Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waterfalls, lambs and tors: How I became a Scientist

I was completely delighted with the number of questions I got from the Year 8 science students I chatted with today. They thought about things, asked questions, told me what they were passionate about, were keen to learn... All signs of scientists in the making :D

Three scientists exploring Mt Budawang (photo courtesy of Helen and Vern)

Being asked to come and talk about how I became a scientist and what I study was pretty cool. I remember people who came and talked to my classes when I was the same age, and thinking about how cool they were. I remember the cool biker-Agriculture teacher I had, the scary Deputy Principal geology teacher who loved volcanoes, growing mould, making and distilling our own spirits, rat dissection, lambing, bee keeping... and of course, bush walks and exploration of the local bush!

It was all my teachers and my love for being outside which really helped me to become a scientist. I was inspired by the environment and by how things work. And now I am passionate about finding ways to look after it and restore it.

Here is part of the talk I gave the students today (although, I seem to recall going into a lot more detail and answering way more questions!).

What I think are some of the keys to science success:
* Inspiration
* Passion
* Questioning
* Learning
* Thinking
* Solving problems
and having fun!

I think that Year 8 class has a lot of future scientists!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Soil Restoration Forum

The Soil Science Society of Australia and The Fenner School at ANU are co-hosting a forum on Soil Restoration:

"Restoration of soils for productive landscapes"

16th September 2011 

Soil Forum 9:30am to 4:30pm   Forestry Building (48), ANU
Harald Jensen Lecture (with Dr John Williams) and dinner from 5:30pm   University House, ANU

 For further information, see the Society website

Some paper topics that have already been received:
* Soil carbon in different agricultural systems
* Impact of climate change on inter-tidal soils and zones
* Rethinking mine rehabilitation
* The science of Natural Sequence Farming 
* Biochar
* Truffles and trees

Interested in presenting? You can email Nathan Weber with your abstract. All restoration topics, backgrounds and ideas welcome!