Everybody wants the brain thing: thanks and farewell Brain Week curators

Beginning on March 12, RealScientists hosted a special event with 3 brainy curators to celebrate Brain Awareness Week. We began with Sophie Scott (@sophiescott), Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL in London.

Conversations generated around Sophie’s research topics of language and laughter were both fascinating and relatable to a broad audience.

Following Sophie was Mo Costandi (@mocost), molecular and developmental neurobiologist turned writer. Mo discussed many fascinating topics including pain, prostheses and phantom limbs.


Finally, Marina Picciotto (@marinap63) took the reins, Professor in Psychiatry and Deputy Chair for Basic Science and Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology at Yale University. Just a couple of the many highlights were the topics of drug development and some lovely micrographs of nervous systems.


Our 3 curators for the week each reflected on their time behind the RS handle, which you can read below.

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

Sophie Scott: It was interesting but so intense!

Mo Costandi: I found it very enjoyable.

Marina Picciotto: I really enjoyed it. I had a hard time coming up with new topics sometime (and I had an emergency root canal in the middle), but overall there was some great discussion.

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

SS: Yes, it was a bit overwhelming at times. And the difference between different days was striking – I started on a Sunday which was in retrospect quite quiet, and then the Monday was so busy!

MC: It was a little daunting, and I had to be selective about which tweets to respond to.

MP: No — it was very engaging and manageable. I have done other curating, so this was similar.

What were the highlights? Were there any lowlights?

SS:The highlights were definitely people’s enthusiasm – some people really got into it. The only low lights were when people were snide or snippy, but there was much less of that. Oh and the mansplaining, the mansplaining was incredible.

MC:For me the highlights were seeing responses to some of the things I tweeted (especially images), and answering a few careers advice questions. The lowlight was having to deal with advocates of complementary/ alternative medicine.

MP: I really enjoyed the conversation that arose around signing reviews and what the pluses or minuses might be. Using polls also got conversations started.

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

SS: I’m aware that I never got very ‘brain-y’ in my tweets, but that was a result of the more activity based tweeting that I aimed for.

MC: No – I wasn’t sure what t expect or what I’d get out of it.

MP: No

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

SS: I aimed to have specific discussions on each day – the first about speech production errors (and what that tells us about how we talk), the second about speech perception (using mis heard lyrics as the hook) and the third about laughter.

MC: I had planned to invite followers to ask me questions my previous research and current work, but didn’t follow it.

MP: I didn’t have a plan beyond sharing my love of neuroscience. Next time I will have more of a plan!

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

SS: Be ready for men to explain things to you! This may not apply if you are a man.

MC: Stick to tweeting about the science you know, and avoid controversial/ fringe subjects such as complementary/ alternative medicine.

MP: Maybe it would be to have a plan!

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

SS: @sophiemeekings, @c_mcgettigan

MC: @vaughanbell, @sarcastic_f, @Neuro_Skeptic, @interstellate_

MP: @SciComm, @SfNTweests

Thanks once again to all of our Brain Week curators from all of us here at RealScientists HQ. If you missed anything from Brain Awareness 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: