Monday, June 21, 2010

Heck.

I am so happy to let you know that my blog post on the evolution of chloroplasts has come third in the 2010 3 Quarks Daily Prize in Science, judged by Richard Dawkins! I am now the delighted recipient of the Charm Quark. Those of you who are regular readers will know that this is a pretty humble blog in the scheme of things. It's fantastic that 3 Quarks Daily is supporting bloggers like me who don't get huge traffic or coverage out there in the world. It should be an inspiration to everyone who taps away quietly in their garret, wondering if there's anybody out there reading. 

The 3 Quarks Daily people asked me to post my acceptance speech on their site, and this is what I wrote:

I feel utterly charmed!

Thanks so much to the good folk at 3 Quarks Daily, to those who voted for my blog post, and of course to Richard Dawkins. I’ve been a fan of his since I first read “The Selfish Gene” back in the seventies, and knowing that he came to visit my little blog and liked what he read is both boggling and thrilling.
 
They say that you should write about what you care about, and that’s just what I did in posting on the evolution and genetics of chloroplasts. I’ve come late in life to biology, having spent time on a couple of earlier careers. My childhood growing up on the outskirts of Sydney with weekends pottering in the bush instilled in me a love of Australian flora, and that in turn directed me to horticulture. When I studied it, however, I realised quickly that it wasn’t going to teach me the nuts and bolts of how plants work. For that I needed a science degree and so I returned to Macquarie University. After my first lecture in my first biology unit, I knew I was absolutely in the right place. 
I want to express my deep gratitude to the biology staff at Macquarie, who have been unremittingly encouraging of my passion for science and general geekiness. Without their support I’d never have had the courage to try writing about biology. In particular, thanks to Dr Adam Stow (the Genetics lecturer for whom I prepared the presentation on which the blog post is based, and who is now supervising my internship in his lab), to Associate Professor Brian Atwell (my planty mentor) and to the Head of the Department of Biological Sciences, Professor Lesley Hughes, who always seems to have time for me. And finally, my fellow student and dear friend, Julian May: thanks for the nomination! 
Congratulations to the other finalists and winners. The standard of their work is magnificent, and I feel very proud to be in their company.
And thanks of course to my husband, Martien and my daughter, Maxine. No one could ask for a family more tolerant and supportive of a somewhat obsessive and passionate biogeek. 

11 comments:

sblake (felix) said...

totally deserved. author author :)

Abbas Raza said...

Hey, you got the best "trophy" logo! (Just kidding, and only saying that because I designed it! :) Congratulations, and you're welcome.

Margaret said...

Abbas, I was delighted when I saw it. It matches the colour scheme perfectly! And it has a certain charm... ;)

Adele said...

Congratulations! A lovely blog you have here.

Julian said...

I must say, you are certainly charming, Margaret. Bravo!

Bill said...

Congrats!

Bjørn Østman said...

Congratulations, Margaret! I'm very happy to see you were awarded.

Margaret said...

Thanks, everyone! And thank you Bjørn, for your support. :)

Fixed Carbon said...

I urge you to consider textbook writing. I will use your piece in my large university introductory biology class. It far exceeds the quality of the material in the text that we use in this class.

Margaret said...

My goodness, Fixed Carbon. What a compliment! Thank you so much. I haven't considered text book writing, but the thought of writing a popular science book is becoming increasingly alluring.

Elle said...

Congratulations!