I created the DIY Science Zone™ in 2013. Where is the #DIYscizone going next?

(by drrubidium) Sep 25 2017

Back in 2013, I created the DIY Science Zone™ as an program submission to GeekGirlCon. After the success of that first year at GeekGirlCon, I have managed all aspects of the DIY Science Zone while this innovative program was hosted at GeekGirlCon. This year, at GeekGirlCon 2017, will be the 5th DIY Science Zone!

It has been fantastic 5 years! It would not have been a success without the zone's amazing donors, the super zone scientist volunteers, and host & staff support by GeekGirlCon. I have served for over five years as a GeekGirlCon staff member manager the zone I created, being on the social media team prior to that. Thank you, GeekGirlCon!

Five years makes one ask...

What next? 

  • What new experiments to run?
  • Which new scientists and educators to partner with?
  • What grants to pursue for longer-term funding?
  • What hosting conventions to partner with?
  • ...many more...

The DIY Science Zone is my creation, my passion project, and I love it. The motto and goal of the DIY Science Zone is "STEM for all!". Whatever comes next, I will continue to strive for the zone's goal. STEM for all!

GeekGirlCon2016 DIY Science-19404

I ".... may use TM for goods or SM for services, to indicate that you have adopted this as a “common law” trademark or service mark." See the USPTO's Trademark, Patent, or Copyright?

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UPDATED! My adventures in green screen sci-comm

(by drrubidium) May 02 2017

Thanks to the folks at ACS Reactions, I've gotten the chance to fight ninjas do a little green screen filming.  The first video, Zombie Apocalypse Survival Chemistry: Death Cologne, was based on a guest blog I wrote for Scientopia ('Chemistry for the zombie apocalypse') which I turned into a presentation most recently given at SciPop Talks!

The second video - Inside the Game of Thrones Poison, the Strangler - comes from a recent entry to this blog called 'Chemistry and King Joffrey'.

I even got to pontificate on why I love to blend science and pop culture.

...and talk video games...

Speaking of rocket science, I got to highlight the work of Mary Sherman-Morgan. Back on earth, two other ground-breaking women scientists are highlighted in the video below - Alice Ball and Dr. Rachel Lloyd.

ACS Reactions, with support from CAS, started 'Get To Know A Molecure'. I got to talk about carbon monoxide, rose oxide, and cortisol.

As part of a collaboration between SciPop Talks! and ACS Reactions, I got be an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Another SciPop Talks! and ACS Reactions collaboration saw the collaboration of two loves of mine - science & football!

SciPop Talks! loves video games and we released the following video the same week Fallout 4 was released.

Star Wars! Living the dream!!!

...and the latest is one one of my favorite things! Whiskey!

I really enjoy writing and presenting these videos. Fingers crossed I'll get to do more in the future!


This post was first posted in April of 2014 when I'd done 3 videos.

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Cracked chemical mysteries for #NationalChemistryWeek!

(by drrubidium) Oct 17 2016

National Chemistry Week is upon us and this year's theme is Solving Mysteries Through Chemistry. Here are real-life who, what, why do its!

The history of sux, the world's most discreet murder weapon

Because she didn't die

The suspicious case of Miss Sapwell

The poisoning of Potbelly patrons

How Forensic Scientists Find a Dead Body— And How Microbes Can Help

Find out what happens when a bunch of forensic folks get together and talk murder! Here's our Getting Away With Murder panel from CONvergence 2014.

Even fictional mysteries can benefit from careful analysis! Take a look at my post on what killed King Joffrey?

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Why I love @GeekGirlCon's #DIYscizone

(by drrubidium) Aug 27 2016

Because of moments like this...

Captain America (@tereshkova2001) helping folks make slime

Captain America (@tereshkova2001) helping folks make slime

...and this...

...and this...

@lousycanuck brought randomness to the zone

@lousycanuck brought randomness to the zone

...and this...

...and this...

...and this... (@Geo_Miles bringing geology to the zone!)

GeekGirlCon 2015 DIY Science - 08

...and even more moments over at our 2015 DIY Science Zone Flickr album.

The DIY Science Zone started with games - specifically, GeekGirlCon's Gaming Zone. That zone had a design-your-own game room and I thought, "What if we had a Science Zone?" That was back in 2012. The DIY Science Zone premiered at the 2013 GeekGirlCon and now we're entering our 4th year!

The DIY Science Zone is a labor of love - like the rest of GeekGirlCon, which is run by volunteers. The success of the zone depends on the awesomest con attendees in the universe*, scientists and educators that volunteer to work in the zone, all sorts of GeekGirlCon staffers (like me!), and donors.

The DIY Science Zone would not be possible without donations. Donations fund 100% of the zone's budget from coating used to protect the conference center's floor, to wall signs directed attendees to science. Our yearly goal is $6,000 and this year we've raised $1,750 so far!

source: makeagif.com

Thanks to donors, we can bring 12+ experiments and the best science educators to the zone!  This year, we're in a space 4x as large so we can go BIG for science! Want to help us make our 4th year super?! PRESS THE BUTTON! FOR SCIENCE!

money button

A donation isn't the only way to help. Spread the word about the DIY Science Zone by sharing this post on your social media platforms using #DIYscizone. Thank you!


*Bold claim, but GeekGirlCon attendees are the illest

This post was updated 27 August 2016.



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Have I got a #chemistry story for you!

(by drrubidium) Mar 12 2016

Thanks to the folks at Chemistry World's Chemistry In Its Element, I've gotten the chance to use my NPR voice to tell the stories of six compounds. How can a compound have an interesting story? Link a bunch of atoms together. THE END. Ah, that's not the story. The story is about fighting a disease. Or finding out what landed all those people in the ER. Or learning how we found that wonder drug. There are flash starts, slow burns, dramatic endings, and cliff hangers. Below are the stories I got to tell. Click on the link and take a listen.

  1. Carminic acid - a red dye with one hell of a history
  2. Methyl salicylate - a winter's tale that burns (Want more? Here)
  3. Sodium azide - makes airbags work, makes us...
  4. Cedrol - a lovely smell that might save lives
  5. Brominated vegetable oil - ER docs hadn't seen this condition in decades (What more? Here)
  6. Haloperidol - researchers did make what they planned on - they made something far better.

I hope to do more of these podcasts - there are plenty of some stories to tell!




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Back to school: Ally Edition

(by drrubidium) Jul 30 2015

You too can be an ally! How? Follow @chescaleigh's 5 tips!

Ready? Good! Here are the 'Recources of allies' @chescaleigh provided with her video at YouTube. Read them. And there's more! Get thee to the web!

Getting Called Out: How To Apologize

White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack by Peggy McIntosh

The Angry Eye - Blue Eye Brown Eye experiment

A Powerful Lesson About Privilege

Managing Privilege

10 things allies need to know

Derailing for dummies

Resources for straight or cisgender people:
Queer 101: http://www.roostertailscomic.com/comi...

White anti-racism: living the legacy

10 Simple Ways White People Can Step Up to Fight Everyday Racism

GLAAD's resources for allies

Transwhat? tips for allyship

10 reasons to give up ableist language


Melissa Harris Perry Black Feminism syllabus

How to be a male feminist ally

Go! Post your own ally sign!

Ally sign

Bit ups to Dr. R. Lee Penn for designing this great sign and to @ChemProfCramer to sharing with twitter!



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What I'm up to at #CVG2015

(by drrubidium) Jun 11 2015


CONvergence is a few weeks away and guess what?!?!

I'll be back for the second year in a row!


You know it, Denzel


This science fiction and fantasy con almost contains TOO MUCH goodness!!! As a Skepchick, I'll be participating SkepchickCon, the science track of CONvergence and other shenanigans. Here's what I'll be up to...

Thursday, July 2
Friday, July 3
Saturday, July 4

When not doing the above, I'll be skipping around the con doing ALL TEH con things!!! Huzzah!


CONvergence banner from con website

Training Day gif from here

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Google autofill: Are chemists...?

(by drrubidium) Jun 04 2015

soure: Imgur

Over at Generation Anthropocene, my favorite geologist - the one and only Dr. Mile Traer - had some fun with Google autofill's returns to "Are geologists...". I wondered at the possibility of doing the same for chemists.... hmmmmm... Dr. Traer was all...

source: Giphy

He even sent me the top Google autofill returns!

source: Giphy

Are chemists a special class of mortals?

Yes. All chemists originally hail from The Realm of Order, but have traveled to the Earthrealm to participate in  Mortal Kombat, AKA "graduate school".

Grad school exams are no joke. Source: tumblr

Are chemists doctors?

Some chemists are doctors, holding either a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or a Medical Doctorate (MD). We all enjoy wearing white coats, we each have horrible handwriting, and many of us would mainline coffee if it didn't prompt stares from non-chemists.

Not as convenient, but what can you do? Source: Giphy

Are chemists good cooks?

Even the POTUS agrees. Source ReactionGifs

There's a whole lotta chemistry in cooking and there are a lot of chemists that are food scientists. Here are some fun chemistry & cooking links!

...and did you know that food chemists have secret lives?! For realz! The Secret Lives of USDA Food Chemists from the USDA!

Are chemists in demand?

Are chemists in jps?

Jackson public schools?  Perhaps. Journal of Polymer Science? You bet. JPS Health Network? Probably.

Are chemists open on Saturdays?

We try to be open to new ideas all seven days of the week, but I'm thinking this use of "chemist" is from searches in the UK or Australia where chemist = pharmacist. Hey, maybe the person looking for chemists in jps, was looking for a pharmacist... hmmmmm.....

Are chemists smart?

source: tumblr

Real talk? There's a difference between book learn' smart, handling your business smart, interpersonal relationship smart, etc. Some chemists are smart in one or more areas and not so much in others. Just like every other member of The Realm of Order. And humans.

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Learning new tricks

(by drrubidium) Dec 14 2014

source: Happy Bunny

Just kidding!

My latest learning adventure is coding, which kicked-off Wednesday morning when I completed Hour of Code. Though not completely ignorant to coding (bit of VBA, bit of MATLAB), I'm no expert. Do I need to be an expert? Well, I need to be proficient so that I can do just enough to support my research efforts. I've yet to quantify what just enough is, but I'll know it when I see it. For know, I'm using Codeacademy to pick up new skills and having too much fun doing it! If you follow me on twitter, you've likely seen my coding adventure tweets. I'm tweeting my learning for one simple reason.

I don't know, but I can learn.

Me. With the so-called "terminal degree". Me, an old person. I don't know-it-all. YET. I'm hoping to write a program that will take care of that for me.


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I'm going to the @UNLCollegeofLaw

(by drrubidium) Nov 18 2014

...tomorrow for visit. Recently, I had the opportunity to hear scientist - lawyer Dr. A. Christal Sheppard speak about her interesting career and thought... "Time to visit to my mater's law school!"

I have been interested in legal studies since I was a wee lass spending Saturdays in the public library reading about collateral estoppel.

True story

Plenty of chemists go into law. The American Chemical Society has a whole division called 'Chemistry & The Law'. Now, will I actually go to law school?

There are many, many, many things to consider. Chief among them?

Tuition. WHOA.

Another factor to consider is what type of law to focus on.  CHECK THIS OUT....


I could be a SPACE LAWYER! Picture it!

DrRubidium's legal knowledge is out of this world!

Firefly meets Reno 911!!! Okay, maybe that's not accurate.... I'll find out tomorrow!


"Nerd alert" gif from giphy

"No idea" gif from Photobucket user dandy_monkey

Money gif from gifbin

UNL Space and Cyber Law image from their twitter account


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