Coding in action: thanks and farewell Dan Gillis

In mid-January we were joined by Dan Gillis (@DrDanielGillis), Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science, at the University of Guelph, Canada. Amongst the many fascinating topics that Dan covered during the week, we really enjoyed his discussion of how improv can assist students with developing and sharing ideas…

…the varied applications of computer science to problems such as food insecurity, innovative teaching methods in higher education,  and also of course the #scicake hashtage. CAKE. CAEK. cAeK.


Dan generously filled out our post-curation survey, with his answers to be found below.

In general terms, how did you find your week as a curator?

It was a fantastic week, and I’m really grateful that I had the opportunity to take part. Thanks again.

It can be a shock talking to so many. Did you find the sudden rush of interactions (good and bad) daunting?

Not really. I manage 9 Twitter accounts, 4 blogs, and 4 Facebook pages, so between that and student emails, my computer is almost always pinging. Last week there was definitely way more pinging than typical, but it was manageable. Also, the fact that it was fun also helped.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

I was nervous going into the week, wondering if I really had anything to offer, or if people would respond. The RS community is incredible; warm, bright, and damn funny. They seemed to welcome me wholeheartedly.

In terms of the content covered, I think my favourite moments were when people shared why they loved science. On any week this would have been awesome and inspiring, but given the cloud that has fallen over science with the inauguration of the new US president and his associated team, it was especially positive and uplifting to hear from so many scientists around the world. Their wholehearted passion for what they do is definitely a light in what seems to be the beginning of darker times. On those days when I think the entire world is feeling a bit too dark, I’m going to remember this past week. So a huge thanks to everyone who made last week incredible.

The only lowlight I experienced were a few cases of potential trolling by a few of the Alt-Right ilk. However, there were only 2 cases where this happened (that I recall/noticed), and other than reading some of the hateful things they’d written to others (tip: never ever read the comments), I simply ignored them.

Is there anything you wanted to get out of / do on the RS account that you didn’t manage to fit in?

Yesterday before I headed home from the conference I was attending in Montreal, I walked past a tattoo shop and a nerdy tattoo caught my eye. In retrospect, I think it would have been fun to ask about science tattoos.

Other than that, I think I covered all of what I wanted to cover.

As for what I wanted to get out of it – I got way more from my week at RS than I was expecting, including several new connections, further support for my work, and an awesome platform to learn about what other people are doing. I knew it was going to be fun, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so inspiring.

Did you have a plan? If so, did you stick to it?

More or less. I jotted down my various projects and the topics I thought might be interesting to discuss, then I tried to order them into a cohesive story that I could build throughout the week. For the most part, I stuck to this unless someone brought up a good question or something fun. For example, I hadn’t intended to have a conversation about #SciCake, but it was fun.

Do you have any tips or advice for future RS curators?

Have fun. Relax. Have a plan, but don’t worry about sticking to it. Don’t worry if people aren’t immediately responding to your story. Try to work with what you receive – have a conversation. Mostly, have fun.

What other people or accounts should people follow if they enjoyed your tweets this week?

In no particular order:


The following are related to projects I mentioned during the week:

Thanks once again Dan from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from his week, the tweets are all collated at the following link.


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: