Chance, Choice and Defining Moments ©

This is a title and theme of several of my talks.
I have also expressed it in a short piece I have written:


Reflecting on what I have learned so far
From life and science.
(And, I am still learning.)
There is this thread that seems to hold true:
Progress in both life and in science (and other matters matter too)
Is often down to a matter of
Chance, Choice and Defining Moments!

My message to newcomers,
In either case.
And what I would tell my younger self,
Is this:

A story will evolve, and you may not see it
Until later on.
Maybe it was there all along.
Or maybe we ‘cherry pick’,
Or tease out a story in hindsight.

There will be chances you have,
And see
Or don’t see.
Chance itself clearly plays a part.
The choices you make
May be right
Or may seem wrong.
The defining moments that set us
On a new course,
May be different from what you think
At the time.

Remember, when we are grown up
At heart, we are each still the child we once were.
It is still in me
And it is still in you.
And there is always scope for growth,
More that you can do.

So, take it all seriously
But not too seriously.
Serendipity is at play.
Don’t overthink and worry too much.
Keep on learning and try to enjoy the ride,
On this rich tapestry
of Chance, Choice and Defining Moments.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 21/9/20

The Funny Onion

To those who ‘know their onions’. If someone says you know your onions, it means you are experienced in something or you know a lot about a particular subject. Of course, we should take our work seriously but maybe we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.

And on that note for the weekend I’ve written this very silly short rhyme.


There was a funny onion 🧅
Whose life felt less appealing
They say I smell.
I make them cry 😢
Bring them to tears.
I don’t know why.

Noses running,
Eyes smarting.
Windy bellies,
Someone’s starting ;)
Who did that?
‘More tea, Vicar?’ ☕️

To the silliest rhymes
In the strangest times.
Let’s bring out the funny ones.
High five to gaffes and lots of laughs
🖐 😂
To those who know their onions.

🧅 🧅 🧅

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 18/9/20

Science & Society. ESOF2020 gets a stamp of approval; a resounding success.

EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), is the largest biennial general science meeting in Europe.

* International * Multidisciplinary * Science & Technology * Society & Policy *

“There was never a question of cancelling this event! It was unthinkable precisely during this crucial period in our history, where the discussion between Science and Society is more important than ever.” Michael Matlosz, president of EuroScience.

Stefano Fantoni, Champion of ESOF2020 remarked, “We must not be afraid of knowledge especially in times of crisis”.


ESOF2020, scheduled for July this year, had to be delayed due to the covid-19 crisis. Trieste, the European City of Science 2020, rose to the challenges and restrictions imposed by the pandemic. ESOF developed and organised ‘an innovative hybrid organisational model’ for the conference with in-person and on-line sessions running for 5 days from September 2nd; thus, enabling maximum participation. ‘Online visitors came from 52 countries across 5 continents.’

Programmes were packed with intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking sessions: excellent keynote talks, a plethora of diverse presentations, and panel sessions. There were even some exhibition stands as well.

Three key themes were SCIENCE, BUSINESS, and CAREERS.

I think the revised timing proved to be even better because covid-19 also needed to be discussed widely, openly and across many disciplines; with national and international perspectives and from many aspects of science and society. Moreover, other than the current pandemic, there is much more going on in the world and in the world of science that needs to be debated and discussed. Science communication is very important as is the subject of communication itself.

ESOF (and everyone involved) – can be proud of providing an important and timely platform for discussion and debate during this ‘crucial period’. Italy and Trieste can also be proud of hosting ESOF2020. The number of expert scientists and eminent authorities who participated is noteworthy and included the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

My final thought:
When something is important enough – you can do it.
Adapt and even experiment.
Take the learning forward

Sometimes, in some ways the result can be something better!

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 12/9/20

[The photos include: the brochure I picked up whilst attending the previous ESOF2018; a photo of the slide of a limited-edition stamp to commemorate the event in Trieste; a photo of a slide shown on the final day of ESOF. Open Knowledge. Fair Future. Like a beacon of light in difficult times.]

‘Freedom for science, science for freedom’. Thank you ESOF2020!

Thank you also for granting me Media Accreditation and for the Freedom to dip in and out with access to everything. As a science communicator, I have so many stories to tell from Trieste. It was an exhilarating conference! What an inspiring start to September.

The motto of ESOF2020 Trieste is important and timely.

FREEDOM FOR SCIENCE refers to the open-ended and unresolved questions that science is facing, with method and curiosity, without restrictions of credo or prejudices.’

SCIENCE FOR FREEDOM, on the other hand, refers to the inclusiveness of science and its language, which goes beyond borders and conflicts and brings together people of any colour and gender.’

I will be spreading not only the serious science but also the joy and hope of science.

Watch this space…

by Dr Julie Charlesworth

‘A Hug’, a new poem for a summer in strange times.

Just for a change I thought I’d post something a little different.
This is a new poem that I have just written.


A hug
That means so much.
A touch that softly sparks a gentle flame,
Rekindling the embers.
Generating warmth.
A glow.

Behold I am alive.
My weeping, yearning soul is calmed
And I can breathe again.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

Here’s to love and laughter. Take care. Stay safe.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 30/07/20

Plans confounded? Try a different approach, maybe.

Have you been feeling confounded? There may be different approaches to consider when your original plans are thwarted.


Well, that was it then.
All my plans,
Everything up in the air!
Except of course the planes.
They were grounded.

And I was a bit confounded!

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

But not for long. As many people have found, and can still find, there are different ways to ‘meet up’or celebrate.
And we will rise again – literally, figuratively or metaphorically.

Ruby Wedding in lockdown

Ruby Wedding in Lockdown

The photos show how Hubby and I spent our special anniversary in lockdown earlier in the month – in a tent in our back garden with fish ‘n’ chips and Prosecco. Not quite what we had planned but very different and so much fun 😂.

The tent is the present from me to Hubby.
I knew he’d love it – but 😬 wondering now what I have committed myself to 😂.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 25/6/20

Science and uncertainty – some thoughts.

People are looking to scientists for answers, and scientists are working all-out to provide solutions to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. I think it is timely to put this in perspective and consider aspects of how science works. Notwithstanding that absolute certainty cannot necessarily be achieved, scientists aim to facilitate evidence-based decisions. A few thoughts are captured in a short piece I have written in verse.


People seek answers
And often crave certainty,
Maybe more so in difficult times.

Maybe we cannot always
Know everything.
It is good to acknowledge that.

And that is a scientific approach.

Scientists seek evidence.
Test hypotheses.
Are prepared to change
Their opinions,
In the light of new evidence…

They may propose new hypotheses
Seek evidence
And so it goes…

On the way,
Science may develop products
Or deeper understanding.
Either of these or both together
Are worthy aims and outcomes.

Research often brings surprises,
Which may prove to be
Even more important
Than the original notion.

Curiosity is a driver.
Tenacity and persistence are necessary.
Collaboration helps.
Openness is better for all.

Uncertainty is accepted.
Integrity is key.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

A little piece I have written in ‘lockdown’
Take care and stay safe.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth 17/5/20

Thinking time for Earthlings as we look ahead.

Are you looking forward to more time in the open air? It seems that lockdown is being relaxed in some places and we can prepare for some easing of restrictions. Perhaps these strange times have allowed us time-out for some reflection so that we can look forward with a clear head and think about how we ‘could do better’ for our wonderful world. I have written a poem to capture that feeling.

Looking ahead


Naughty Earthlings 🌍 🌎
You’ve really done it now.
To your rooms.

You’re grounded!

So, I’m sitting on the naughty step
Wondering what I’ve done.
Take time to have a think,
I think.

People rushing round too reckless,
Feckless and heedless.
Perhaps we all just need less.
Hmm 🤔

Waste in haste
And you’ll get your just deserts.
You can’t have a pudding
‘til you’ve finished your dinner.
Not everyone’s a winner.
Life isn’t always fair.
Don’t take all the sweeties.
You’ve got to share!

Be kind to other people.
Be mindful of what’s right.

We’re sitting on the naughty steps
Wondering what we’ve done.
Take time to have a think, me thinks
Me, you and everyone

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

A little poem written by me in ‘lockdown’

Take care and stay safe.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth

Photos taken by me – from the garden.

Ducks in a road and life goes on.

Getting your ducks in a road? I am making plans as well as getting my ducks in a road. Are you making plans ‘getting your ducks in a row’? Or are you just going with the flow?

Ducks in a road, May 2020.

Either way as in this new poem (by me) for the young at heart – let’s remember – life goes on…


Woke up this morning
And before 8 o’clock,
Looked out the window and what did I see?
2 ducks a-parking by a parking space.

I quickly stepped outside the door
And saw there were more…

Another on the pavement.
Another on the road.
Count them altogether…

That makes four.

The first are a couple
Who visit every year.
This time they called some friends
With the message, ‘It’s all clear!’.

‘Parking time is up,
So we’re moving on.
But we’ll soon be back,
With a waddle and a quack.
Singing our new song…’

All together now
Let’s all sing along
There are …

‘Ducks in a road and life goes on’.

©Julie Charlesworth, 2020

A little poem written by me in ‘lockdown’
🦆 🦆 🦆 🦆
Take care and stay safe.

by Dr Julie Charlesworth

Photos taken by me – just down the road.

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