Chemistry Carnival: Science.Art.Wonder

Also showcased during the Chemistry Carnival was the collaboration of Gokul with an artist in Puerto Rico to illustrate some of his science. Over the course of a few months, Gokul worked with Raisa Rodriguez Maldonado, from the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez to bring to life his work with influenza viral infection. Her paintings highlight his study of the dynamics of hemagglutinin/receptor protein/protein interactions that permit cell entry, and ultimately, viral infection.

Gokul and Raisa (via Skype) interacting with the crowd at the Carnival
Artist Raisa Rodriguez Maldonado








Science.Art.Wonder is sponsored by the Atlanta Science Festival and hopes to continue to be an integral interdisciplinary component of the annual festival.

Another piece by Raisa, titled “Host-Cell Invasion” inspired by Gokul’s work on influenza viral infection
Scientist Gokul (Right) and artist Raisa (Left, via Skype) in front of one of her pieces for Science Art Wonder.



Chemistry Carnival: ASF in Atwood Atrium!

On Friday, March 23, Emory’s Chemistry Department hosted the second annual “Chemistry Carnival” in conjunction with the Atlanta Science Festival. The event, which takes place in the Science Commons, Atrium, and courtyard fills the building with interactive demonstrations and games relevant to the research going on in the department. The Dyer lab participated with two different booths this year, Brooke and Monica at the “Electron Transfer Ring Toss” and Alexia at the “Laser Maze” in conjunction with Heaven Lab members. 

The Electron Transfer Ring Toss demonstrates the basic principle of converting solar energy, where a photoexcited electron (or in this case, a glow bracelet taken from a big glittery sun) needs to be transferred somewhere else to successfully make electricity. Unfortunately, that transfer process is riddled with pitfalls, and is only about 20% efficient for most commercially available solar panels- most game participants scored even less than that when trying to ring the glowing Erlenmeyer flasks!

Carnival attendees trying their luck at the Electron Transfer Ring Toss

The Laser Maze used a safe red laser beam and several moveable mirrors to demonstrate the basics of manipulating light for experiments, relevant to so much of the research we do as a biophysical chemistry lab. Participants got firsthand experience with trying to control light through the maze, and witnessed some of the challenges of optical processes. 

Close up shot of the laser maze, PC: Helen

Check out more photos from the event! And a big thanks to Helen for taking some great pictures 🙂


Talking About How We Talk About Science

Dyer lab members Brooke (right) and Helen (center) attended ComSciConATL with fellow third year Chemistry graduate student Mallory (left) from the Heaven lab

Last week Brooke and Helen attended the first regional ComSciCon held in the southeast, ComSciConATL. ComSciCon is a science communication workshop designed to help graduate students find unique ways to interact with the general public and more effectively communicate their science. During the two day workshop at Georgia Tech, students had the chance to interact with local STEM PhD faculty and invited speakers, learn to incorporate storytelling and humor into their science narratives, network with local science writers and activists, and even sample some cutting-edge data visualization methods. Other benefits included mock interviews, professional editing of writing samples, and a keynote speech by Joe Hanson of PBS’s “It’s Okay to be Smart.

An important theme of the conference was the use of personal stories to help humanize scientists and reach out across a diversity of audiences. Interdisciplinary collaboration and the use of multimedia and social media were all discussed as tools to not only underscore the importance of evidence-based research but also create an accessible conversation with the general public.