Search

Happy New Year! As we all start settling back into the rhythm of work & school, we thought it was a great time for Braintastic! founder Ginny to sit down with the newest member of the Braintastic! team, and find out a bit more about her. Emma is a lecturer in Neuroscience at Cardiff University, where she completed her PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience in 2015. But her other passion is science communication.


Why do you think it’s important to help young people understand their brains?

There are so many myths about the brain and I think it is important that we discuss them openly and honestly. Our brains are so important to us, they not only keep us alive but they give us our identity so we should all know more about them. The interesting thing though is that even scientists don’t know everything about the brain, there is still so much to learn and that is such an exciting prospect.




Have you always been interested in science?


Yes, but I don’t think I knew it! I have always been inquisitive and interested in the world and I think that is probably the beginning of lots of scientific journeys.



What is your earliest science memory?


It was probably making electrical circuits in primary school, pegging crocodile clips on to each other to complete the circuit and make the lightbulb work. Strangely, I remember more physics than biology, maybe that is because I had to concentrate more because I found physics a bit harder!



Who is your favourite woman in STEM, and why?

Without a doubt, Jocelyn Bell Burnell. She completed some revolutionary work on radio pulsars yet did not receive the recognition she deserved. Rather than feel bitter and sad she has forged her own way and now gives back to the scientific community. She has famously said that not being awarded the Nobel Prize has done more for her career than if she had been awarded it.




Do you have a favourite quote?


My favourite quote is by R.S. Grey: “She believed she could, so she did.”

I think self-belief is so important, especially in a world which can be quite critical.



What are you looking forward to about being a Braintastic! Science presenter?

I love seeing the excitement on the faces of audience members when they understand a topic and become excited about it. I am a massive fan of interaction and getting audience members involved and on stage with me, I think it makes it so much more memorable and interesting.



What do you like doing in your spare time?


I have two cats, Peter a shorthaired black cat and Peggy, a medium haired tabby, they are siblings but they do not look like it! We adopted the cats in lockdown and they provide wonderful entertainment as well as keeping me busy asking for cuddles and food! I also enjoy getting outside and seeing the wonderful countryside that we have around us in Wales. I try and go running as much as I can and play netball socially



What one big question about the brain would you like to know the answer to?

I would love to know why different people respond in completely different ways to the exact same scenario.







A brain expert who is curious, passionate about science, and loves cats- I'm sure you can see why Emma is perfect for our team! If you would like to book Emma to come to a school or event, and share her enthusiasm, just get in touch via our website.

And while you are here, why not join our mailing list to keep up to date with all the articles, resources and neuroscience activities we post:


5 views0 comments

It’s not just kids who love science, so I’ve put together a list of great gifts for the grown-up science lovers in your life. And maybe a few hints about what I’m hoping Santa will bring me!


Books & DVDs


You can’t go wrong with a signed book from a top science author, and the Cosmic Shambles team have you covered whether the lucky recipient is interested in space, race, or why we embrace, there is something for everyone (including mine!):

Bookshop - The Cosmic Shambles Network



For teenagers, Dean Burnett’s book, explaining the neuroscience of parents and why they think differently to adolescents, is a great option: Why Your Parents Are Driving You Up the Wall and What To Do About It by Dean Burnett | Waterstones






If you are looking for a laugh, a DVD or download from Festival of the Spoken Nerd will have all geeks giggling on Christmas afternoon. Made up of Stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, Geek songstress Helen Arney and experiments maestro Steve Mould, FOTSN shows are always fun, hilarious and, of course, packed with geekery!

Buy Stuff | Festival of the Spoken Nerd

Clothes


It’s no secret that I love a bit of science fashion, so I’ve picked a few items- some I already have, and others from my current wish-list- these would be fab for anyone working in or teaching science, or who just wants to show off their passion in a stylish way!


Accessories


If science clothes are a bit much, accessories can be a good way to inject some geekery into your wardrobe in a subtle way.


My first ever piece of science jewelry was from Made with Molecules, and they are still some of my favourites. There are all sorts of molecules available, from neurotransmitters to food components, so there is bound to be something for everyone!


I love an enamel pin, and there are lots of great ones out there, but two designers I love are Little Science Co and Jamie Gallagher




Both feature pins celebrating diversity in science, and both donate at least part of their profits to great causes






If you are looking for something to keep you (or a loved one) safe but stylish, this mask could be just the thing- it features a visual representation of our changing climate, and can’t fail to make a statement.






Cards


Christmas cards can be pretty generic, but if you are looking for something a bit different we’ve got you covered- Hana Ayoob’s beautiful illustrated animals, topped with a santa hat, are sure to be a hit! Now you just have to choose who gets the Axolotl and who is more of a Great Tit!



Have a great holiday season and we look forward to seeing you at one of our mind-bending science shows next year! And of course you can keep in touch with all our latest events and neuroscience-based learning tips on our mailing list







177 views0 comments

Updated: Nov 27, 2021


It’s official, Christmas is on its way! And while some may argue we shouldn’t be listening to our favourite Xmas songs (The Darkness all the way for me!) or watching rubbish Christmas films just yet, it’s definitely not too early to start thinking about presents for the curious people in your life. To make your life that much easier, we have put together some recommendations for fantastic gifts that would make any budding scientist smile on Christmas morning.

And don't worry, we haven’t forgotten about the grown-up geeks either- stay tuned for our next post, which will include goodies for them too (and a few items I’m hoping Santa might bring me this year!)

Books


You can’t go wrong with a book, and there are some fantastic ones out there for little scientists of all ages.


A rhyming book by Kyle D Evans, beautifully illustrated by Hana Ayoob, this is a great introduction to the world of numbers, square, negative, prime and more!





CBBC presenter Maddie Moate’s first book is all about the stuff around us- how it’s made, where it goes when you are done with it, and how it can be reused






If your kids love all things icky, nurture that with this fab illustrated book about microbes, by the appropriately named Steve Mould.







At Braintastic!, we are passionate about championing women in STEM, and this beautiful book does just that, telling the stories of 50 amazing women.






While How the Body Works is technically aimed at adults, it’s illustrations and simple language make it a great option for older kids- and I’m not just saying that because I wrote part of it!




Subscriptions


For year-round fun, you can’t beat a science subscription! One of our favourites is Curiosity box. These action-packed activity kits have been designed to get kids of all ages making, tinkering and asking questions. You can buy the boxes individually or subscribe for a whole year of fun!


If boxes aren’t your thing, you might want to consider a magazine subscription. Whizz Pop Bang is a monthly magazine packed with science news, fun facts and activities for readers to try at home.


At Braintastic!, we have our own subscription on offer- you can sign up to our online science club for 6 action-packed sessions that will help your little scientist learn about their brain and senses, while also developing their scientific reasoning skills. The club is now available on Udemy, and we have a special offer for Christmas, meaning you can sign up for just £14.99. Plus, if you send us an email, we will send you a special voucher for you to give the lucky recipient on Christmas morning- so why not give them a gift that will last- a love of science.


Toys


There is plenty of proof that toys can be both fun and educational on the fantastic Maths Gear website: https://mathsgear.co.uk/. Their selection of maths-based puzzles and games will keep kids (and adults) busy well beyond boxing day!





A fab way to inspire creativity and give kids the chance to make their own electronics projects, Circuit Scribe’s conductive pens allow anyone to doodle circuits while learning about electricity. They even have step-by-step projects and tutorials on their website: Electronics Inventor Kits – Circuit Scribe Official Store: Teach Electronics by Drawing!

Or, if your child is more of a 3-d thinker, why not try a 3-d printing pen, allowing them to design and create their own inventions, quickly and easily: https://the3doodler.com


Whenever we are on stage, we always get asked about the giant neuron toys we use to explain how our brains communicate, so this list wouldn’t be complete without a shout-out to Giant Microbes, who make them. Though they started with a collection of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, their selection of cuddly friends now includes organs, diseases, cells and much more! Brain Cell (Neuron) (giantmicrobes.com)

Clothes


Anyone who knows me will know that I am a sucker for a bit of science-themed fashion, and there is plenty out there for kids too (actually, I often find myself wishing kids clothes came in bigger sizes!) I have picked out a few of my favourite pieces, for any stylish future scientist!







GingerSnap Wishes Future Female Scientist Skirt

BlueGiraffeApparel Under Construction Brain Diagram Onesie

DaffodilsandCotton Mushroom T-shirt


I hope you've found some inspiration for what to get the small curious people in your life! Have a great holiday and do join our mailing list to hear about our upcoming events and for more great brainy content:


66 views0 comments
bar2.png