Science Sisters

Science Sisters is a series of laughter-filled and candid chatty interviews on career paths and academic life in the Earth and planetary sciences hosted by Dr. Iris van Zelst (PI of the ISSI team ‘Seismicity on Venus: Prediction & Detection’). Focussing on diversity, inclusion, and equality, as well as outreach, science communication, and the mental health of scientists, Science Sisters showcases different role models and tries to offer solutions to or – at the very least – ask important questions about science and academia that many academics struggle with. Of course, it also touches upon planetary science and specifically Venus as Venus is, after all, Earth’s sister planet.

Created, produced, and hosted by Dr. Iris van Zelst, several of the episodes have featured members of the ISSI team, spanning topics such as leadership and building a research group.

Building a research group with Ana-Catalina Plesa
Science Sisters | Season 2 | Episode 7

If you are in academia, it is very likely you are part of a research group. But how does a research group come into existence, you may ask? 🧐 Well, the season finale of Science Sisters is here to the rescue! Join Iris as she chats with Ana-Catalina Plesa (researcher at the German Aerospace Center) about building a research group, applying for funding to build one, receiving more funding, and the continuous cycle of applying for funding. Most importantly, they highlight science as a team effort for which a diverse research group is essential to bring about the most creative ideas.

Leadership with Richard Ghail
Science Sisters | Season 1 | Episode 5

In this episode of Science Sisters, Richard Ghail (professor at Royal Holloway, University of London) and Iris van Zelst (postdoctoral researcher at the German Aerospace Center) talk about the new space mission EnVision to Venus on which Rich is the lead scientist. How do you start with planning a space mission? How do you actually make sure that it gets flown? How big is the team? How long does this process take? In answering these questions, Rich and Iris particularly look at how you can effectively manage a large, interdisciplinary team and what constitutes a good leader. Also, they talk about the ridiculous notion of Venus being a female planet and wonder if there could be life on Venus…

Public lectures at the Royal Astronomical Society in London, UK

In October 2023, Dr. Iris van Zelst (PI of the ISSI team ‘Seismicity on Venus: Prediction & Detection’) gave two public lectures at the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) in London, UK about ‘Venus: cloudy with a chance of earthquakes’. In one hour, she introduced the audience to the mysteries of Venus and how scientists are trying to unravel them through models and the upcoming missions. Afterwards, there was a question session and a visit to the library of the RAS, where a special Venus exhibition was displayed, which Dr. Iris van Zelst helped curate. The lectures were well received and there were even some children in the audience who were very engaged and asked interesting questions about Venus.

The lectures were recorded and can be found here:

Banner image by Lucía Perez-Diaz: www.luciaperezdiaz.com