fredag 30. oktober 2015

Friday Facts (or something): Top 10 places to visit...

Today's Friday Facts are not really facts (they are just highly my opinion...;) ), but my list of the top ten places to visit around the world, as a nuclear/reactor physicist. I'm not sure about the order, so that's quite random (except I think to me Chernobyl really is number one - I can't believe we didn't manage to go there when we were in Kiev two years ago).

1. Chernobyl - Ukraine
2. La Hague - France
3. Sellafield - UK
4. Olympic Dam - Australia
5. Olkiluoto - Finland
6. Fukushima - Japan
7. Three Mile Island - USA
8. Los Alamos - USA
9. Hirsohima - Japan
10. CERN - Switzerland

Now you know where to go when you're planning your next vacation ;)

The only place I can cross off the list is Hirsohima. I went there when we made Sushi and Nuclear last year. It was actually quite emotional to go there - it felt a little bit like a continuous punch in the stomach, to walk around the A-bomb Dome, which they left as it was after the bombing.

So, do you agree on my list? Or should some of the places be replaced?

onsdag 28. oktober 2015

Reading about plutonium

That's basically what I've done today:
I've read...
...and commented...
...and Googled.

The occasion is me being a co-author on an article about (some of) the nuclear properties of plutonium-243. Now I "just" have to write down what I think about the article; what I like, what I don't like (if there's anything), and (maybe most importantly) what I don't understand :P 
Typical #phdlife.

today's outfit - will make a post about it tomorrow <3 

tirsdag 27. oktober 2015

TEDxBergen: Nuclear weapons and thorium and stuff

Finally, the video from the TEDxBergen conference is now on-line!
The subject of my talk was Could nuclear weapons save the planet? , and you can watch the entire thing here:


Since I talked about how to dress as a female scientist in my last blogpost, I just have to show you a close-up of the shoes I wore. These shoes from Nelly ended up as my "statement" for this talk - which I felt that I needed, since the rest of the outfit was quite simple; just tight jeans, a loose shirt, and my hair in a bun (not the tightest, but not very messy either):


One of the really great thing about this trip to Bergen (almost a month ago already!) - besides being allowed to give my third TEDx talk - was that Anders came and spent the weekend with me <3 There's nothing like sharing experiences like this with the one you love, and having Anders in the audience made me feel so much better and more secure than if I had been there all by myself... He was a great supprt!

perfect evening: I was dead tired after  a long day -  I do get really stressed before I'm giving a talk like this. We were thinking about either go to the after party with the rest of the people from the conference, or maybe go out in Bergen... But instead we stayed in the hotel; we took a looong bath (where we drank two bottles of Prosecco), before we ordered pizza to the room, ate it in bed and watched several episodes of the Big Bang Theory. It was just perfect <3

søndag 25. oktober 2015

Question of the month: How to dress as a female scientist?

I had actually another (more nuclear physics type of) question in mind for this first Question of the month, but then, as I was preparing to leave my apartment one morning this week, I remembered another question I got several months ago. 

How do you dress for scientific conferences (or similar) - if you want to be feminine and maybe wear dresses, but still want to be taken seriously?
I got to think of this question that I got from another female scientist (she’s also a PhD candidate, I think), the day I was giving my talk at Radiologisk Høstmøte (quoting: "the biggest conference for radiologists, radiographs, doctors, physicists (...)") – I was a little bit nervous; since I always want to be girly, pink me, but I don't want them to take me less seriously… So I decided I want to say something about how to be a girly girl, but still also a serious scientist.

Since a picture tells us more than a thousand words, let's start with some. These are examples of what I wear for the more “serious” type of talks; occasions with a quite conservative audience, where I’m talking about science (@sunnicarose #foredragsoutfit):

(the picture in the top left is btw from the day I first met Anders, when he came and listened to my talk at "The Gathering2014"...<3 Ok, "The Gathering" is not an example of a conservative audience, but the outfit is still something I could have been wearing to something more "sciency conservative"!)  

I have figured out that the more nervous I am, the tighter and stricter I will make my hair, and if I feel like I am in total control of everything I can wear my hair loose. Earlier I was more scared of using colours and stuff, but even then I think I managed to be feminine: HERE is a video from Sunniva being very serious and talking about recycling of thorium based fuels - note the tight bun ;) I think if you have long hair, it is something you can really use to sort of tighten up, or loosen an outfit: If you fear that the outfit is almost too much, just do a strict hair do - I always do variations of the bun (the one in the video is the "strictest" type)
If I’m in doubt of what I should wear I will chose chinos (either dark blue or beige brown) and a feminine top/blouse (it could for example be light pink). Then I will “girly girl” this up with a statement necklace and heels.

When I feel quite certain the audience wont judge me from my outfit, I'm more eager to wear dresses and high heels and colours and all. Here are four examples of those outfits:


For the Radiologisk Høstmøte I went for the more "safe side": dark dark jeans, black heels, white top/blouse, pearls, and hair in a bun (not the tightest, but still). My "Sunniva touch" on this outfit was the necklace and a BIG "diamond" on my left hand

#whatiwore for the talk for the radiologists and physicists - I like to call glasses "artificial intelligence" (hopefully there is also some real intelligence in there) :P

there’s nothing wrong with heels – if you like them; just remember never to wear a height you’re not comfortable in (aka you don't have the skills to wear :P )


Sort of a rule of thumb: find the one thing that's most important for you, to keep your femininity - heels, accessories, hair, dress/skirt. Do your one feminine thing, and let the rest be more conservative: for example, if you really want to wear a dress, you can "style it down" by wearing flats, a couple of classical, simple ear rings and your hair in a braid or a bun (if it's long). (If you're wearing a dress, be sure that it's one that you're 100% comfortable in, and that it's not one that becomes a liiitle bit to short when you raise youre arms to point or your slides or something :) )

If you want to, or feel you're obliged to wear a blazer, it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE BLACK! When I went to the OECD in Paris with Ludvigsen-utvalget last February we were told there was a dress-code, and suit and a tie was mandatory for men (and similarily for the women). I could have chosen a black skirt, white shirt and a black blazer – but instead I wore a tight, black skirt, white (egg-shell) top and a yellow blazer. And RED lipstick ;)
Unfortunately I don’t have a picture from that trip, but here is a picture of me in the blazer (which is from Zara, btw) where it’s styled in a more of a casual, everyday look:

PS: I do get more scared when I want to be taken very seriously at scientific conferences. Twice I have chickened out on the heels, even though that's my feminine thing....

EDIT: This is not what I think every woman/female scientist should do. If you're comfortable in jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt, that's GREAT; but this is for those who love heels and dresses and accessories, and feel that they can't "be themselves" if they want to be taken seriously :)

fredag 23. oktober 2015

Facts on a Friday: 10 reasons why neutrons are really cool

Today I just wanted to tell you a little bit about neutrons, and why I think they're the coolest. You know, in a way they're like a Chanel purse - classical, and never out of style ;)

speaking of Chanel: I've been thinking that I should buy a black Chanel purse as a gift for my self when I have finished my PhD, but maybe I should consider the pink one instead...?

So here are my ten reasons why I think neutrons are really cool:
  1. Neutrons have no charge
  2. They decide if an atom is stable or radioactive
  3. A single neutron can sneak its way into a nucleus and make fission <3
  4. It's an unstable particle with a half life of a little bit more than 10 minutes
  5. I sort of envision them as white dots, or tiny billiard balls...
  6. A free neutron turns into hydrogen (meaning that the neutron is actually a radioactive particle - radioactivity is just soooo fascinating :D )
  7. Neutrons are the "flame" in the fuel of a nuclear reactor
  8. Neutrons gives different doses (of radiation) depending on their  energy 
  9. You can make a neutron from a proton and a proton from a neutron (almost sounds like witchcraft, or something)
  10. If neutrons have the right energy, they can do quite a lot of damage - but you can just use normal water as a shield, and you're fine ;)

I just love them - neutrons are without doubt my favorite. They're fabulous ✨
Do you have a favorite particle?


PS: I am working on Question of the month (which is actually not a nuclear physics one this first time) - the plan was to publish it yesterday, but since I (unfortunately? :P ) have another job than just being a blogger, I haven't been able to finish it yet , and I'm really sorry :/ However, I'm still inside my own "limits", since I said it would come this week, and even though it's Friday, it's not the end of the week just yet ;)

onsdag 21. oktober 2015

Upset and annoyed


Today I was part of the "panel of scientists" on Abels Tårn - the radio show that airs on Friday mornings at NRK P2 (this particular show will not air until December; probably December 4th). This time was sort of a "special edition", where the audience were all high school students (and their teachers), and all the questions were from these students.
So far, so good: GREAT FUN! (For the first time, I was on the show together with Anders - that didn't make it any less fun <3 )

After the show, one teacher came up to me (at least I think tha's what she was), and told me she had two questions. 
Great, I thought...
But  they weren't questions, they were more like "questions":
The first one was if a Molten Salt Reactor will release less radioactivity during normal operation than today's reactors, and the second one I'm not sure if she ever asked; except she was asking me about all these Germans that had written stuff in German, and I said (several times - at first I was polite) that I don't speak German, so, no, I have not read these things (but I should, according to her). She was laughing in my face when I said that there are no radioactive releases during normal operation of reactors even today (and of course not in the future), and just told me I was wrong (and said that if I just read these German things I would know that I was wrong...). Still I didn't just leave (that would be rude), I tried to talk about radiation doses and limits - it wasn't very successful.
This teacher pretended to have questions, but was not interested in listening to what I said, and just went on and on and on about new German titles that I should (have) read. It was annoying and rude, and I'm still kind of upset, actually :/

all photos: Yngve Vogt

Maybe the worst part is that this teacher (if that's what she was) was stealing time from the students that had several questions for me, and that I would really have wanted to talk to - not to tell them so much about nuclear physics, but about science, and research, and all the amazing possibilities...
BTW: Thank you so much to the student who just wanted to tell me that she really enjoyed my TEDxOslo talk <3 The talk from LeRosey, last year, is HERE, and the one from Bergen, a couple of weeks ago will come very soon (stay tuned).

PS: It's TOTALLY OK to disagree with my view on nuclear power, but please don't pretend to ask me questions when you have no intensions of listening to what I say, and not respect me as a scientist. I try very hard not to pretend to be an "expert" on stuff taht I'm not working on, so don't pretend that I know nothing about my own f*****g field of science. Thank you <3 

PPS: Besides the behavior of this teacher, it was a great day, and I had a lot of fun being part of Abels Tårn today!

tirsdag 20. oktober 2015

Nuclear force, nuclear power...

One thing that is kind of funny is that in Norwegian the word for "nuclear force" and "nuclear power" is the same - "kjernekraft".
It's the same word that describes the force that holds the atomic nucleus together and the way of producing power by splitting atoms. So in Norwegian you just can't be against kjernekraft, because it makes no sense: If you're against kjernekraft you're against atomic nuclei, and basically more or less everything, since there is nothing bigger than elementary particles - there wouldn't even be bigger particles like protons or neutrons, since they are made up from quarks that need kjernekraft to exist...

(PS: Of course I'm not really that pedantic - I do understand what people mean when they say they're against kjernekraft. But as I've said earlier, I actually don't understand how it is possible to worry about climate change, and not be pro nuclear, so I guess in a way I'll still say it makes little sense to be against kjernekraft ;) )

no flowers, no sun, no sunset without kjernekraft...


mandag 19. oktober 2015

Abels tårn on Wednesday

New week. New possibilities!

I must admit I've suddenly gone into a "OMG, it's less than 11 months left until I'm finishing my thesis - OMG. OMG! OMG!!!" sort of state, and I guess every Monday blogpost could just be so this week I'm going to try to work on my article/thesis/analysis, but I'm still not there where I'm not doing anything else than my article/thesis/analysis, so there is a little bit more to say: In addition to working (my goal: A LOT) on my article and the rest of my analysis there are some other cool things going on the next days:
First and foremost I'm going to be on Abels Tårn on P2 on Wednesday (not the normal air time for Abels Tårn), where I might talk about fusion, and I might talk about Molten Salt Reactors - who knows? ;)
On Thursday I will give a talk about outreach "beyond the scientific conferences" for doctors and others on Radiologisk Høstmøte. It's not open to everyone, but I'm proud to be asked to talk at places like this, about my experiences with outreach and blogging and all that, so I just wanted to tell you anyway. (I think it should be ok to be proud, right?).
And don't forget "question of the month"! I will probably make this blogpost on Wednesday (no promises, though), and it's not too late to ask questions. The questions I get that I don't answer this time are just saved in a folder, and will be answered later <3

Ok, enough chit-chat - now it's time for some serious working on plots and tables of uranium-234, for my next article!
Talk to you later :)


PS: I must admit that even though I think it's already starting to be too cold outside, there have been some very beautiful days lately, and fall isn't just all that bad. Like last week when we went to my mothers to pick the apples - Alexandra and Andrea and Arian are just so cute together <3

fredag 16. oktober 2015

Force on a Friday

Hi there, Friday!
Last week there were no FACTS on FRIDAY, but this week we're back on track again :D Today I think it's time to talk about the force - the nuclear force: 10 facts about the nuclear force, here you go!

  1. the nuclear force is the force that holds, or binds, a nucleus (of an atom) together, even though all the protons in it are being pushed apart by another force - the protons are like extremely strong magnets with the same pole; they repel each other
  2. without the nuclear force, there wouldn't be any nuclei; without nuclei there wouldn't be atoms, and without atoms there wouldn't be molecules; without the nuclear force there would be no life - no nothing, really, and you couldn't exist...!
  3. it is the strongest of the four fundamental forces, and it's really strong (the three others are electromagnetic force, gravity, and weak force); for example it is 137 times stronger than the elctromagnetic force, and compared to gravity, it is a 1000 million million million million million million (1000000000000000000000000000000000000000) times stronger!
  4. the nuclear force has a very short range - meaning that it only works when a particle "touches" a nucleus; or, in other words: if you get 0.000000000000001 meters from the center of a nucleus, you can't feel it anymore. This distance is called femtometer
  5. when you fission a heavy nucleus, you release some of the force that holds this nucleus together, and since it is so strong, you get soooo much energy from fission
  6. "strong force" is another word for the nuclear force (in Norwegian: "sterk kjernekraft")
  7. when you fuse two light nuclei (make a new nucleus by putting two nuclei together), you also release some of the nuclear force - and therefore you can get energy from fusion, like the sun does it :)
  8. it was after Chadwick discovered that there were neutrons (with no electric charge) inside the nucleus, in 1932, that the physicists discovered the nuclear force - neutrons don't feel the elctromagnetic force, like protons (or electrons, that have electric charge) do, and therefore it had to be something else that was holding the nucleus together...
  9. the nuclear force doesn't really care if a particle has a charge or not; the force between two protons, two neutrons, or a proton and a neutron are nearly the same <3
  10. we still don't understand everything about the nuclear force, even though has been worked on for eight decades...

Don't forget about "Question of the month" next week; I already have some very nice questions, but please, ask more!
Ok, I think that's it for now - I have to go back to my figures and my tables, and then there is the weekly nuclear physics group meeting... Bon weekend, and may the force be with you <3

torsdag 15. oktober 2015

Back in business

Happy Thursday, and may I ask: how did it become Thursday already, and where did the first part of this day go?
Whatever the answer is, I'm back from a FANTASTIC week at Fuerteventura (a blogpost about the vacation will come), and now I'm "back in business", at my office. 
Actually, we got home to Norway on Monday, then I had a mission in Trondheim on Tuesday - I was part of a fake PhD dissertation, as one of the opponents, yesterday was a day filled with starting to get back on track workwise, family obligations, and do you see anything new on me? Yes, it was also time to get glasses. So far, I think I like it - suddenly I can see stuff that was kind of blurry two days ago (and I do look kind of smart, don't I? :P ).
So today is my first, full day, at Blindern; the sun is shining, and even though it's starting to get cold here in Oslo, it feels good :) Main goal of this day: get all figures and tables that I can possibly make into the draft of the article I'm working on (aka: the article that I haven't really worked on for some time...:/) - from this I will also know "where to go" tomorrow. I also need to be serious about the actual PhD thesis now, so writing on that will be quite high on my TO DO list in the next couple of weeks.


BTW: There's something I've been thinking about. I often get questions in the commentary section either here on the blog, or on Facebook, on email, on Twitter etc, and many of these questions are too extensive for just a two sentences type of reply. Therefore I've been thinking about starting a "question of the month" thing - a dedicated blogpost for those extensive questions. I think if I'm going to do this, it should be on a fixed date every month, and I'm not sure exactly when that should be...but for now I think I'll start next week, and I'll just take it from there. What do you think, and do you have any questions? (I've been collecting questions from you for a long time, so I certainly have a lot to work on already ;) )

lørdag 10. oktober 2015

fredag 9. oktober 2015

No facts today

I know it's Friday, but I'm on vacation and there will therefore not be any "10 facts" today :/ Next week though...;)
Instead I'm giving you a couple of pictures from yesterday - we went to a zoo (Oasis Park), and it was awesome!

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