June 7, 2017

Share your #dayofscience during the Science-A-Thon (July 13)

Posted by Laura Guertin

It all started with an idea… and a couple of tweets…


The Science-A-Thon website does an excellent job explaining the “what” of this 12-hour event (the following is shortened from what is posted online).

Science-a-thon is a one-day celebration of science and scientists – from the lab to the field, from learning to teaching, from routine tasks to major discoveries!

Participating scientists will share the ups and downs of 12 hours in science. Each scientist will post 12 photos over 12 hours — morning routines, work commutes, research instruments, class projects, after-work fun. Yes, some scientists spend the day in white coats… but many also spend the day climbing mountains, in museums, on ships, working in teams, and much more!

Hourly photos will be posted on Twitter and/or Instagram, linked from this [Science-A-Thon] website and with hashtags #scienceathon #dayofscience and more!

[Scientists] participating in science-a-thon will also be raising money to support the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN), dedicated to supporting scientists of today and welcoming the scientists of tomorrow.

Activities of ESWN include: raising the profile of women in science, providing critical infrastructure, supporting skills workshops, expanding job-finding resources, and encouraging college students to pursue STEM. ESWN is a 501c3 non-profit, with over 3000 members working in over 60 different countries.

The goal of the science-a-thon is to increase visibility of scientists and the important work they do to the public.

This last sentence cannot be emphasized enough. There is an image/perception challenge for scientists. The stereotypical view of a scientist is still very strong in K-12 classrooms, children’s books, even in the media. The general public also struggles with naming a scientist. A 2011 article in The Atlantic titled Americans Have No Idea Who Today’s Scientists Are, stating that only 4 percent could name a living scientist. Citing a New York Times article, it reported that one survey which asked Americans to name a scientist had a top result (47%) of Einstein (who has been deceased since 1955) and the next result of “I don’t know” (23%).

Scientists are well aware of this challenge and have been using social media to help fight the perception and invisibility battle through hashtags such as #actuallivingscientist (see my February 2017 blog post on Allow us to introduce you to an #actuallivingscientist), and now – the Science-A-Thon!


Science-A-Thon is open to people across the globe of all genders, any field of science (scientists, mathematicians, and engineers), professionals (doctors, nurses, museum archivists, industry researchers, developers… anyone who advances scientific knowledge or applies science to solve problems!), students, and folks who want to be a #ScientistForADay


So why not join in and share a day in your life as a scientist with social media? And/or consider making a donation to a participating scientist to benefit the programming and efforts of the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN).


***NOTE that the goal is to showcase science on July 13, but ESWN recognizes that some people are “on a plane, on vacation, in all-day training, or otherwise tied up in non-science-y or not-good-for-photographing environments.” You have the option take 12 pictures from another day before July 13 and share with #scienceathon on Twitter or Instagram. This helps boost awareness of #scienceathon leading up to the event — even people who will be online 7/13 are welcome and encouraged to join in early!

I’m participating early! I’m just getting back from vacation the day before the 13th, and that will be a day spent in the office plowing through emails, phone messages, and doing laundry (not very exciting to showcase, but certainly an authentic day in the life of a scientist). So my personal #scienceathon will be taking place on Thursday, June 22 (if bad weather, on Friday, June 23) along the coast of Maine. Follow my 12-hour journey on my Twitter (@guertin) and Instagram (@drlauraguertin) accounts! I’ll also post updates on my Science-A-Thon fundraising page.