Night!

Date: Wednesday 4th of December
Time: 6pm for a 6:30pm start.
Place: Room One, upstairs at Jimmy Watson’s Wine Bar, 333 Lygon Street, Carlton
Tickets: ASC Members: $15, Non-members: $20
Teams: Approx 3-4 people, but you don’t need to come with your team ready to go! Just come on down and we’ll match you up with a group and introduce you to the amazing people who make ASC-Victoria great!
Included in ticket price: Finger food, festive cheer, trivial questions and PRIZES!
Drinks at bar prices.

RSVP via Eventbrite by the 25th of November

Contact: George Aranda, george.aranda@deakin.edu.au

Professor Ian Chubb appointed as Chief Scientist

Professor Chubb was formally appointed to his new role by Innovation Minister Kim Carr at Parliament House in Canberra today.

Professor Chubb has had a distinguished career in higher education and research and recently retired after a decade as vice-chancellor of the Australian National University.

A neuroscientist by training, he has co-authored some 70 full papers and co-edited one book all related to his research. He later took on leadership roles in university administration and sector advocacy bodies.

Professor Chubb will work closely with the Gillard Government to provide highest quality advice on science and technology issues that impact on Australia and the world.

The Prime Minister said as a past advocate in the university sector Professor Chubb would effectively engage with industry, researchers and the wider community as part of important scientific debates

Senator Carr said a lifetime of work in the research community was recently recognised in Canberra when Professor Chubb was named the ACT’s Australian of the Year for his contribution to higher education.

“He also understands that government needs frank and objective advice and communities need strong advocates. Professor Chubb is an outstanding leader. I congratulate him on his appointment and look forward to working with him.”

Professor Chubb will begin his three year term on 23 May 2011.

[Taken from the Chief Scientist’s website]

George also blogs as PopSciGuy

Easter, Media 140 Frontiers and a Social Media question

It’s that time of year again. Hot cross buns are turning up in offices all over Victoria, the sound of foil crinkling back, revealing the sweet perfume of chocolate (the quality of which will vary) shaped into cute small furry animals. Then it’s a HOLIDAY where you get to see those things you love so much that you don’t often see. Things like…the bed…the couch…and then maybe family.

But even more importantly, the MEDIA 140 Frontiers conference is on, on the 27th of April in Brisbane. [insert rapturous applause]

Teaching science communication and doing some research into the effects of social media on science communication, I am going to be flitting around the conference like a humming bird, trying to find out what I can from people in the know.

But that leads me to ask you all a question:

What types of social media do you use when communicating science?

Facebook? Twitter? Youtube? Flickr? Linkedin? TweetLater? Digg?

Let me know. And I hope to see you in Brisbane. I will be the guy with a poppy in his left lapel (wink wink). Otherwise, enjoy those Easter eggs in bed!

George also blogs as PopSciGuy

Researchers rally over $400m cuts

Yesterday in Melbourne and Sydney, rallies were held to protest against the possible $400m (20%) reduction in the National Health and Medical Research budget. Thousands gathered outside Parliament house in Melbourne, scientists, students and professors stood alongside those who were the recipients of the medical research scientists had conducted.

From a student at the rally:

I am a student at La Trobe University studying double science. The budget cuts in medical research threaten my future job posibilities and those of my friends and colleagues…Australian medical research provides treatments and cures for millions of people around the world and govement funded research often funds research that big pharma companies would not fund as it does not have a high return, such as treatments and cures for third world diseases like malaria.

And from a neuroscience researcher at the rally:

I am an early career researcher whose salary is funded by the NHMRC. I will be conducting brain imaging research to investigate the neurobiological basis of psychosis and schizophrenia.

The changes will have a direct impact on the funding available to conduct medical research. This will have a direct effect on the ability for me to obtain competitive research grants (which are already very competitive with a success rate of about 15-20%) and ultimately to conduct research.

>What was the atmosphere like?
It was a static rally involving some speakers talking about the importance of medical research, a lot of chanting (no cuts to research! etc etc), a lot of cheering and clapping. Many people came down in their white lab coats which was great to see. There were a lot of people holding banners with various slogans (I didn’t have one unfortunately). There were students to Professors there, so it wasn’t just a ‘young’ rally. The atmosphere was alive, you could tell people there felt very passionate about the proposed cuts, not only because of their jobs being at stake but because people are passionate about their area of research and ultimately want to understand and provide better treatments for patients.

A rally is going to be held in Perth. So get out their and communicate about these expected budget changes!

George also blogs as PopSciGuy