TUESDAY, 18 AUGUST 2020Disclaimer: The contents of this article represent opinions and views shared on Twitter, and do not necessarily constitute peer reviewed scientific research.
Firmly into the second half of this bizarre year, scientific minds continue to enjoy sharing their opinions, ideas and advice on Twitter. In July, we were exposed to the inner thoughts of an intelligentsia who have spent much time locked down or in otherwise unusual circumstances. It was clear from this month’s tweets that even scientists, and professionals in science, resort to childish humour in order to pass these difficult days – the result being a chaotic collection of ‘I have a joke’ quips.
I have a palaeontology joke, but it’s badly dated https://t.co/NcgOj2leP9
— NHMdinolab (@NHMdinolab) July 24, 2020
I could tell you my neutron star joke, but I don’t want to sound too dense.
— Jim Al-Khalili (@jimalkhalili) July 24, 2020
I have a joke about scRNA-seq, but I’m worried you’ll over-interpret it and jump to conclusions.
— wythelab (@wythelab) July 25, 2020
In amongst the amusement offered up by Twitter-happy academics, there were also more sincere posts about scientific life. Take, for example, a thread by PLOS Biology Editor-in-Chief Nonia Pariente, who posted about the world of professional scientific editing. Pariente explained why she was drawn to this field instead of pursuing research, discussing the challenges and opportunities of her chosen career and encouraging other trained scientists to consider following a path beyond academia.
Similarly, science writer and prolific tweeter Riley Black shared a motivational message about keeping afloat in the world of science communication. Science Twitter remains full of words of encouragement for those who need them, providing a wealth of experience and support for budding researchers and communicators to draw upon.
Professional scientific editing - a thread 👇
Inspired by @rita_strack track and her #RitaUnsolicited threads, here goes one on professional scientific editing, how I got there and what it is like (to me).
— Nonia Pariente (@npariente) July 23, 2020
Scicomm is its own popularity contest, too.
Don’t lose heart. Don’t focus on follower counts, page clicks, and views as the ultimate measures of success.
Make what you’re passionate about, boost those who need it, and don’t pull the ladder up behind you. 💙
— Riley Black (@Laelaps) July 19, 2020
Amidst all of this, scientists haven’t forgotten their role in disseminating and clarifying knowledge about the COVID pandemic, which still rages on worldwide. Microbiology professor Florian Krammer tweeted a widely shared thread in which he broke down the latest research on changing antibody levels in those who have been infected with COVID-19. Though he stressed that many important questions still need answering, he noted that the data pointed towards a “slow and expected decline over months”, rather than the dramatic loss of antibodies that some headlines were suggesting.
1) There is a lot of talk about decaying antibodies. I would like to walk you through a few findings about antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 that we put on medRxiv on Friday. Ill do this slowly over the day (while being in nonstop conference calls). But I feel this needs to get out there.
— Florian Krammer (@florian_krammer) July 21, 2020
All in all, July was another showcase for the many amazing facets of the scientific community that are expressed through Twitter, as we march forward through these strange times.
Science Twitter, you are awesome.
— Michael Eisen (@mbeisen) July 24, 2020
Adiyant Lamba and Zak Lakota-Baldwin are news editors at BlueSci.