Mother’s Day and Eileen 100.

Let’s think about mothers and their legacies.

This year it is fitting that I ‘shine a light’ on my mum who would have been 100 years old this year! She lived to a good age – 89 years. Her legacy lives on.

I think we sometimes forget the many facets of our mothers as individuals themselves. In Mum’s case I have many stories and anecdotes to pass on – from her girlhood, wartime years, wife, mother, grandmother, and her twilight years. As a 25-year-old she stood up against the bigotry of religion to marry my dad. She was feisty on occasions and especially when suffering the ravages of dementia in her last few years. Nonetheless, she came back to me towards the end in moments of clarity to squeeze my hand and tell me she loved me.

Eileen was a smart lady of many talents from a big working class Yorkshire family. She was straight-talking, and the wisdom of the advice she gave me for motherhood and work still rings true now. There is so much more to say.

Today, I celebrate the memories of Eileen as my mum, her support and encouragement, her joy, laughter, wit, and warmth. Her legacy lives on.

Cognisant that it will be a time of mixed emotions for many people who have sadly lost their mothers. I’d like to share the poem I wrote more recently. The sentiments of my poem ‘Stay With Me’ bring me comfort and hopefully others will appreciate these words too.

So, remember Mother’s Day and cherish your mother or the fond memories you have.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 16/03/23

[Mother’s Day 19th March 2023 in the UK or other dates elsewhere]

Perspectives for International Women’s Day (IWD).

Ahead of IWD I was thinking from an international perspective. It was the week before IWD, and I happened to be in Dubai. I made an impromptu visit to the Women’s Pavilion at the Dubai Expo site. Here are a few of my snapshots taken on this visit:

Womens Pavilion Dubai IWD 2023

Events continue in this dedicated pavilion and there will be a lot happening around IWD this year. However, on this particular visit it was a very quiet day presenting an opportunity to calmly savour the wonderful exhibition.

I paused to think about all the inspirational contributions of women internationally, over the years and towards the future: women heroes, ‘unsung women heroes’ and ordinary women contributing every day and often facing incredible challenges. Despite the progress made, difficult journeys and challenges continue for many women.

There are many perspectives. This is the question posed at the entrance to the exhibition.

What's your perspective? Women's Pavilion Dubai

‘The Women’s Pavilion is a dedicated space for meaningful discussions supporting women’s contributions to shaping a more balanced world.’

Let’s all ‘do our bit’ and appreciate the women and men who support the causes of women.

‘Be the generation to end gender inequality and empower women’.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 03/03/23


In the run up to IWD I have been staying in Dubai. Here is a glorious early morning view – a snapshot I took from my balcony.
View from balcony Dubai 2023

Science, Politics, and Trust.

Is opinion change viewed differently in science and politics? Why might that be?
Here are some thoughts
I thought I’d share.
If I dare.
Because I think
It should be said
That reactions to
Changes of opinion
In science and in politics
May differ.
Here goes:
Scientists may change their opinions
It’s acceptable.
It’s respectable
In science.
When new data emerge
More evidence may mount
To support
A new hypothesis.
But what of opinion change
In politics and policy?
It seems it can be frowned on,
Viewed suspiciously,
Even looked down on
In politics.
But as information evolves,
Evidence or other reasons may mount
to support a new policy
or opinion.
What then?
Unquestionable devotion
Is not a given.
Public support
Can be based on reasoning or emotion.
Past decisions should
Be understood.
Mistakes can even be forgiven.
It’s not a time to appear aloof
When people deserve the truth.
As a scientist I suggest
Evidence-based change is best.
But decisions may be needed
In times of uncertainty
When evidence is limited.
Where opinions change
Truth, reasons, and clarity
Are a must!
In science and in politics
Engagement is best earned
Through honesty and transparency,
That in turn will lead to trust.
                    ©Julie Charlesworth, 2023

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 03/01/23


(Thoughts are my own but inspired by several discussions at ESOF2022.)

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


[*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.


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…


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