Know Thy Researcher

Conceiving an idea, pursuing its experimental validation, publication, ground trial and finally making it available to human kind takes a lot of paid and generous contributions of researchers. Individual efforts form the basis of any transformative scientific development and become crucial in the evolution of any field of study. It is therefore important to recognize researchers and their contributions. Approximately 1.5 million research papers were published in journals in 2010 alone. At an average of 3 authors per paper, excluding multiple papers per author, the lowest estimate of the number of unique researchers listed would be about 4.5 to 5 million per year. How does one recognize each author and their work? It is a cumbersome job for other researchers, employers and stakeholders to identify each researcher based on some of the current literature citation protocols and formats. Continue reading

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The Hills are Alive with the Sound of…Science

Children’s angelic voices were accompanied by science experiments on February 28 at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. The Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas (CCGD) “Earth, Wind & Sky” concert drew inspiration from science themes, including astronomy and biology. CCGD invited SPEaC to perform experiments and answer “Ask a Scientist” questions live onstage during the concert interludes. SPEaC was honored to be in the midst of spectacular artistry, from both the fabulous young singers to the talented CCGD staff that designed, coordinated and conducted the concert.

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SPEaCing and experimenting with our community at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science

The sun and faces were shining this past Saturday, January 24 at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, TX. SPEaC hosted our inaugural science booth in the Being Human Hall at the museum as part of our community educational outreach. UT Southwestern graduate students and postdoctoral fellows presented a fun demonstration and related it to basic science research based on phospholipids (lipids). Our volunteers used milk, food coloring and dish soap to demonstrate that the chemical properties of soap can alter the fats (lipids) in milk. Food coloring was dropped into whole milk, and a cotton swab coated in dish soap was dipped into the food coloring. This soap and milk reaction creates a beautifully striking movement of the food coloring that continues as the milk is exposed to the soap. The detergents present in the soap interact with lipids in the milk to form micelles (fat globules), causing the observed movement visualized with the food coloring. Children and adult museum-goers alike were amazed by this experiment, especially because they performed it with real scientists! Continue reading

SPEaC Hosts Congressman Marc Veasey’s Lead Field Representative to Discuss Science Outreach

Since participating in the ASBMB 50-State Challenge and meeting with many of the Texas congressmen’s local staffers, SPEaC has started developing a productive collaboration with the congressional staffers in Representative Marc Veasey’s Dallas office. To this end, we were fortunate to host Representative Veasey’s lead field representative, Lorraine Birabil, at our last meeting held on December 3rd 2014. As Representative Veasey’s lead field representative, Ms. Birabil spends her time traveling around the 33rd district meeting constituents to learn about their interests. She also ensures that every call and letter coming through the Veasey office is logged to allow Congressmen Veasey to receive reports of constituents’ concerns. Ms. Birabil also emphasized that a combination of phone calls, letters, and office visits are the best way to communicate with Representative Veasey. Continue reading