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Cambridge University Science Magazine
Disclaimer: The contents of this article represent opinions and views shared on Twitter, and do not necessarily constitute peer reviewed scientific research.

During the month of May, Twitter was once again alight with the opinions of researchers, communicators and policymakers in the world of science. April saw a multitude of opinions on COVID-19, and whilst May had much of the same, there was less direct emphasis on the pandemic and instead a focus on the process of doing science from home. Rita Strack, Senior Editor at Nature Methods, shared her expertise on writing figure legends for papers, something scientists are doing en masse due to lack of laboratory access.

Current issues pervading both science and the larger world beyond the pandemic were also addressed in May by scientific folk on Twitter. Popular BBC science communicator Dr Adam Rutherford is an active presence on the social media platform and has recently promoted his book ‘How to Argue with a Racist’, to educate and inform on the issue of racism from a scientific perspective. He has also taken time to address poorly conducted scientific research, and misrepresentation of science by the media, two issues that plague academia today.

Another side of ‘Science Twitter’ appeals to lovers of nature, some of whom are missing the opportunity to explore the outdoor wilderness. Accounts such as the Natural History Museum’s ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ kept us entertained last month with images of the natural world, providing the occasional smile in troubling times.

Mining through ‘Science Twitter’ can also uncover interesting facts and stories in a digestible format. For example, the UK Statistics Authority published a fascinating thread on 12 May about nurse Florence Nightingale’s lesser-known pioneering work as a statistician, which included construction of the visually accessible polar area pie chart (a pie chart in which one variable is represented as distance away from the centre rather than slice size, and each equal slice represents another variable that accumulates to a whole e.g. months of the year). The later ‘spie chart’ added variability in slice size as an additional variable to the polar area pie chart.

And lastly, it is fair to say that a mass of scientists on social media must inevitably conjure up some cringeworthy humour - May was no exception to that rule.

Adiyant Lamba is a news editor at Bluesci.