Last updated March 26, 2018 at 9:59 am
Rotating curator accounts are one of the best parts of twitter. The idea is simple – one twitter account, but each week a different person is tweeting. Different styles, opinions, different science being talked about, and different personalities from different countries and cultures. One week could be an archaeologist on a field trip, the next a cybersecurity expert. Don’t like one person? That’s ok – there’ll be someone different next week with different stories. It’s always changing, always with different insights and perspectives.
This summer, here’s who we’re following:
The original and biggest science rotating curator account, Realscientists is still making waves nearly 5 years after it started – now with 59,000 followers and a steady stream of scientists wanting to tell their stories. Unlike many other science ro-cur accounts, RealScientists doesn’t have a theme beyond science – so its variety factor is sky high. From biology to physics to social science, it gives an incredible view into the different worlds of science.
It was started by Australian PhD student Upulie Divisekera as a way of giving scientists more of a voice, and has since inspired other ro-cur accounts and even spawned sister accounts in non-English languages.
“My friend Bernard Kealey suggested a science rotation curation account after seeing our mutual friend talking about science on [Twitter]. With his permission, I set up Real Scientists because it was clear that a rotation curation account would make a great medium to broadcast and showcase different kinds of science and scientific careers you can have; but most importantly, it was real time and would allow people to ask questions and engage with scientists directly,” says Upulie.
“We hope that this account will encourage people to engage with scientists, scientists to engage more with the public and to become more humanised. We also hope it creates discussion around important issues in science from open access to climate change by providing the expertise for the public to engage with.”
So I've had some questions about intergenerational trauma. I'll try and give an overview in this thread #trauma
— @RealScientists – Felix (@realscientists) December 18, 2017
The newest rotating curator account in this list, People of Space is for stories told by people interested and involved in some way with space.
Started in late-2017 by Australian space-obsessive and communicator @Taraustralis, one of the highlights so far has been the week hosted by @_HerbBaker, a former manager of the Operations Support Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. During his week he told all kind of fascinating, and sometimes unbelievable, stories from his time behind the scenes at NASA.
However according to @Taraustralis, it’s not just for scientists and engineers. “@People_of_space is more for the people OF space, meaning you don’t have to be a scientist or working for a space agency to run the account. Space is all about a community… so I’d love to see more artists, designers and photographers (curate the account)”
The Lunar samples are kept in a vault to protect their pristine condition. You can see little square blocks next to the samples that indicate exactly how the rocks were found on the Moon (T or B for Top or Bottom & N, S, E, W for the direction they faced). pic.twitter.com/BCAH3pk1GS
— People of Space: Nahum (@People_Of_Space) November 30, 2017
Need an astronomy or planetary science fix? Astrotweeps has what you want. Every week a different astronomer or planetary scientist jumps on. This week could be star formation at the edge of the universe, and next a scientist from SETI searching for asteroids, or a team member from New Horizons. It’s a literal galaxy of different stories.
Co-founder of the account @megschwamb said the account was started not only for the different science stories, but also a peek into the lives of scientists. But the science stories are still pretty amazing. “One of our highlights has been people sharing their observing runs on telescopes or their lab work live. This included someone from the New Horizons mission science team hosting the week they needed to prepare to chase a stellar occultation of New Horizon’s next fly-by target with SOFIA, a modified airplane carrying a telescope, and sharing all the way up until they were getting onto the plane”
— Astrotweeps: René Ortega-Minakata (@astrotweeps) December 14, 2017
Another field specific account, Biotweeps talks about all things biology. That’s still a pretty broad range, which means a lot of diversity of topics and people.
This year BioTweeps even staged an online conference, #BTCon17. Over the course of 3 days over 60 scientific presenters, science writers, artists and even the audience all presented their work as a virtual Twitter conference, complete with sessions and audience Q&A.
According to BioTweeps founder @thonoir, BTCon will return. “Plans are currently underway for the second Biotweeps Twitter Conference (#BTCon18), which is tentatively scheduled for sometime around June-August 2018”
In conclusion, #parrots are awesome, but most of them are about to go extinct if we don't stop cutting down old-growth trees and trapping wild parrots for the pet trade. Please support the important conservation work of @ParrotTrust @BirdsCaribbean @neophema99 & @iguacachick! pic.twitter.com/1t9d8ys2xb
— Biotweeps (@biotweeps) December 17, 2017
Each week, the reins are handed over to a new science communicator who posts about his or her activities, reading, experiences, and thoughts on science communication. As result the variety factor is huge, with comedians, neuroscientists and broadcasters all having had stints. You genuinely have no idea what’s next, but it’ll all be sciencey and entertaining.
The combination of vast storm pipe networks & fertilizer leads to eutrophication- high nutrient loads to water bodies. A result is algae blooms- some species harmful (responsible for the publicized Toledo water shut down). Here is a Cyanobacteria bloom in St. Lucie river, FL pic.twitter.com/4tN7bDItPU
— I Am SciComm (@iamscicomm) December 21, 2017
If you like amazing art in your feed, this is the account for you. Rotating between creators of science art, this account is possibly one of the most visually spectacular accounts in the list.
What is SciArt? According to the creators of the account, “Finding an acceptable answer seems more art than science. SciArt represents an alloy, a hybrid, an estuary, a wide ranging conversation between scientific understanding and artistic appreciation. SciArt might not only mean majestic murals of long dead dinosaurs, but also microbial musicals, celestial silk screens, or choreographed chemicals.”
— IAmSciArt: Jamie Molaro (@IAmSciArt) December 21, 2017