Science and I have always had a thing.
I grew up on a sugar cane farm (that’s it in the header photo) and was surrounded by nature. I always asked questions and wanted to know why. It was a great way to grow up, riding our bikes down to the creek, catching tadpoles, getting some sun! My favourite memories are from the school holidays when mum would pack an esky and she, my brother, the dog and I would load up into the ute and drive down to where dad was working. We’d sit up against the tractor tyres and have our “smoko” (tea and sandwiches, plus whatever goodies mum had baked).
My dad participated in a few studies with the local sugar research group and I remember the scientists coming out to the farm to check on the progress. They seemed so intelligent and confident as they explained what they were doing and what they needed my dad to do and I of course helped 🙂
I always loved school (almost always) and declared on my first day that I was going to be a teacher. I stuck to that plan throughout my entire schooling, until it came time to choose a university course. I decided to do a science degree, majoring in mathematics, since I wanted to be a math teacher. However, 6 months in, I was not enjoying the mathematics, but I was LOVING the chemistry. I switched majors and never looked back.
I did two post-graduate degrees on top of my Bachelor’s degree and landed a job, teaching sugar chemistry at a college near my hometown – it was a short term contract and I was lucky enough to then get a job in a drug discovery lab in Brisbane. This was to be my scientific awakening. I learnt so much there – it was the place where I first used robots and quickly discovered that I had a flair for them so I took on the role of teaching the robots and teaching my colleagues how to use them.
Eventually, I was approached by one of the robotics companies to join them as an applications specialist, where I could teach people all over the country. What a cool job! What an intense job! What a challenging job! What an exhausting job!
So a would-be-math-teacher becomes an automation applications specialist – stranger things have happened. Haven’t they? The running theme throughout is teaching, I still am happiest when teaching people (except for after work, when I’m wandering about with my camera!).
These days, my role is sometimes more administrative – running the budget, supplier liaison, strategic marketing plans, but I relish the days that get back into the lab, teaching customers how to automate their daily workflows.
I often wonder what would have happened if I’d gone in a different direction, my sliding doors moment – teacher and author were the two things I wanted to be… But, without taking this path that I’ve taken, I wouldn’t have met the people that I’ve met along the way!
So that brings me to now. Now I want to share with you some of this wonderful world of science. So I’m starting a regular feature with science at the heart of it, and photography as the backbone 🙂
I plan to share simple experiments that you can try at home (all suitable for children, with appropriate adult help, of course!). I’ll also share interviews with my fellow scientists (great opportunity to practice my portrait photography!!), and whatever other interesting things might pop up.
I was asked to write a chapter for a book many years ago. The book is called “Let’s Experiment” and was published by the CSIRO (ISBN 0-643-06801-5). It is full of interesting, educational and fun experiments of kids, and I have drawn my inspiration from there.
As most of you know, photography is never far from my mind and my camera is never far from my fingertips, so please indulge me with my images of these scientific escapades 😉
Ok, if you’re game, let’s dive in!!