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Monday 11 June 2012

Jon's first week

Hi, I'm Jon, last week was my first week of a summer internship here at Things We Don't Know. I applied for a number of positions this summer, but was absolutely delighted to be offered the chance to work on this particular project, and so accepted immediately when I was offered the position. This is a great opportunity for me to share my enthusiasm for science, and especially to work with people who recognise how important it is to be able to honestly say "We don't know" and acknowledge the vastness of the mysteries which still exist in our scientific understanding.

This week, I have met with Ed Trollope, the man behind the idea for the project, who is in charge and also deeply involved with much of the content, especially in the area of physics. We discussed his vision for the company, and how he would like me to approach my role, writing up and tagging pieces on scientific quandaries across a range of fields. I was also introduced to the company's other director, Stewart, and he shared some of his experiences in science with me, these stimulating discussions around the communication of science, and the manner in which an engagement with the subject can be maintained, have helped form my own ideas in terms of the manner and style in which I will be writing.

On Wednesday, Ed and I were working at the Hub, a shared workspace near Kings Cross, with a diverse mixture of small and medium-sized businesses based there. The facility is unlike any office I have worked in before (and I've had the pleasure of a very wide range of working environments), with large shared working areas, a cafe area, and private meeting rooms available. It was full of interesting, vibrant, and hard-working people, focussed on a broad range of commercial interests, and the stream of snippets of overheard conversations were surprising and thought-provoking. I hope I'll have the opportunity to work there again soon, although the freedom to work independently on Thursday and Friday has meant I've been able to focus well and produce a number of pieces for the site.

As for the work I've been doing thus far, I have been producing content for the website based upon a series of articles provided for me as jumping-off points, and my own research into the unanswered questions these pointed to. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work independently, following a thread and seeing if there is some interesting unsolved puzzle at the end of it has been tremendously exciting. I have been able to learn much about fields as varied as Active Galactic Nuclei and Nanotechnology, Climatology and Dark Matter.

I’m in Switzerland for the rest of this week visiting the research facilities at CERN with my university physics society (I have just completed my 2nd year at QMUL), but am very much looking forward to getting back to London and TWDK, and peering further into the unknown.


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