Why Can’t Science be Funny?

By Emily Longman, BSc Biochemistry

Edited by Maddie Wildridge

Tom and Jerry Reading – if only scientific journals were as fun!

I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say if they wrote academic papers the same way they wrote Tom and Jerry cartoons, I’d be reading them a lot more! So why don’t they? 

There are 3 reasons: 

  1. They want to avoid confusion 

The aim of academic writing is to convey a complex idea with concision and without confusion to fellow academics. By adding quips or breaking free from the pretty rigid model of academic papers, one risks readers getting distracted, and missing the point of the paper.  

  1. They don’t want to “dumb it down” 

A lot of the time academics associate digestibility and informality with having to “dumb something down” which certainly goes against the aim of academic writing for likeminded academic readers. 

  1. The fear of peer reviews 

Although it sounds shallow, it’s especially important that those reading your paper like it, as the pillars of academic publishing are peer reviews. A paper won’t make it anywhere near my screen if the peer reviews frown upon it. So many writers bow down to the peer review system for approval in the name of their paper’s progression.  

Peer Review Panel – I imagine many people have different opinions on scientific articles.

Considering this, it’s true that breaking a tradition by cracking a joke is a risk that might not pay off… 

But I’m not asking for an hour long stand-up gig about RNA! Merely a funny title, a bit of intentional alliteration perhaps? Just some variation from the (although novel and fascinating) DULL papers we students have to read. 

I’ve found a few papers that have done just that, and you tell me if these would catch your eye: 

These had me giggling! (You can never go wrong with a Barbie reference.)  

My housemates and I were laughing at these titles last night, and it made us realise how easy it is to get bogged down by the weight of studying a science degree, or working a science-based job. Science is serious for good reason, we’re often discussing diseases affecting thousands of lives, but it’s important to show a balance. I chose a Biochemistry degree because I had FUN in labs at school, not because I wanted to be serious and intellectual all the time.  

I’m a big fan of the Science journal, not just for the published papers, but for their science humour column, and their blogs. The informality is inclusive and far less intimidating than the impenetrable, science jargon stuffed papers. I strongly believe that a bit of humour goes a long way in academic publishing becoming unique and approachable without sacrificing complexity and content.  

If you’re also the type of person to rather read a blog than a paper, or if you’re interested in learning some more creative skills to use for bioscience careers outside the lab, then you might enjoy the science communication module Newcastle provides that sparked me writing this article in the first place! 

Check out the module here! 

Author: Emily Longman

Day in the life of a Student Dietitian on Placement – Eating Disorders

Hi – it’s Georgia the Student Dietitian again! So on the last blog post I talked about what it was like to be on placement in a secure inpatient unit. I said I would also give some insight into my day in the life in an Eating Disorder unit – so here it is!

Background context – Eating Disorders is an umbrella term that can describe many different disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia and others. The patients in my care ranged from 18 to 75 years old and covered all genders. There is lots of psychology often required within Eating Disorder services, so Dietitians work alongside other healthcare staff to provide a holistic form of care to patients. For my placement I worked across inpatient units (on a ward within a hospital), community, and day service. This gave me a really good insight into all of the different areas you could work in as a Dietitian in Eating Disorders.

The different types of services: So i mentioned that there are three different types of services. I am just going to explain a tiny bit about each one so that you are aware of the difference.

Inpatient services – This is where patients are on a ward and have their own rooms. They are monitored and supported 24/7 by staff and are sometimes allowed leave off the ward. Patients on these ward often get their weight and bloods monitored more often and can be put onto a feeding tube if necessary.

Community – This is a service which manages and supports Eating Disorder Patients within the comfort of their own homes. Dietitians will often visit patients where they live and provide advice and support around meal plans and cooking facilities etc.

Day service – Day service is a service which allows patients to attend a clinic for the whole day or half the day to have their meals and be supported by cooking for themselves. So patients tend to spend the whole day at the service and they will have supervised breakfast, lunch, dinner and 3 snacks. They are also supported to cook for themselves in order to mimic what it would be like for the patients at home.

My day to day experience:

As all of the services were very different, I unfortunately do not have enough writing room to describe all of these (plus I think you would probably get bored!). Therefore, here is a day in the life of a student on an inpatient ward….

Morning: I usually arrive at the hospital at 9am to prepare for the day. The Dietitians have their own office where they can produce resources, write up notes and host team meetings with other healthcare professionals. The start of the day I would usually read about on patient backgrounds and fill in my patient notes based on what I can already access (for example recent weights and blood results). I would then find out what diet plan they are currently on and assess whether this would need changing (diet plans are often progressed step by step to gradually increase intake). After this, I would then usually see around 2 patients for lunch to discuss their progress and come up with future action plans.

Afternoon: After the patients (and staff) have their lunch, we usually continue consultations with patients throughout the afternoon. We do have to be careful to not interrupt snack times however as this is obviously a very important part of their day. Often patients are very visibly upset during consultations as the last thing they want to discuss is food, so showing lots of empathy and understanding can really go a long way during these sessions. Again, my communication skills in this sector definitely developed further as it was very different to what I had learnt at Uni! After my consultation sessions, I would then make any changes to diet plans if this was necessary that day and would add this to the patient notes. I would then head home for a good sleep as I am usually very tired by the end of the day!

As always, if anyone has any questions about what it is like to do Dietetics and what placement is like, please leave a comment! Thank you 🙂

Places to Visit in Newcastle (Part 2)

Our exploration of Newcastle is far from complete. Welcome to Part 2 of our list of locations to visit in Newcastle upon Tyne, one of England’s most major destinations for tourists and students. 

Let’s pick up where we left off in the previous section of the series. We saw largely historical structures in Newcastle. Now we’ll continue on the tour of the city, from the popular nightlife district to spots where you can relax and enjoy the weather. 

1. Quayside 

Where have all the night owls gone? This is the perfect location for you. 

Newcastle residents refer to the area along the Tyne river as “quayside.” Pubs, bars, and eateries line the streets surrounding this site. As a result, this area is well-known for its nightlife. When you’re here, you can do more than just party and drink; you can also take in the breathtaking views of the river and bridges. I encourage you to visit here at sunset so that you can enjoy the beautiful sunset panorama. The scenery is just as stunning at night as it is during the day, with lights illuminating the street and the river, and music from the bars accompanying you. This area is excellent for enjoying the moment and socialising with friends or family. (You should try the Wetherspoon in Quayside; they offer such good food at a good price!) 

Look at how stunning the view is! I captured this photo around sunset. The picture was taken by me 

In addition, the Sunday market is a weekly market that opens on the quayside. You should be able to figure out when it is open each week just by reading the name; yep, the market is open every Sunday. There were over 20 vendors selling a variety of items, including food, drinks, artwork, flowers, and much more. They sell a wide range of foods, including Italian fare such as pasta and pizza, Indonesian fare, Greek fare, Chinese fare, and so on. (Must try!) 

2. St. James Park 

Apart from the country’s history, who doesn’t know that England is also known for its football? Newcastle United Football Club is also one of the most well-known football clubs in the world. Newcastle United’s logo features the classic black and white stripes that gave them the nickname “The Magpies.”  

I should have taken a better picture of the stadium cause it’s literally so amazing. The picture was taken by me 

Newcastle United’s home football stadium is called St. James Park.  Do you want to have a tour inside the stadium or want to watch a football match? You can book the ticket here (https://book.nufc.co.uk/) (Don’t forget to take pictures with the legends out front of the stadium!) 

3. Greggs 

It’s time for a snack! Have you noticed that there are a lot of Greggs stores around town?  

Fun Fact of the day: Do you know that this store with the well-known blue and yellow logo was founded in Newcastle?  

This is the Greggs store at Quayside; have a bite to eat while admiring the view of the river. The picture was taken by me

That is why you must try their food while you are here. Greggs is known for its savoury and sweet items including sausage rolls and doughnuts. Not only do the locals enjoy it, but so do students, including international students like me, who also love their food so much. Give it a try! 

4. Leazes park 

Take your snacks and head to one of Newcastle’s most popular parks. 

Leazes Park, which is next to St. James Park, is a lovely place to sit and unwind yourself. You could sit on the benches beside the lake and watch the ducks and geese while taking in the sunshine. (If I’m feeling stuffy in my room, I like to go sit there for hours.) 

I arrived at the perfect time when there were very few people. The picture was taken by me

This park also allows you to enjoy a picnic; benches and tables are available for the public, but you may also bring your own picnic mat and sit on the grass. However, once your picnic is over, please remember to clean up all the trash. 

5. Exhibition Park  

Do you want to go on another picnic? Another park to visit is this one! This huge park is also available to the general public. If you wish to enjoy a picnic, there are several spots to choose from. In addition, there is a skating arena that is always open and popular. 

Don’t worry, the park also has a lake with benches close to it where you can sit and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.  

Look at how beautiful the scenery is, and you can even see the brewery in this photo. The picture was taken by me

Want to eat or drink anything but forgot to bring it with you? In the park, there are cafes and a brewery. Wylam Brewery is the name of the brewery, and they make excellent beer.  

This concludes my recommendations for this part. There are still a few locations I want to tell you about, so stay tuned for the next part! 

For prospective and current students don’t forget to check out our university website!

Places to Visit in Newcastle (Part 1)

Are you visiting Newcastle for the first time? This blog post is for you if that’s the case. I’ll recommend a few locations to visit in Newcastle while you’re here. Even if you aren’t, you should read this in case you forget or don’t recognise these areas. 

Newcastle is one of England’s most popular cities, known for its heritage, nightlife, and much more. That is why I am separating this series into two parts because I will be recommending a lot of places for you. Now, without further ado, let’s get started! 

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Newcastle’s Must-Try Food Spots!

By: Elayna Hugh-Jones

Graphics: Elysia Marrs

This blog post is the hardest I’ve ever had to write…narrowing down my favourite Newcastle food spots to just 7 is a task and a half. However, I have managed to just about do it, with a sprinkling of extra tips of course. I know most of us are living on a student budget so eating out isn’t always a regular occurrence BUT isn’t good food just the solution to everything?! I personally think so. Since living in Newcastle, my friend and I have collated an Honours list of our favourite restaurants and food spots, rated by food, atmosphere, and value for money. I’m sharing our top 7 with you!

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Language Barrier- English as Second/Third Languange?

By: Caroline Elaine

There are approximately 6500 languages in the world, each with its own distinct characteristics that distinguish it apart from the others. Most international students at Newcastle University come from all over the world, from Asia, Europe, and so on. They grew up speaking a language other than English and only began learning English in school. Some people will become really fluent at it, while others will not. Therefore, the language barrier is one of the reasons why studying in a foreign country can be difficult.

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A day in the life with Amelia Guest

Interviewed and edited by Elayna Hugh-Jones

What do you study here at Newcastle University?

So I’m in my 2nd year of Biomedical science, and I’m doing a placement year in September so it’ll be a 4 year degree for me. Then I’m thinking about further study, such as a Master’s or post-grad medicine.

Newcastle University Medical School

What does a typical day look like for you?

So I’m an early bird, I get up around 6:30 and I take some time to wake up and have breakfast. Then if we have any 9am or 10am lectures I like to go to the Uni gym beforehand to start my day on a good note, which means I leave my house in Jesmond at about 7:30. We typically have 2 or 3 lectures a day and I’ll head to the Walton Library in between if we have any breaks. But if we have no lectures, Wednesdays are usually our days off, I still head to the library and set myself up for a day there. I’ll usually take my packed lunch and stay for the majority of the day and then head home for dinner. I and my housemates tend to all eat together which is a nice part of the day to look forward to.

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How is Stage 2 Different from Stage 1?

By Caroline Elaine

Hello everyone, my name is Caroline, I am a BSc. Biomedical Sciences student. I have finally begun stage 2 of my course after spending a year in Newcastle adjusting to a new life, making new friends, and doing other bits and pieces. The seminars, lab practicals, and lectures have been ongoing for more than two months now.

So I figured it’d be a good time to evaluate the differences between stage 1 and stage 2. 

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5 Easy Recipes

By: Marcelle Reis Rosmaninho

Starting uni comes with a whole lot of changes. For most of us, an unexpected change we must adapt to is learning how to cook for ourselves. Cooking is a daunting experience, especially for someone who has never cooked before. After seeing my flatmates in the first year constantly eating frozen Tesco pizza, I thought it would be a good idea to share my 5 easy recipes that can be taken to uni on a busy day!

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All About NUFS – Newcastle University Fashion Society

What is NUFS -Newcastle University Fashion Society?

Are you passionate about Fashion? Do you want to be involved around creative people? NUFS -Newcastle University Fashion Society- provides students with activities such as weekly sewing classes, photography, content creation, writing, styling, modelling workshops and other social events. As well as, our grand annual fashion show!

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