By Sarah Nason
February: the month of unforgiving cold, the Superbowl, #BlackHistoryMonth, and Valentine’s Day. Science Twitter celebrated all these things and more, so let’s see what was in store! (If you want to look back to even colder times, see the January edition here. Can you tell I’m getting tired of winter?)
1. The University of Turku hired known sexual harasser Christian Ott for their astronomy department after he resigned from Caltech, eliciting widespread criticism.
Read the University of Turku’s statement here.
2. #LGBTscience trended and gave visibility to the LGBT community.
While the tag gave a platform to LGBT scientists, some had more pause when it came to the second half of that identification:
3. #ImAScientistGetMeOutofHere: scientists shared their scariest moments from fieldwork and beyond:
4. The conversation around grad school applications and the unequal treatment of applicants continued.
5. The world learned a bit more about what polar bears get up to on the day-to-day as a result of recent video footage from a study. This did not help us understand why they do these things…
6. An amazing scientific poster #lifehack had everyone saying “why didn’t I think of that??”
7. We all know the struggle.
8. #Superb_Owl Sunday: on the biggest day in football, biologists and scicomm enthusiasts happily shared owl photos instead.
9. We were reminded that you won’t get the data you want if you don’t ask the right question.
10. In response to a poll about whether or not journalists should allow scientists to fact-check their copy, Dr. Chris Chambers published a fascinating thread about his group’s research showing that sensationalization of science comes mainly from university press releases.
11. A very compelling argument by Dr. Dan Quintana to foster open access by sharing pre-prints made quite a buzz:
12. We found out a simple way to improve productivity in the lab:
13. #InternationalDayofWomenandGirlsinScience and #FemFieldPhoto: the visibility of female-identifying folks in STEM was boosted with these trending tags.
14. Speaking of female astronauts, this inspirational quote went viral because yes:
15. I mean, don’t get me wrong, women still experienced some steep up and downs this month:
(I think that speaks for itself.)
Including some important exchanges around how women are expected to police their language and tone in academia…
…and biases in interviews…
…and how our outdoor gear for the field kind of sucks…
…but everything was OK because:
16. An all-female race of crayfish will eventually lead us to victory.
The New York Times story quickly picked up a lot of interest, and social media outlets had a ball with the new “feminist icon”:
17. More critters went viral this month, notably this bone-chilling photo of a great tit (that classic model species for so many behavioural ecologists) and its prey:
18. Need your heart warmed after experiencing the strange and dark energy of those photos? Worry not, the academics of twitter banded together to wish everyone a happy Valentine’s:
And if you needed it, some consolation from the natural world:
19. The release of Black Panther, prominently featuring a Black woman scientist named Shuri, was celebrated by many Black women in science and served to highlight their work:
And even culminated in a massive donation from Disney towards STEM!
20. Science communication was going super great, no problems or inaccuracies here.
I mean, but even if kids aren’t always accurate, they somehow still speak the truth: