Associate Professor and Curator of Fishes at Louisiana State University, Prosanta Chakrabarty (@PREAUX_FISH) joined RealScientists in March. and began by introducing us to a completely new metaphor for lab management.
Walking dogs is a good metaphor for running a lab. Sometimes we get tangled up, sometimes I gotta pick up their poop, but -always advancing.
— realscientists (@realscientists) March 6, 2016
Curating during International Womens Day also prompted some valuable discussions about diversity in STEM, the importance of mentoring, mental health, and sharing of many excellent under represented women scientists.
Science is hard, don't need to make it harder, think of those that already feel isolated. If you are in a position of power be a good mentor
— realscientists (@realscientists) March 8, 2016
We also got a look at the fab range of fishes that Prosanta has discovered – as far as biology goes, it doesn’t get much cooler than discovering new species all over the world!
This is a pic of some of the new species I've discovered, they are from caves, deep ocean, etc. & 10 diff countries pic.twitter.com/MPhQzQU1nG
— realscientists (@realscientists) March 10, 2016
Prosanta kindly agreed to complete our post-curation survey, and let us know how he felt the week went below.
In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?
I enjoyed it very much. I was able to reach and interact with people who are not in my usual audience. I hope I could change or enlighten some of their opinions on natural history and evolution. I also was glad to talk about diversity and issues in academia to those I normally don’t reach.
It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?
I liked it – there weren’t as many trolls as I thought there would be – it was mainly positive. I did find myself looking at my phone more than usual, but that is okay. I’m going to take it slow this week.
What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?
Just seeing how much people enjoyed some of the tweets, I think the ones about natural history in real time got people going – which is nice. The only lowlight is I kind of ran out of steam the last Saturday. I wanted to spend some time with the kids and at the St.Paddy’s parade, but I think it worked out.
Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?
I think it was great, no complaints. I guess I could have promoted my book but I thought that would be a little cheesy.
Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?
Yep, I wanted to talk about family, and talking about diversity, things it seems like male scientists rarely do. I did stick with the plan by talking about my own research later in the week but returning to the work/life balance issues a few times more.
Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?
I would say go at your own pace, if you want to drop 40 tweets in one morning and then nothing all afternoon – that’s okay. I’d also save a day late in the week to take questions from the followers.
Thanks once again Prosanta from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from his week, the tweets are all collated at the following link.