Mini is a field scientist who was born in India but lives in the United States. She writes to capture the stories of science from two perspectives: primary research, and field methods. She is interested not just in new findings, but also in how scientific research is actualised, particularly in the wild.
She is fascinated by science, wildlife, and the wonderful characters that give up warm showers—and sometimes all showers—to research the two together. These people are inseparable from their work, and very rarely do published results ever depict the enormity of the task they have themselves undertaken. In this blog, she tries to make scientific research that is typically obscured behind paywalls and jargon accesible to a broader audience. (All science is communicable; you only have to ask the right people!)
We are a supremely narcissistic species; in return, most of this blog features species that are a) unstudied and b) rarely the subject of common conversation. Here, the nudibranch—and not the human—is a star. To those to whom this may seem incomprehensible, Mini echoes the words of Gerald Durrell in Two in the Bush, from 1966:
“The attitude of the average person to the world they live in is completely selfish. When [Durrell] take[s] people round to see [his] animals, one of the first questions they ask (unless the animal is cute and appealing) is, “what use is it?” by which they mean, “what use is it to them?” To this one can reply “What use is the Acropolis?” Does a creature have to be of direct material use to mankind in order to exist? By and large, by asking the question “what use is it?” you are asking the animal to justify its existence without having justified your own.“
In her “real” life, she, along with her (long-suffering) husband, run a research project to investigate the biology of callitrichids—miniature, cooperatively breeding, odiferous primates—in the Peruvian Amazon. They (that is to say, the monkeys) have wild hairstyles and even wilder reproductive biology. Mini and her husband are not nearly as interesting.
Drop her a line if you have a study you’d like her to feature. If you are the author, all the better. If you have not published your findings yet, contact her anyway—she is as much interested in what you do, as she is in what you finally discover in your work.
For an easy way to keep track of the posts, sign up to receive an email when a new post goes up. Click the tab at the bottom of any page on this website for that option. SurroundScience is also on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.