Most people spend wintery Sunday evenings snuggled on the sofa in front of the telly, with a cup of tea clutched in their hands, trying to squeeze the last drops out of the weekend. But this weekend I, along with three other PhD students across the country, were instead huddled around our microphones. I was recording my first ever podcast episode!
Mendel’s Finches is a science and society podcast run by a few PhD students across the University of London, and they kindly asked if I’d like to be a guest for an episode all about biomechanics! I was to be joined by fellow PhD student Alex Evans, who does cool research on the biomechanics of bird flight at the University of Leeds, and has a rather good blog that can be found here. We’d actually met previously, at last year’s SEB conference, and had a good chinwag about all things blogging, Twitter, and science communication.
I managed to borrow a mic from Bethan, one of the Mendel’s Finches regulars, and after a few technical issues (sorry again, guys…) I could finally hear Alex, Matt and Lawrence. We were ready to begin chatting about birds, spiders and robots!
I won’t give away too much about what we discussed (you’ll have to listen when the episode is out!), but Alex and I chatted about our respective research, we talked about why some people are scared of spiders, and there was a lot of chat about bio-inspired robots. We love robots! (Sadly Alex realised afterwards that we’d totally missed the opportunity to discuss the return of BBC’s Robot Wars. I think we should do another episode.)
We actually wound up talking a bit about some of the stuff I post on here; imposter syndrome, loneliness in PhDs, and the mental health issues in academia. Once again it struck me how important it is to actually talk about and acknowledge these things.*
I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed my recording experience. There’s something so natural about audio, just four scientists chatting away excitedly about our research. I’m lucky enough to have been on a few science communication training courses that have involved some radio and interview practice, but they were a long while ago, and I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it!
Thanks to the guys at Mendel’s Finches for a great alternative way to spend a rainy Sunday evening. I will post the episode on here once it’s been released! In the meantime, have a listen to their other episodes and get in touch with them on the links below:
*If you’re interested to read some of my posts about the difficulties in PhDs, you can find them here, and here. Here is some information about imposter syndrome. Feel free to reach out to me via this blog, my Twitter, or my email if you’re struggling and want to chat. Trust me, I’ve been there.