A Day in the Life of a Plant Scientist

Ever wondered what I get up to all day? I tweeted a typical day (Wednesday 11th June, 2014) as part of the University of Bristol's media campaign for Universities Week.

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  1. It's not all white coats and maniacal laughter in the University of Bristol's Biological Sciences department, y'know. As part of Universities Week, I tweeted my daily activities alongside with why I think Bristol's a great place to do a PhD! 

    To be honest it's a very typical day for the past few weeks. I am collecting a lot of information, but that translates to repeatedly doing the same few tasks. But hey, that's science!

    Here's my first ever attempt to Storify tweets.  

    Just so you know what/who you're dealing with

  2. A pretty typical day consists of:

  3. I can see these wiggly cell shapes when I close my eyes these days. Just keep counting..

    (The red numbers are the stomata, the yellow numbers tally up the pavement cells between them)
  4. It's a surprisingly easy process to go from plant to computer image. I make leaf impressions and paint them in nail varnish, stick them to slides using Scotch tape and then scan them using a microscope connected via a camera to my computer. Simples. 

    This image was pretty popular with people in science education. If you'd like to try it, you don't actually NEED the dental putty for most plants. Arabidopsis has really flimsy leaves that can't withstand the nail varnish directly, but if you want to try it out just paint some varnish onto the backs of a variety of leaves and let me know which work best! 


    My PhD does consist of other things too, but the past few weeks has pretty much been making and imaging leaf impressions, followed by oh-so-much counting!
  5. Bristol's a great place for a biology PhD student. Why? Well...

  6. We get free coffee every day (and biscuits on Monday!)
  7. I was absolutely dreading giving a talk about my research in front of everyone, but I got a lot of questions at the end so I knew that people had been listening! 
  8. Last but not least...

  9. So now you know. I count! (Amongst other things, I promise!)
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