Sparking wonder and promoting curiosity is something I think and write a lot about. For instance wrapping up AAAS 2016, AAAS 2017 and SciComm Camp. Curiosity sparks internal motivation to explore out the world, or one small part of it, at least. We’re here for too little time to experience it all. A curious culture – open to … More In Defense of Curiosity and Science.
Climate change is a problem humanity is currently causing and facing. Along with the rest of life on Earth, including plants. 2017 was one of the hottest years on record. The arctic is our early warning of a potential future. Policy changes and action on climate are fundamentally selfish – it will maintain the conditions … More Telling stories of plants in a world of unchecked climate change.
Recently, Evolutionary biology PhD candidate and science communicator Sally LePage discovered that 10 of 12 water companies in the UK use divining rods. It was picked up by The Guardian amongst other places. Phantom Sense Divining rods, or dowsing objects, do not work. They are no better than chance and Le Page cites the evidence … More Finding water.
atI had the pleasure of attending Sci Comm Camp for a 2nd year. It made me think about communicating science generally, but also how to better relate plant science specifically. Amongst the sweet smell of false pepper trees (Schinus molle, Anacardiaceae) and stands of white bark-shedding eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus sp., Myrtaceae), 80 or so science … More Plant the seeds of curiosity: Dispatch from Sci Comm Camp 2017
The Google Doodle on July 10 honored Eva Ekeblad’s 293rd birthday. Her story is illustrative of how new foods get adopted and spread, in this case, the potato in Europe. Countess Eva Ekeblad, at 22, became a member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (founded 1739 and since the late 19th century awarders of Nobel … More Eva Ekeblad and Potato Adoption in Europe.
Give up on that riddle? Well, you’re right in thinking there’s not a lot in common between them. All life is connected, however, some is just further apart on the evolutionary bush than others. One is an animal, one is a plant. A lot of evolution and an endosymbiont (the chloroplast plants have that animals … More How is a Naked Mole Rat Like a Plant?
One of the hats I’m wearing these days is as the resources editor for The Annals of Botany. As part of that, for Fascination of Plants Day (FoPD), we are launching Botany Live (#BotanyLive), a global event to celebrate plants starting May 18 and going through the weekend. Live broadcasts of plant scientists talking about plants for … More Botany Live
The professor that got me into plant biology, taught me plant physiology, and in a many ways helped me develop my technical writing ability is retiring this year. Gary Tallman, PhD is retiring from being the Taul Watanabe endowed Professor of Biology at Willamette University in Salem, OR, but has had a long career in … More Guard Cells Tolerating Heat
A New Phase Two years ago I planted the seed that grew into what this blog has become today. It’s gone better than I thought and has provided opportunities to write for other blogs, a society magazine, and been an integral part of my growth as a science writer, and re-awoken my love of science … More Changes at The Quiet Branches.
This is a guest post about a new plant science community resource by Erin Sparks, Guillaume Lobet, Larry York and Frédéric Bouché It is midnight on a cold winter evening and you are scheduled to give a seminar at 8 am the next morning. All you are missing to complete your presentation is one last … More A community repository of plant illustrations