Sustainable Development Geek

Do you know the 17 goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – SDGs? The SDGs officially came into effect on 1 January 2016. Until 2030, world leaders from poor, rich and middle-income countries will mobilize efforts and build strategies to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, as well as to tackle environment protection, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

With these goals in mind, the SDC Swiss Global Institutions developed a card game that tests players’ knowledge and encourages them to think about sustainable development in a captivating way. The card game can be played by two or more people in several ways and is also suitable for school classes or for use at large-scale events. The best part: you can download the game for free here.

Sketchnotes at the House of Science in Bremen – VII

From robots from the past, that know how to do one thing and one thing only, to robots of the future that compose music or do chemistry experiments, Dr. Daniel Nyga from the Institute Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Bremen, impressed the audience of the House of Science with his very interesting session about Artificial Intelligence (in German). Here are my takes of the session:

Sketchnotes at the House of Science in Bremen – VI

Last Saturday, Dr. Ahmed Karim, a professor at Jacobs University in Bremen and at the University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine in Tübingen gave a free psychotherapy session to the audience of “Wissen Um 11” in the House of Science! 😉 How can thoughts influence our health and which factors can lead to good thoughts? (in German)

Sketchnotes at the House of Science in Bremen – IV and V

Another session at “Wissen um 11” at the House of Science in Bremen, this time the engineer Sven Stappert from German Aerospace Center (DLR) spoke about the reusability of space launchers by the company SpaceX. SpaceX was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk with the goal of launching missions to the Moon or Mars. Seeking to reduce the cost of space travel to allow the masses to access space, Space X uses the concept of vertical landing to allow their rockets to go back to land (or ship) and to be re-used for a later mission. Recycling has therefore reached the sky! And yes, this is rocket science!

The last session I went to was around a completely different mean of transport: trains! When we think about sustainable electric mobility everyone thinks about electric cars, but these are still in need of a larger charging infrastructure that it is not yet here. Maria Leene from SCI Verkehr came from Hamburg to Bremen (by train!) to talk about how trains already are electric-mobility. What they need is them to enter faster in the digital era and get modernized! For that, the SCI Verkehr and the Deutsche Bahn need young specialists with know-how to work with them and make trains more attractive to everyone. Be part of the e-mobility revolution!


Sketchnotes at the House of Science in Bremen – II and III

As I have shown in a previous post, I started to go to the House of Science in Bremen to their regular Science Saturday Matinees to practice sketchnotes. The first time I did it, I was in such a positive mood, that I decided to talk to the coordinator of these matinees. She really liked the sketchnotes and she invited me to regularly come and try them out. She even suggested putting my sketchnotes on their website to show the sessions in a different way. So now you can click here and see them at their official website! (only in German)

The second session I listened to was the interesting talk from Niels Hollmeier, the digital curator of the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven about the exhibition they are holding with “treasures from the sea” and the importance of restoration and conservation to the maritime history. You can visit the exhibition in Bremerhaven until the 16th of December. Here is what I have got from this session:

In the next science session, the topic was still around maritime treasures, but this time in another form: Fish. More specifically about the consequences of aquaculture, taking the Philippines as an example. “The majority of the world’s aquaculture produced fish are from Asian countries where aquaculture facilities are often characterized by the heavy use of chemicals, antibiotics, overfeeding, and little environmental awareness and control” – Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research. Dr. Christiane Hassenrück is a researcher that investigates the effects of open fish cage farms on the surrounding ecosystem and she found out that it leads to problems such as a decrease in water quality, hypoxia, and an increase of microorganisms that can cause diseases both in fish and humans.

MIT Media Lab and MIT Museum – Ramón y Cajal

I have only recently heard about the MIT Media Lab although it is as old as me. The Media Lab was born in 1985 to “combine a vision of a digital future with a new style of creative invention”. It started to set up what was seen as radical for that time: “open computer gardens, personal computing on every desk and a multimedia network to every room”. Since then it has created numerous disruptive technologies in different fields, from electronics to entertainment, fashion to healthcare, etc. by promoting a collaborative and an interdisciplinary culture inside the research community.

Some examples that are dear to me include: the Communitive Biotechnology initiative, which includes the development of low-cost enabling hardware and experiments in the interface of art and biology; and the Open Ocean initiative in which researchers work at the intersection of science, technology, society, and art to set up new ways to understand the ocean and empower people to explore and make better changes.

The Media Lab has not only a broad research agenda but also a degree-granting Program in Media Arts and Sciences. The website is amazing and it is an incredible source of news, from videos to talks, projects to summits and much moreIt was there that I learned about the MIT Museum and its current exhibition “The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal”.

From the exhibition “The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal” at the MIT Museum. “The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramon y Cajal” was developed by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota with the CSIC’s Cajal Institute, Madrid, Spain.

The exhibition presents the drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, the father of modern neuroscience and also an extraordinary artist. As the museum nicely illustrates: “his drawings of the brain were not only beautiful but also astounding in their capacity to illustrate and understand the details of brain structure and function.” Learn more about the exhibition on the museum’s website and if you have the opportunity (I don’t!) please go visit the exhibition until the 31st of December 2018. 

Ramon y Cajal was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1906 and, in spite of time, his work continues to captivate and stimulate modern neuroscientists and artists. One particular artwork that I love (already from 2010) was made by the neuroscientist Pablo Garcia Lopez, who was inspired by Ramón y Cajal’s beautiful metaphors:

“Like the entomologist in search of colorful butterflies, my attention has chased in the gardens of the grey matter cells with delicate and elegant shapes, the mysterious butterflies of the soul, whose beating of wings one day reveal to us the secrets of the mind.” (Ramón y Cajal, 1901).”

Mixed Media Artwork by Pablo Garcia Lopez. For more work from this artist visit his website:

Inspired by this quote, Pablo Garcia Lopez created this amazing mixed media artwork by playing with neuroscience, that he so well knows, and mixing the image of a brain positron emission tomography (PET) scan with the colorful butterflies that Ramón y Cajal was talking.

For more work from this sci-artist visit his website:

International Sketchnote Camp 2018 Lisboa #ISC18LX

One month ago I had the chance to attend for the first time the International Sketchnote Camp (ISC) in Lisbon. Yes, Lisbon! Although filled with tourists, Lisbon was the perfect place for the ISC – and to visit friends and my family. A great win-win situation for a sketchnote-lover-emigrant like me.

But first things first, what are sketchnotes? Sketchnotes are a visual language, which uses text, shapes, and connectors and does not require high drawing skills. They are intended to make content more comprehensible for the person sketchnoting and at the same time to help better remember the transmitted information. They can also be used to get new ideas and facilitate an exchange on the respective topic. You can use sketchnotes to plan projects, or capture ideas from books you read, movies you saw, etc. Sketchnotes are this and so much more! And that I learned at the ISC! This is my impression from the first day:

Walking into a room filled with people you don’t know is both terrifying and exciting. I sat next to a woman and started talking. She introduced herself as Caroline Vetsmany. “What a different surname”, I said. “Yes, I got it from my husband whose grandfather invented it! And previously my maiden name sounded like the word ‘traffic cone’ in French.” I liked her. Originally from France and from the marketing area, she is now living in Portugal and doing business illustration and graphic recording. You can see some of her work (and hire her) here. She is really talented and her experience in digital marketing background is a good combo to look for.

An overview of the main life events from Caroline Vetsmany’s made by herself.

But now wait. I introduced another concept: graphic recording. Well, although many think it is the same as sketchnoting it is not. This was emphasized by Mathias Weitbrech, the founder of Visual Facilitators, the largest team of graphic recorders in Germany.

Graphic recording originated as a method much earlier than sketchnotes, approximately 40 years ago. The primary focus of graphic recording is to support meetings and other gatherings and encourage collaboration between people in a group by capturing the ideas and content visually as people speak. By doing so, everyone in the room can see and be part of this live visualization of ideas. Interested? To learn more go to Visual Facilitators and request some info. Here are my takes on Mathias Weitbrecht’s talk on ISC and some of the myths about graphic recording he pointed out: Back to first impressions – I never attended something organized as a BarCamp. I did not know what it was. It turns out that unlike traditional conference formats in which there is an organized agenda, BarCamps have a self-organizing character in which the content is provided by the participants and the sessions are scheduled by whoever in the audience wants to hold a session. People get up, pitch their sessions and schedule the session on a whiteboard.

I was happy to see that two of the many sessions I wanted to attend (too many actually) were going to be presented by two women from Bremen, where I currently live (what are the odds?). One of the sessions was presented by Diana Meier-Soriat. Diana has 4 kids and a dog and she manages to do a lot of creative work: sketchnotes, graphic recording, illustrations, workshops and she organizes her crazy schedule with a bullet journal. She has even written a book about bullet journaling in German. Having a bullet journal is super trendy at the moment and I really want to try it. You can track your past, order your present, and design your future – all in one – tracker, to-do-list, diary, agenda, sketchbook. Just have a look and see for yourself what bullet journal is with this awesome video that Diana did with Faber-Castell:

And here is what I got from her session about Bullet Journaling. I am looking forward to sketching what I learned and I hope I can share with you soon some of my own Bullet Journaling (or #BuJo). I really need to organize myself!

The other session was done by Prof. Katharina-Theis-Bröhl, who is a Physics teacher at the Hochschule Bremerhaven. She uses sketchnotes in her lectures for Master students as well as in meetings and seminars of research colleagues. She even did a small booklet to help students learn more about the subject of solar energy, which she showed us – it is totally awesome, I wished I had a teacher like her in college – I would probably have retained much more in my brain. See what I learned from her session:

The ISC was also very interesting to learn more about how to draw figures. Anne Gibbons delivered a very Expressive Figure Drawing session with live examples and funny motions. There I learned that the spine is very important because it sets the direction. She is a very talented cartoonist and illustrator, who also does graphic recording. In conversation, we discovered that we both share the fear of surfing. Which I should not have in my veins since I come from Peniche, where the MEO Rip Curl Pro Surf Competition is held every year.

Although the ISC was done in a BarCamp format, it did have a keynote speaker – Mike Rohde. Mike is actually the “father” of sketchnotes – the one who coined the sketchnotes, sketchnotes. Mike Rhode wrote several books translated into several languages, among them “The Sketchnote Handbook” and the “Sketchnote Workbook” which I have been using to learn more about sketchnotes. It was an honor to meet him, not only for what he does but also because he is a very friendly and humble person.

He opened the ISC with several examples of why sketchnoting can be really helpful- for instance, he spoke about a kid who had difficulty learning in a “normal school way” and after discovering sketchnoting he was able to get to college. Mike Rohde says: “We are the torchbearers” and that we should keep spreading the word about sketchnotes to everyone. To join the revolution you can register at Sketchnote Army.

The Sketchnote Workbook and the Sketchnote Handbook are fully-illustrated books from Mike Rohde, with additional video series, showing how to use sketchnotes.

On the last day of ISC, there was still a lot of sessions that I wanted to see, but I could not stay longer. Still, I managed to come to the session of Rob Dimeo, who I have been following on Flickr for a long time. Rob Dimeo is the Director of the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), a user facility for neutron scattering in the US. He was one of the first persons I have seen to combine science and sketchnoting. And since I have always been a huge fan of science and visual communication it caught my eye. Since learning sketchnotes in 2014, he has been using sketchnotes in seminars, management meetings, etc. and he even has published some sketchnotes in technical journals. And he is trying to increase the number of sketchnoters in his scientific community. Thank you for being an inspiration!

Thank you so much to the organizers of this amazing event: Luís Gonzaga – a Spiritual Intelligence Coach & Productivity Consultant at Full Fill and Daniel Perdigão, the best sketchnoter and graphic recorder in Portugal. Please check his work and his company Up Side Up. It is worth it!

It was lovely to meet people from all over the world and of course to talk in my native language to some very nice Portuguese people there. Thank you all! It was an amazing opportunity and I hope to be able to attend next year’s ISC in France! #ISC19FR

Sketchnotes at the House of Science in Bremen – I

I have recently moved from Cologne to Bremen (yes, I do plan to stay in Germany for the next few years – I am Germanized) and I have been exploring what the city has to offer – which is actually a lot! I heard about the House of Science and their regular Science Saturday Matinees and I thought it would be a nice place to learn new things and practice Sketchnotes in German (I will be writing more about Sketchnotes in my next post). Last Saturday the speaker was Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler with the title: “Experience the world of tomorrow and understand today’s – playful and with humor” (“Die Welt von Morgen erfahren und die heutige verstehen – spielerisch und mit humor”). Here are my notes on the talk. I hope you enjoy them and understand what was all about:

Sketchnotes1_25.08.2018 Sketchnotes2_25.08.2018 Sketchnotes3_25.08.2018

Besides being a professor at the Institute of Computer Science at the University of Bremen and the head of the Cyber-Physical Systems department at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler is also a very good science communicator. Not only can he explain complex topics in an understandable and funny way, he is also the creator, along with Dr. Jannis Stoppe, of the webcomics Noerdman (only in German). Noerdman talks about Technology, Nerds and the North (of Germany) and is worth following. It makes you think, smile and laugh!

Translation: 1. I have finished my Graduation work – I have built a Robot that will make us breakfast. 2. We can sleep 3 minutes longer every day. Check it out! 6. And? Do you think the Professor will like it?” Drawings and Text: Dr.-Ing. Jannis Stoppe; Idea and Text: Prof. Rolf Drechsler. Under the motto: “Bis 2050 sollen Roboter ein Spiel gegen den Fußballweltmeister gewinnen. 2050!” (“Robots are expected to win a match against the Soccer World champion by 2050. 2050!”). From the website

Food and Drinks Infographics: A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures 

It was Apicius, a Roman gourmet of the 1st Century, who allegedly coined the phrase “We eat first with our eyes” (Delwiche, 2012). Although you probably won’t start to salivate just by looking at these beautiful-made infographics, it is definitely a feast to the eyes. Enjoy the delicious visual exploration of foods and drinks, as well as practical tips and techniques that are indispensable in the kitchen and for throwing the best stress-free parties.

Image from the Book “Food and Drinks Infographics: A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures” by Simone Klabin and Julius Wiedemann @Taschen

Continue reading “Food and Drinks Infographics: A Visual Guide to Culinary Pleasures “

PDB Education and Art Projects

As I mentioned in my previous post, the Protein Data Bank (PDB) is not only a worldwide structural database but also an incredible resourceful educational toolkit. On the website is available the aforementioned Molecule of the Month, as well as:

Continue reading “PDB Education and Art Projects”