Monday and Tuesday

Filming really still occupies my brain. I am not only planning for the next film and busy finding money to finance it, but I also found myself completely immerged in the section on film books when I visited a book store the other day. What a paradise this was – there were books on everything one needs to make own films. Books on lightning, books on creating scripts, books on how to film, cut and make voice overs, books on how to make documentaries, short films, and advertising videos, and much more. I sank in a chair in the bookstore, loaded with books and eyed through my selection. How great it would be to know all that, I thought, but how long will it take me? Years! Maybe better stick to what I know and build on that, and let Plastic Buddha and Nerys do the filming!

Yesterday I prepared my teaching for today’s course in Communicating Science.  The first lesson was going to deal with the ethics of being a scientist, why we need to communicate our research and which channels we have for this, and finally on how to write a conference abstract. I had never learned how to write an abstract, or how to write an article or a research proposal, or how to give talks, or lectures. But for the PhD students in my course I wanted to prepare things correctly, not just stuff them with my own experiences. So I searched the Internet for advice on how to write a conference abstract in a correct way. I realized quite soon that I had made many mistakes over the years … it is a wonder that my abstracts ever made it into a conference and that they had been accepted!

Step 1 – decide for which conference and session you would like to submit your abstract (I always get mixed up with all the different sessions at large conferences, and am never really sure that I submitted to the right one). Step 2 – check the deadline and prepare your abstract well in advance (I usually submit with a margin of a few hours). Step 3 – write your abstract in the present tense and not in the future (how many times have I written that I will present this and that, that the talk will highlight this and that?). Step 4 – only write about results that you actually have, and not about results that you might have by the time of the conference (well, well, well?!). Step 5 compose your abstract as follows: a) introduction to the problem; b) methods used to address the problem; c) results of your work and d) conclusions, i.e. how do your results contribute to the problem outlined in a). Have I ever been so structured? My next conference abstract will definitely be more elaborated, I promise, now I know how to write an abstract, and it will be submitted well in advance of the deadline!

Apart from my two hours of teaching the Communicating Research class this morning, I also had 2 ½ hours this evening, in our course called The Ocean. My lecture was about the Baltic Sea history. Last year I used slides with English text for the same lecture and had found it difficult to speak Swedish and having the text in English. Therefore I translated (all afternoon) the English text on my 80 slides into Swedish and just managed to finish everything 10 minutes before the lecture started. Imagine how surprised I was when the students said “but we thought the lecture would be in English”! Half of the people sitting in the classroom could not speak Swedish or only little Swedish …. So what did I do? I gave the lecture in English with Swedish text on my slides … it worked well, but my brain had been so tuned into Swedish, that it became really tired from speaking English after half of the time.  Much of the ups and downs of land uplift, sea level change, threshold shifts and ice advance/melt had evaporated by the time I had reached the Ancylus Lake stage. Maybe for next year I should have one file with English text and one file with Swedish text, and depending on the occasion I can pull out one or the other? And, moreover I should prepare my brain beforehand for the chance to think in English or Swedish.

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2 Responses to Monday and Tuesday

  1. Dear Barbara, I am hugely enjoying reading your blog… i had a bit of a falling out for a couple of months where I didn’t update mine or read others’ but now I got the pleasure of going over many of your posts at once!

    By the way, is your lecture on the history of the Baltic Sea available online somewhere? Would be very interesting to read/see it!


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