Autumn 2023: Darkness, daylight, and warm wishes.

We don’t have to look far to find Nature. After a long dark night comes the daylight revealing gloriously warm shades of autumn foliage. Here is a collage of moments I captured in snapshots, shared in autumns of recent-past years and present.

Collage of photos of autumn foliage and a sparkle of light

My photos are taken in the garden and close to home up North in the UK.
I am holding a sparkler in the garden – on the 1st day of the autumn lockdown in the UK in the 1st year of the pandemic (November 2020). It was an impromptu moment.
These days it seems life can be very cruel for many people.

‘Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness’.
With warm wishes to all.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 20/11/23


‘Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.’ ~ Desmond Tutu.

Half-truths in communications.

I thought it timely to pen some thoughts in verse:


In search of truth
Beware half-truths.

The half-truths that lull us into believing
Falsehoods that could be deceiving.
Information accepted fully and in haste.
Can instil trust that is misplaced.

False statements that contain a grain of fact.
Might shape our thoughts and how we act.
They could even aid deception.

Thus, misinformation and disinformation flow.
And seeds of misconception grow.

It’s good to have an open mind.
To listen but also to question
The source of a suggestion.
To seek evidence and review
Being careful not to misconstrue.

In science and in life we must
Beware half-truths and misplaced trust.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2023

Curiosity and an open mind are good but healthy skepticism without cynicism is also good. ‘Keep an open mind but not so open that your brain falls out.’

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 20/10/23

See also my earlier poem putting simply how misinformation and disinformation are wrong.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) – a timely reminder.

I have just seen a new 36-minute documentary-style film ‘Race Against Resistance: The Life And Death Struggle To Save Antibiotics’.

I think the film is worth watching as a timely reminder of the AMR issues we are facing.

What kind of world do we want for future generations?

This film covers some background and history, recent personal stories, and innovative research approaches. It also touches on the potential value of AI in drug development.

ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE (AMR) is a global health issue of the utmost concern.

AMR is something I have written about several times since the summer of 2015 when I posted my first short article on LinkedIn about ‘spreading the word’ and a blog on my company website about ‘Doing the right thing’. I have subsequently reported on interesting research updates from science meetings, and I have also shared communications from other sources such as in this latest post.

Thinking of the world we are giving to our children, grandchildren, and future great-grandchildren.

This is an interesting subject generally and there are messages that need to be communicated widely. It could be a particularly interesting and important research area for life science students and early career researchers. 

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 06/09/23

Thank you to BBC StoryWorks.
Race Against Resistance: The Life And Death Struggle To Save Antibiotics | BBC StoryWorks
September 5th, 2023. (available to view on YouTube).

Midsommer celebrations in Sweden; hope and positivity.


Fika, flower crowns, festivities, and culture.
It is the halfway point in the year and perhaps a time to spread some rays of sunshine from a wonderful European experience. I have just returned from a trip to Sweden. From Stockholm to Dalarna – what a great place to spend the summer solstice and midsummer!

Snapshots of Midsummer trip to Sweden 2023
We can share and learn much from different and similar cultures.
Life throws all sorts of stuff at us all. It is important to try and keep some hope and positivity even in the most difficult times.
The Dala Horse is a symbol of good luck, strength, and courage.
I enjoyed the midsommer traditions and festivities that celebrate the arrival of summer including a traditional floral crown.
It was my first attempt at making a flower crown and I was happy to wear flowers in my hair for the celebrations.
‘Legend has it that flowers and herbs picked on the summer solstice have magical properties.’
The Maypole, or Midsummer Pole (Midsommarstågen) – a local centre of the day’s festivities with dancing and songs around the Maypole. Many people participated (I joined in a little too).
Midsommer is a time for family and friends.
Fika, flower crowns, festivities, good food, and culture.
Sweden has much to offer.
(And of course, some superb science too!)

Fika is a concept, a state of mind, an attitude, and an important part of Swedish culture. It’s about making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea) and a little something to eat. Many people think we should make time for ‘fika’ every day.

To finding hope and positivity even in the most difficult times.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 27/06/23


May Focus

What a great time to be involved in life sciences, research and communications! Equally, these days I am actively listening and contributing more widely.

It is consistent with my purpose and may bring a few surprises, and some smiles from time to time.

Focus on Purpose.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 01/05/23

(😊.‘Not all those who wander are lost’ from a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien.)

Reconnecting with the PSA.

Why was the Professional Speaking Association (PSA) Spring Conference something worth coming back for?

PSA Summit April 2023

My main purpose was to reconnect in person with many speakers and friends who I have known for years but rarely see these days (since C19). Many attendees from several regions would be in one place on the same day. With people and subjects heartfelt and a location close to my heart and near home – this time it was central Manchester for the Spring Conference. What’s not to like 👍.

It did not disappoint. Indeed, it surpassed my expectations on many levels!

The coverage of interesting serious subjects, emotional stories; diverse perspectives and different opinions are always a refreshing change. Tips were shared. Some good people came together with a common interest – SPEAKING. As a group or individually speakers are openly or quietly supporting each other.

I think professional speakers with this role as a main source of income were particularly impacted by the covid restrictions; many adapted but it was (and still is) a challenging time.

I am glad I attended this event in person. There were many familiar faces and several people who I know and like. I was astounded by how many people still recognised and remembered me (I have been quiet for a while in this area).

Great speakers, table talks with experts and a fantastic uplifting vibe. Lots of new faces, networking, and new connections to be made. Serious discussions. Nonetheless, so much fun and laughter too.

Travelling in and out of Manchester by train again – credit where credit is due this was another positive train experience for me.

As always there was lots to learn and to open the mind. I am sure there will be many posts about this day. A well-spent Saturday!

For now, just to say thank you to the PSA for a great event and to wish everyone all the best. There will of course be follow-ups as well 😊.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 24/04/23

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.]