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who I am

My name is Kevin Orrman-Rossiter.  I am a freelance science writer and research policy manager in the faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne.

I believe that science is born of an active state of human curiosity and discovery.  It is not a series, or statement, of facts as it can so often be portrayed.  It is a human activity, requiring curiosity, imagination, integrity and tenacity.  Teaching science in the main focusses on the results of science.  I am interested in communicating it, getting across stories about the heroes of science: both the personalities and the ideas.  I want to portray both the graft and the adrenaline rush that makes science such a unique human activity.

As a child I grew up with a deep curiosity about the world around me.  My favourite toys were a telescope, a chemistry set and a geology pick.  With these I explored the earth and the wonders of the universe around me.  I grew up asking many questions and then trying to understand the answers.  I also wanted to be an astronaut.

My curiosity and desire to understand developed into studying physics at university both in Australia and the UK.  Along the way I earned undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, including a PhD, in physics.

The Salford Uni Surface Science lab July 1988. That's me, your writer, second from left. The plaid trousers have become world famous, almost requiring their own twitter account.

My interests ‘matured’ into becoming a professional scientist with a fascination into the properties of surfaces, modern materials (bio and nano), science frontiers and understanding the mind.

I returned to Australia as a Queen Elizabeth II Fellow and afterwards took on the challenges of R&D in a commercial environment, including that of communicating the benefits of technology to the hard-nosed business community. Since then I have spent many fruitful years in business & commerce myself (Amcor, National Australia Bank, Australian Unity), including the joint founding and ownership, with my wife Sharon, of a successful career and business coaching company, Clarity Now.

Some years ago I became dismayed and angered at, what I perceived was, the poor quality debate and discussion about many subjects, in particular science and technology and their role in society within Australia (as well as other countries). Rather than shake my head and mumble disconsolately about this deplorable this state-of-affairs I decided that I should attempt to change it; enter the fray.

Once entering I realised that many other felt the same way.  It is both heartening and humbling that there are many great science communicators out there, bringing light into the caves of ignorance.  People I can learn from and work with.  After all science is dynamic and there is always so much that is exciting, interesting and useful to communicate.

Sculpting my own thoughts clearly and challenging my own beliefs is a continual state of activity for lucid science communication.  Since beginning on this path I have studied philosophy to sharpen my thinking.   I now write and publish regularly.  This blog is where I practice writing in an attempt to make the complex subject of science more accessible to a non-science audience.

In December 2011 I was pleased that the science & Technology editor at The Conversation offered me an editing internship.  This gave me a unique opportunity to experience science journalism first hand.  It afforded me an chance also to enhance my editing and writing skills by learning from experts.  Since completing that I continue to write, publish and edit.

Since then I have been appointed “Beyond Earth” blogger (posting on all ‘astro’ and ‘cosmo’ science topics) at http://www.australianscience.com.au  My postings there have doubled the readership of this site – an achievement I am justifiably proud of.  I am the newly contributing blogger (Lab-literati) at http://www.lablit.com ‘the culture of science in fiction and fact’ essays, interviews and commissioning articles.

Then in May 2012 the University of Melbourne offered me a role as research policy manager in the Faculty of Science.  Wow a responsible job, this could really ruin my reputation!

Some of the pieces in this blog, are short, there is always the need for punchy sound bites, at the same time science requires context and content, so some are longer – requiring your attention.  I trust you find these writings interesting, insightful and perhaps even challenging.

I welcome both comments and commissions.

kevin@lucidthoughts.com.au

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One Comment

  1. Comment by Viviane:

    Dear fell astro-traveller and curious cat about the universe and it’s workings, great blog!! I’m looking forward to future posts and would love to discuss global warming, climate change scientifically and philosphically with you – online, over coffee, anytime 🙂 I’m so glad you are doing this!! It will be fabulous. Profound … and I hope provocative too.

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