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The Year That It Was – 2017

in ClubSciWri/Newsletter by

Another year has come to an end! On this first day of a new year, new month and a new week, the Newsletter team wish you a fantastic kick-start. We have many reasons to celebrate the year 2018; one being we will soon be one year old, but the biggest joy is each day we are celebrating altruism in the Scientific Community.

The Newsletter team, together with Club SciWri and CSG, worked relentlessly to provide a collaboration platform to STEM professionals who are passionate about Science beyond the laboratory doors.

Being the first year in circulation, we have faced a few organizational hurdles. However, with each success and mistake, we learnt a lot. Through our 40 campaigns in 9 months, the team kept chasing the vision “for the scientist by the scientist.”

We ensured an amalgamation of different aspects of science. Our repository has it all!!! Whether, the articles are essential for career development/job offers, or for the stories which leave us awe inspired by the beauty of science, there is real value in the stuff.



(Topics we shared in the Club SciWri Weekly Briefings, Image courtesy Rituparna Chakrabarti)

As the New Year begins, we decided to have a recap on0 how we grew more vibrant as a team. Among the best additions to our group, the bunch of freelance writers stood out. Aditi (Chiplunkar) Khandekar, Nidhi Subhashini, Sven Truckenbrodt and Tanmoy Samaddar have been the key players in our content research, design and writing. Abhiyan Viplav, Kashyap Krishnasamy, Nisha Peter, Vignesh Narayan Hariharan and I have been the Hawk eyes for the editorial job. We are delighted that midst the organizational restructuring, the successful collaboration and extensive understanding between the writers and the editors assured campaign publication every Thursday, during 2017. Every team needs a backbone, for us Somdatta Karak took up the role gracefully. She assured initial smooth sailing and tethered the team spread across 4 different time zones.


(In the Image: Top row (L-R) Kashyap and Somdatta; Middle row up (L-R) Rituparna, Nidhi, Abhiyan and Tanmoy; Middle row down (L-R) Sven and Aditi; Bottom row (L-R) Nisha and Vignesh)

We are extremely thankful to have our SciArties Vinita Bharat’s Fuzzy Synapse and Ipsa Jain’s IpsaWonders, their contributions added a different charm to our newsletter.

(In the Image: L-R Vinita and Ipsa)

Our Nine Best Shares

Here we recount the most read and liked issues of Club SciWri Weekly Briefings – 2017 from each month.

  1. April: published on 20th April, 2017
  2. May: published on 18th May, 2017
  3. June: published on 1st June, 2017
  4. July: published on 13th July, 2017 (Our Pick!)
  5. August: published on 3rd August, 2017
  6. September: published on 21st September, 2017
  7. October: published on 5th October, 2017
  8. November: published on 16th November, 2017
  9. December: published on 7th December, 2017

The Aftermath

Ours is a young endeavour within Club SciWri. However, we are steadily gaining our readership. This is indeed reflected in our subscription base, as we initially had only 12 subscribers and now we have reached to 530 active subscribers, spread across 3 continents.

The active members of CSG help us achieve our social media readership per campaign in the range of 120 – 2,400. We are thankful to them for keeping the platform alive with their dynamic shares, lively discussions and constant feedback. Secondly, our average campaign ;open rate is 15 %, which is higher than the industrial campaigns (13.09 %). Our 13th July, 2017, campaign witnessed so far the record-breaking 28.02 % open rate.

(The graph depicts the % of open rate, click rate and the industry average open rate of the campaigns published between April- December, 2017, generated using MailChimp)

The core team (Abhiyan, Kashyap, Nisha and I) love to experiment with new content every week and are always taking the lead on how to gain visibility for our contributors. Feel free to leave us your feedback. We hope by the end of 2018, we will reach a subscription base of 2,000 + globally, therefore looking forward to the collaboration with the CSG – University Representatives. Our current readers’ base is mostly concentrated in the USA, France, Germany, the UK and India. Hand-in-hand with Club SciWri we aim to expand our viewership in 2018 beyond these countries.

(Interactive map depicting the top locations where our newsletter is read, generated with MailChimp)

The Newsletter team take immense pride in providing a platform to those who are passionate about science communication with the perk of visibility. If you think you could be one of us in 2018, get connected with us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or just drop me an email at

Our journey so far wouldn’t have been possible without your support and we look forward to many more chapters in the coming year. If you haven’t yet subscribed to our newsletter, we assure you that 2018 will be more exciting.

Happy New Year!!

Cover Image: Pixabay

Rituparna is the lead editor of the Newsletter team at Club SciWri. She pursued her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Georg-August University (Göttingen, Germany) and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Biostructural Imaging of Neurodegeneration (BIN), Göttingen. Over years, she has gained technical expertise in electron and high-resolution light microscopy, in order to study the nanostructures of specialized chemical synapses in the sensory systems. She likes to have a bird’s eye view of her undertakings and gets excited with analytics. Passionately believes in, correct simplification of science, therefore engages in different scientific communication and public outreach projects. To unwind herself she plays mandolin and eagerly looks for a corner at a coffee house to slide herself in with a good read or company.

The contents of Club SciWri are the copyright of PhD Career Support Group for STEM PhDs (A US Non-Profit 501(c)3, PhDCSG is an initiative of the alumni of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The primary aim of this group is to build a NETWORK among scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs).

This work by Club SciWri is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Odra Noel- A Scientist by day, Artist at other times

in Sci-Pourri/That Makes Sense by

Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss had said, “Science and art ask the same questions.” Hence, it may not seem surprising that many inventors and scientists have pursued artistic pursuits alongside scientific research. Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man is a reminder that art and science complement each other. It is a perfect example how the skill of illustration proves to be invaluable for exploring as well as communicating scientific ideas, even across language divides. While the approach to answering the same fundamental questions may be different, there is a common element of wonder and curiosity. While the laboratory is the temple of scientific discipline, curiosity and imagination have been at the helm of some scientific discoveries. Kekule found/discovered the structure of benzene in a dream, imagining a snake seizing its tail. A story has been popularized that a rescue operation against cannibals resulted in the invention of the sewing machine by Elias Hawke. Einstein’s wild imagination of him riding a light beam has brought humanity so far. It is therefore not surprising that some of the great scientists also dabbled with art, music, and painting. Richard Feynman played the bongo and Einstein played the violin.
But, can  passion lead to a sustainable profession? To pursue the question that intrigues me of late, I started researching on the lives of modern scientists who are juggling between their profession and passion. Not very long after I started my research, Odra Noel caught my attention. Odra, who is a trained doctor from the University of Basque and a Ph.D. from the University of London, dabbled with cell culture, dissection, intracellular organelles when she realized that her enthusiastic interest in scientific art could be combined with scientific art creation. My quest to know about her transition into the world of scientific art (a subject which is very close to my heart) I reached out to Odra to know about her work and transition. “I always knew I was an artist. I had the soul of an artist. But making a living from art is even more difficult than making a living as a scientist, for the simple reason that we need many more scientists than artists. I never left science, my main activity, and the one that pays the bills is science. I do art in my spare time and use it to balance my life. I use art to think, to understand and to communicate science” Odra said when I asked her when did she realize she wanted to be an artist. Realizing from my experience that how hard such a transition can be for someone who is trained to work in the lab, solving problems to have a deeper understanding of life for several years at a stretch, I couldn’t resist myself to ask “so how was the transition?.” “My transition was partial and seamless. I always had made art on the side, so to make it a bit more ‘official’ was not difficult” she said, adding “It takes a lot of planning and energy. Having two lives is fun, but you need to make sacrifices because there are only 24 hours in each day.” I realized for a graduate student to pursue hobby vis a vis his/her lab life one needs a supportive mentor and so I asked: “how supportive was your alma mater/PI when you made the choice of a nonacademic career?” Odra’s response was “people are generally very supportive. But you need a certain amount of evidence that you know what you are doing. Not an unplanned ‘follow’ your heart in my case.”
My short interview ended with her claiming to be a ‘nongame changer.’ Well, she is modest about her achievements, but if you look at her work, you will realize that her work efficiently communicates science in a fun and artistic way. She also sets an example for us (PhDs) to have wholesome lives where our lives are more than our research jobs.

Just a few more lines about her:
Apart from training in science (Ph.D.), she has gained training in arts and aesthetics. She mainly paints cellular processes, membrane and cellular organelles on silks. Chloroplast and mitochondria are her favorite subjects. She ensures that the colors are vibrant and catchy to an uninitiated buyer, but when someone buys her product, they take a scientific concept home. Her art cover has also featured in scientific journal covers and science art exhibitions. She juggles her life between art and science.

So that was my way of knowing someone who is a full-time scientist and an artist. It is already well past midnight, and I need to finish my next set of illustrations…..

To find out more about Odra Noel’s artwork, please visit For those in London, some of her pieces will be part of the exhibition ‘Transplant and life’ at the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons, London, from 22 November 2017 to mid march 2018.

Image is taken from Odra Noel’s Facebook page with her permission.



Ipsa is a Ph.D. student at IISc. She wants to gather and spread interestingness. She prefers painting and drawing over writing. She is grateful that Diptadip Dattaroy and Ananda Ghosh took the pains of editing her poor writing.

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