Looking to the future in the Museum of the Future, Dubai.

Are you curious about what the future will look like for humankind? Are you ready for a voyage to explore the possibilities?

Indeed, I am!

Please join me as I share some snippets from my recent experience at the Dubai Museum of the Future.

On arrival my first impression is the immaculate, airy, and futuristic architecture and design of the building both outside and inside.

Dubai Museum of the Future

In the foyer there are wise words to greet the visitors. This particular inscription resonates with me:

“We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity leave a legacy long after we are gone.” *

I don my wristband provided for the purpose of access control and with its scannable code to enable (literally) hands-on experiences and interactivity with many of the features on display. I am ushered into an elevator with my husband and a small group of other visitors, together with a guide (in person or digital at times).

Up, Up, and Away! Get ready to use your imagination.
The elevator is a now a rocket ship: the start of the journey to space. Feel the exhilaration and rapid ascent. See the spectacular views of Dubai below; other views looking back on Earth; views of planet Earth itself from far beyond. The doors open and we arrive at Orbital Space Station Hope (OSS Hope), the centre of the SOL energy project envisioning a world powered by solar energy. OSS Hope is a hub for science and innovation. The space exhibits are informative, educational, and interactive.

I am drawn to this quote “Space is for everybody” Christa McAuliffe 1948-1986, NASA STS-51-L, Space Shuttle Challenger.

On a fun note, an interactive themed attraction enables me to imagine myself as a future astronaut.

It’s time to get back to Earth.

We leave OSS Hope. On the way to the next level, the windows depict glimpses of Dubai in 2071. We head towards the next stop. It is the ‘HEAL’ exhibition with the theme of the future on Earth, and covering many challenges but also great innovative opportunities. We are told ‘At HEAL we are working to repair the Earth’s natural ecosystems’ ‘with the help of Artificial Intelligence and Bio-design’.

Today’s first focus is the Rainforest and in particular, the Amazon is digitally represented. How can we repair the damage from years of deforestation?

Next, it’s THE LIBRARY “HEAL’s DNA vault, where we store the genetic code of thousands of species” The displays of species are a scintillating spectacle! A hand-held remote device can be pointed at each exhibit to retrieve specific and more detailed information.

We are then welcomed to the HEAL Observatory and HEAL’s ecosystem simulator, where the impact of new species on their environments can be tested. When released into ecosystems around the world the impact of new species will be closely monitored.

There are many possibilities to ponder. For example, a fire-resistant tree – that sounds interesting!

I continue my descent using the stairway and arrive at the Al Waha (Oasis), where the theme is future happiness and well-being. The interactive experiences cover calm and connection, the senses and spirit. I admit that although I checked out what was on offer I spent relatively little time there which is ironic (but not unexpected for me). The theme is about life balance and taking time to look after our own health and wellbeing. I have something to work on – or rather just do more of calmly and enjoy! Another time I’d spend longer in this area.

As I descend the stairway I am increasingly intrigued and I find myself entering the exhibition hall, ‘TODAY TOMORROW’, This is ‘an ever-changing display of near future technologies’.

The room houses an array of prototypes and currently available technological products. It is a very interesting and informative exhibition, that also encourages us to look beyond the present to the possible. ‘Technology might be part of the solution of addressing our future needs but what questions are we asking of technology today?’ Here are some of the questions:

Questions Today Tomorrow

[On a different level there is a floor dedicated to a playground for children with their own world to explore, immersive games for their enjoyment, and challenges to complete, on their way to becoming “future heroes”. (Another time I’d bring the grandchildren).]

As I leave the Museum of the Future, I can report back that this is a thought-provoking voyage that also captures the imagination. ‘The ancestors plant the trees, the descendents enjoy the shade.’

As one thing leads to another, such tempting tasters can increase the appetite to explore further. If you are local or happen to be in Dubai, I would highly recommend this experience.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 21/11/22

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[*His Highness Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as inscribed on the Museum of The Future.]

ESOF: Looking back & moving forward from the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF2022).

ESOF2016 was the start for me 💡. There were ESOFs (EuroScience Open Forums) before that but Manchester was my first! What an eye opener it was. I was inspired to write a poem ‘Science transcends boundaries’. I had discovered a whole new world of science and thinking. I felt honoured to have been invited to the ESOF2016 Press Office to participate in discussions.

I was hooked from the start and I went on to participate in press conference discussions and generally as a scientist and a science communicator in every ESOF thereafter (in person whenever possible or otherwise on-line).

Poem science

ESOFs cover core areas of science, society, business and careers. Reflecting on the mottos and themes of each event it is not surprising that I, along with many others, have been captivated and inspired.

Manchester 2016: (On-site)
The Motto ‘Science as Revolution’ was an invitation for breakthrough ideas to continue scientific revolutions and encourage focus on past, present and future path-breaking science.

Toulouse 2018: (On-site)
‘Sharing science towards new horizons’ was a theme strongly committed to international openness, dedicated to science and innovation. There were also high-level multidisciplinary exchanges around the big scientific and social issues at stake for the future.

Trieste 2020: (Hybrid. On-site and on-line)
‘Open Knowledge. Fair Future’ and ‘Freedom for Science. Science for Freedom’ .
The spirit of openness and inclusiveness was expressed in the motto. Freedom for Science referred to the ‘open-ended and unresolved questions that science is facing, with method and curiosity, without restrictions of credo or prejudices’. Science for Freedom refers to ‘the inclusiveness of science and its language, which goes beyond borders and conflicts and brings together people of any colour and gender’.

Leiden 2022: (Hybrid. On-site 2 locations and on-line).
The latest enticing overarching theme was ‘Crossing Borders, Engaged Science, Resilient Societies’, also with the forum’s objective of ‘connecting curious minds’. The ESOF2022 theme stems from ‘a need to continue to break down geographical borders in order to share knowledge and collectively solve the complex, intertwined, and universal challenges that all societies encounter’.

Going forward there is a ‘necessity for scientific disciplines from the humanities, the social sciences, the natural, medical and physical sciences, and also people from all walks of life such as scientists, policy makers, the media, and the general public to unite, collaborate, and innovate.’ ‘Only by sharing a single vision for a sustainable future for people, society, and the environment can we overcome our current challenges.’ I share these sentiments.

I have reported previously on the above ESOF events (see notes below). I also have still more to say about the latest ESOF2022.

I am grateful to have been able to learn so much and meet such interesting people over the years. This has enabled me to continue to develop as a scientist and become a better communicator so that I can contribute more effectively to the life sciences field and beyond.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 4/10/22

[Note: Manchester, Toulouse, Trieste, Leiden. For some of my posts and reports on these events searching ESOF on on this site using a laptop/PC will bring up a number of previous posts. Otherwise you can scroll through the ‘Got 2 Minutes?’ section of blogs.]

Looking forward: Life Science students and early career researchers.

Very best wishes to all those embarking on studies and research careers, particularly in life sciences and of course generally as well. How the world and humankind need you! How we should all be encouraging and supporting the younger research generation. For all those students and researchers driven by a passion for their subject it should be a time to really enjoy studying and research for the sake of research; a time to explore interests and have a great life and social life too. It’s not the easiest of times and research can be very frustrating with many ups and downs. It was ever thus. It is however an adventure with opportunities to grasp, whilst keeping a sense of perspective and having fun! Many of us are willing you on to a great future!

Looking forward…

The skills learnt will be transferable for many different career options. Early career researchers have much to contribute, and they deserve to be challenged, encouraged, and supported in their research careers. They also have so much potential in many walks of life and different spheres.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 27/9/22

Uplifting posts on parental joy!

Parental joy! I find it uplifting to see the recent posts of pride from many mums and dads – the love is palpable. Graduations, weddings, and birthdays. Simply and very importantly family holiday time. These aspects of life, work, and play – create memories, and perspectives of parental joy whether from our own parents or for our offspring.

I am grateful to have had all these occasions to celebrate over the years being a mum of 3 grown up ‘kids’. Proud of all their high academic, professional and career achievements of course. Happy to see them finding love and over recent years their weddings. Most of all I am proud that they have grown up to be lovely human beings with good values. Some of those values I recognise, and I hope I have passed on from my own parents. Do not underestimate the intelligence and values of the smart working class. I think it is important to remember your roots, pass on the stories, the values, and the love.

None of this is taken for granted because there are many ups and downs for everyone. My parents were proud of me too. I feel thankful and full of gratitude to be a proud mum of 3 and a very happy grandma of wonderful grandchildren.

Thinking of parental joy whether as parents ourselves or as sons and daughters of parents (current or passed).

Enjoy the celebrations, and memories with family (whatever that means to you, and whoever and however you want to celebrate).

Remember your roots and values.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 11/8/22

ESOF2022 participation and a big thank you!

It was an excellent event! I am grateful and feel privileged to have had media accreditation and the freedom to dip in and out with access to everything. As a science communicator, I am of course emerging from this stimulating experience with stories to tell.
ESOF2022 Poster

 

For now, please note the EuorScience Open Forum is renowned for:

  • Being ‘the largest biennial interdisciplinary meeting on science and innovation in Europe, for and with society.’
  • Bringing together stakeholders involved in European science: scientists, business executives and policy-makers.
  • Connecting curious minds across Europe and beyond (from 87 different countries on this occasion).

The meeting has evolved, and it has to an extent been a leader in adapting to a hybrid format to meet recent needs and preferences for in-person or virtual options for large international events.

I was very pleased to be a participant again this year. I was also quietly listening in earnest when just as I thought no-one had particularly noticed me, there was a mention of my name – very welcoming 😊. And again, when I thought no-one particularly knew, there was another mention of me attending on-line from Manchester with a comment of ‘great city’ – very true!! Although strictly speaking I was in Cheshire (and a bit further out from South Manchester) mainly with my virtual and online presence.

I have participated in the press offices previously and as an accredited media/science communicator for every ESOF conference onsite and online from Manchester 2016, Toulouse 2018, Trieste 2020 and now Leiden 2022.

For a variety of reasons, I was not able to attend in person this year and my preference was to participate online and virtually – from my home, and in the moment. It worked very well, and I am grateful to the organisers.

The enticing overarching theme of ESOF2022 is CROSSING BORDERS, ENGAGED SCIENCE, RESILIENT SOCIETIES.

Thank you to ESOF2022!

I will be spreading not only the serious science but also the joy of science.
More to come…

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 21/7/22

Jubilee, Tree Time and right on cue. A little poem…

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TREE TIME ©
 
Extra free time.
It’s tree time.
At teatime,
A bit of family and me time.
 
©Julie Charlesworth, 2022
 

Why not ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’?

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 29/5/22

 
[On cue* – a collage of snapshots I took of Trees in Kew Gardens a few years back and included in a post here in 2017. Must go again soon!]
*pun intended 😊

A season for new beginnings.

It is a season for new beginnings and here again this year, our little feathered friends have returned to nest in the bird house. Meanwhile, the garden is bright with the vibrant colours of rhododendrons 😊.

Garden birds and flowers

[I took the bird snapshot after waiting patiently at a distance from inside the garden room of my ‘human’ house – so as not to disturb these regular visitors. They seem happy to return to the simple, safe accommodation we provided.]

I am feeling appreciative of some of the simple joys of nature close to home.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 22/5/22

Happy International Clinical Trials Day!

It is International Clinical Trials Day – so just a few words to say there is much to celebrate in this area, particularly today! Thinking about the achievements resulting from clinical research.

– Thankful to all the people involved in clinical trials, particularly participants.

– Appreciating the dedicated work of professionals conducting and monitoring clinical trials; people researching new methods; researchers collaborating internationally.

– Pausing to reflect on the value of international clinical trials past and present.

Thinking about the future…

In the fields of clinical trial design, conduct, and reporting – we should celebrate the good and be critical of the bad/flawed. We need to continually seek to improve efficiency and standards.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 20/5/22

[This date in May is chosen because it also ‘commemorates the day when James Lind started his famous clinical trial on scurvy in 1747, May 20th, and laid the foundation for modern clinical research.’]

MedComms, international medical publication professionals and medical writers.

Great to see MedComms, international medical publication professionals and medical writers engaging within their communities in conversations and discussions on what there is to be learned from the covid pandemic years. People have been working very hard in these fields. There is also much work to be done!

We should look positively to the future. Time to get on with making it a better future.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 12/5/22

[Link to message early in the pandemic]

Proud of my registered company name and logo.

A Tree of Life Sciences®. I am proud of my registered company name and logo which I protect whenever necessary.

Logo | A Tree of Life Sciences Ltd
Through these themes I can continue to contribute to my mission to Inform, Improve and Inspire particularly in Life Sciences and health research; but also, in life and sciences more generally. My communications include papers, post, and poems.

Transcending borders and boundaries in subject and scope.

Global, national, and local projects or perspectives.

Project consultancy and communications. Life Sciences, Clinical and Health Research.

What a great time to be involved in research and communications!

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 30/4/22

[Serious with a creative flair. There is also a distinctive business card for A Tree of Life Sciences® which has been in circulation internationally and locally for many years. It continues to uniquely capture the essence of my company, my work and mission. Still loving the colour too.]