In this week’s episode, Josh is talking to Tullio Rossi who was a Winner in the 2020 South Australian Community Achievement Awards.
Dr Tullio Rossi is an award-winning science communicator, marine biologist and graphic designer. As Founder of the science communication agency “Animate Your Science”, he helps researchers tell their story to the world. His engaging video animations and eye-catching graphics make science understandable for everyone, reaching millions of people around the world, thereby creating a real-life impact.
I am Dr Tullio Rossi, the director at Animate Your Science. My team and I empower researchers and institution to change the world by communicating in an effective and accessible way. Our clients span from Cornell University in New York to The Australian Government. In every case, we’ve helped them unleash their impact through the power of video and graphics.
Animate Your Science of Adelaide is empowering scientists and the research community. Founded by Tullio Rossi, Animate Your Science (AYS) produces video animations and graphics that make research stand out and obtain visibility. The innovative tools enable researchers to reach audiences outside of their specific field and on a global scale, creating life-changing impact and visibility, a healthy dose of fun and understandable science. AYS tripled their sales in their third year and hired two full-time employees and a team of over 20 contractors. They have attracted $50,000 in angel investment and $23,000 in awards. AYS holds workshops on how researchers can improve their communication skills
In this episode:
- We hear how Tullio, a self-taught graphic designer created a very successful and much awarded, animated video of his PHD research to make his research accessible to everyone
- We learnt about “bioluminescence” and Tullio says he is “half fish/half human”!!
- Tullio has two distinct types of people working at Animate Your Science, working side-by-side, Academics and Researchers and Artists
Connect with Animate Your Science on Facebook
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Check out the Animate Your Science website Check out the blog for free resources
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Want to nominate someone? (It can take as little as 2 minutes to recognise someone making a difference)
Welcome to the inspirational australian’s podcast where we chat to people making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. And here’s your host for today, Josh.
Thank you Annette, and for this week’s dose of inspiration, I’m joined by Dr. Tullio Rossie, who
not only has an incredibly cool name but an incredibly cool accent
and very excited to speak
for a couple of reasons.
Tullio is currently in Europe
in Melbourne and New South Wales we can just dream of
being in different places at the moment. And also there’s a really cool connection between Tullio and the young achiever Awards that we also run here.
Awards, Australia which will get to later on. But before I quickly throw the Tullio I just want to let everyone know that
the young achiever Awards are currently open now across
in all states of Australia.
So if you do know a young person who’s doing something pretty Great then I’d encourage you to visit
young achiever Awards dot com.
And you can take two minutes only of your time to refer someone. And it could be a really cool thing to do for a young person.
All right, to today’s interview, like I said, it’s Dr. Tullio Rossi who is an award winning science communicator. Marine biologist, and graphic designer. As founder of the science communication agency animate your science, he helps researchers tell their story to the world.
He’s engaging, video animations and eye catching graphics
make science understandable for everyone.
Reaching millions of people around the World, thereby
creating a real life impact and Tullio it’s evening for me. Good morning to you.
Good evening everyone. It’s Great to be here.
Tullio thanks for taking some time to
delve into it too too much. But the last time we spoke was very, very early in the morning. And
if I didn’t know better I would have thought that
you were quite old
Because he had a bit of a croaky voice. I think it was just because you just woken up. So I’m glad that we could make a
good time to chat.
Yes, and I’m not a morning person and I need my espresso because I’m Italian originally and
there’s this pressure then
half an hour for this pressure to kick in and then I can talk.
Fair enough. Everyone has their own morning routines.
I’ve never understood morning people, I’ve got to be honest. It takes me a long time.
me neither. But
I came to learn that there’s an evolutionary explanation why we have morning people and
not morning people. And that’s because if we live in a tribe,
you don’t want the whole tried to sleep at the same time. If there is a danger outside, like a beast lurking in the shadows,
you want some people to wake up earlier than others. So there’s always somebodyawake.
So with things I learned, I was like, this makes a lot of sense.
So people like me serve a purpose.
I love that I’m going to recite that now actually because I haven’t heard that before. It’s cool.
Yeah, there’s always an explanation.
So Tullio, when we came across you, because you were nominated in two thousand twenty four in South Australia and the community achievement Awards in the minister for skills and innovation, small business award. And for those who don’t know the minister for skills innovation in Adelaide, his name is David Pisoni, the honourable David Pisoni, member of parliament.
And it’s a really cool story that truly, I’m not sure if you know this, but he himself was a nominee in the young achiever Awards in the 1980s.
And he became a winner and
he was an apprentice.
And then all these Years later he’s now in government
and he became a sponsor of our sponsor partner of our young achiever, in South Australia
and love that program so much I’m willing to
give back to other young apprentices when he realised that we had the community achievement award, we thought, well, let’s make
everyone have an award that they can be part of especially special not just young people. So the community even was open to all ages and that was really cool.
And that was the category
you won last year.
That’s right. To didn’t big story really?
speaking of cool back stories, I think that animate your science your business has a really cool back story. So rather than me trying to tell it, I’d love to throw to you and, and find out
what it is. How it started.
Yeah and give us a bit of that story behind, animate your science.
Of course, well, we need to go
a while back to the time when I was about to finish high School. That’s when I first got into graphic design. Thanks to my art teacher who gave me a copy of Photoshop Adobe Photoshop. Oh, really. And I started playing with it mostly for fun. I like to do photo manipulation and things like that for fun. Then what happened is that one of my best friends, organized events.
back then, you know, before Facebook events were a thing, you know, the flyer was a really important thing to promote an event.
So why don’t we try to make a flyer
You know how to use software. Let’s do it. I said, yeah, awesome. Let’s do it.
And so I made a play and then a
second one, third one.
And then I met the guy who was printing those fires and he said, hey, look, you’re pretty decent. Do you want some really poorly paid work?Sure.
I was appealing till
I was 18 at the time and you know,
well there was also getting was the free entry in the clubs
and free drinks, which were an 18 year old is better
So it was a Great deal for me back then. I wouldn’t do it now
but back then it was pretty cool. And so I did it for
Years and basically I was self trained graphic designer.
But then man made bigger and stronger. Passion was about theOcean.
And that’s what led me into becoming a Marine biologist.
And I sort of thought about graphic design
as a plan B career. If my science career would work out, I
would always be a graphic designer.
And I thought the
two things are separate parts, but for many many Years. And until they met, again, doing my PhD, which was what brought me here to Australia. I did the University of Adelaide.
And that’s when I realised that science really needs design and communication science sciences, this massive communication problem. We’ve got these Great
researchers are often not the best people to tell the stories.
They’re trained to be researchers. They’re not trained to be storytellers. And also they’re not trained in visual media.
So there’s a lot of opportunity to apply
the skills of design and storytelling to science And that’s exactly what I did. So I started with my own research at some point, I finally had my first Peer reviewed
paper accepted for publication because of course, very exciting.
But as the excitement faded away I realized
OK here we’ve got this 10 pages long. Peer reviewed scientific paper
is written for experts really heavy will have really complicated jargon. Let’s be honest, who’s going to read this thing?
Maybe a dozen experts out there in my field, and that’s it. That’s the reality of most research papers. And
for the most, nothing is done to tell those stories beyond
And I wasn’t happy with that because my research was about the effect of climate change on fish.
So I fell, well,
everyone should know that as many if you just like to
eat fish or to look at them when snorkeling
the results were quite concerning. So I found that story
should have gotten out to a broader audience.
And so that
pushed me to try new things. And I learned a lot about storytelling applied to science and
it pushed me to try something new which was video animation.
I’m not an animator, I was never trained as an animator but I have tried. I started with the easy stuff
with the whiteboard animations that those are within reach to most
people, even if you’re not a designer, you can make one of those. The software is actually quite easy to use.
my research in a way that didn’t feel like
that will bore everyone,
but I presented it in a way that felt like a story. And so I was telling the story of this
baby fish that gets lost in the Ocean and adds my Italian accent. And the way I say baby fish and people love me.
And so I put that video out there without really knowing what to expect. And I
submitted it to a few competitions that invited researchers to
exactly this to tell their story of the research in three minutes using video
and video one won three
Awards in the matter and
in one year and blew me away. But the best part is that it reached thousands. So all of a sudden
I went from being
completely unknown and forgotten
in my office at
thousands of people know about what I’m doing
all around the World which blew me away.
And it really hit me when I got this email from a stranger
saying I watched your video. I finally
understand what the problem is with this thing called Ocean acidification. Thank you for doing what you’re doing.
That’s right. And that
hit me because I realized, I think up until now nobody ever told me thank you for doing the research on the
and that really highlighted
the importance of how researchers are
extra bit of work to make our research accessible and understandable to everyone
and the world is not just made by climate change deniers that will attack you.
They are nice people out there that will show signs of gratitude if we researchers do that excellent bit of
work to make it more accessible.
So it was
really rewarding. Really a beautiful experience and really that
set the new trajectory of my life. Because at
the same time,
my interest in pursuing an academic career faded away
and instead started considering science communication
as my new career.
And so I started on my own, initially as a freelancer, but
soon enough, I got lucky to get into the
thing club business incubator.
And that’s a place for startups. So they taught me to think
like a business owner and not like a freelancer.
And that was really useful
because this is the beginning I was in the mindset of building a team.
And so I initially got a couple of
interns the straight out from our school and started helping me do more than I could do on my own.
And then eventually
we put some stuff out and then we got our first paying clients that felt amazing.
My somebody out there is willing to pay for this. I can’t believe it.
And then you know,
things started to fall into place little by little.
course the first
couple of Years were really tough because there were very few clients and a lot of time doing nothing in between.
But I think it’s a necessary phase, because then if you stick with it, eventually,
if it’s a good idea and
there is a need, things will fall into place and that’s what happened. So now where we started in twenty seventeen. And now I’m very,
very lucky to say that we have clients in the whole world. Well,
on six continents We’re really growing strongly and team is growing now where we’re four
full time people working in the business and a number of
freelancers that help us with various things like voiceovers, sound design, et cetera.
That’s incredible. That’s really cool to hear how
it’s grown and
how the weird and wonderful combo of Marine biology science and
graphic design have come together.
Yeah, look, I could,
I could have never pictured it until it happened yet. At some point it just makes sense. And you know, when people would say one day, you connect the dots and that’s
exactly, that’s what happened.
I could not predict.
You mentioned something just
kind of before when you’re describing how
some people in science and stem
were not good at
storytelling to get their research across to a wider audience. And I think it’s in some ways the exact same, but the inverse,where
some people are good with language or good at telling stories.
But they’re not as good at comprehending stats and not as complex ideas behind science. And so it goes both ways, I think.
Yeah, and how different
and I think that there’s a lot of scope with collaboration between the sciences and the arts.
I think having someone like you who is able to do both is, is quite
unique, I think.
Yeah I’m very much a bridge between these two worlds. That normally rarely interact with each other.
But in my team,
I have this rule that we have
two types of people. The science
communicators which all have PhDs, because they need to be experts in
different fields and understand the science. Deep learning, the Deep level
as an insider,
and then we put them to work side by side with artists
that don’t need to be excited about science because they have the science communicator. They’re
breaking it down for them,
everything understandable. And so the artist can focus on what they’re best at, which is to make things look amazing.
Yeah, that’s very cool. What would a typical day for you look like now that it’s a big otane that has grown that you’ve got clients all over the world?
it changed definitely. Now that the team is bigger
a lot of my time is spent managing the team in
very much remotely because
yeah, I haven’t seen my team since May.
So we will do everything remotely which with current technology is actually not much of a problem. And everything we offer is digital service. So we can, you know, deliver anywhere in the world with
just over Dropbox which is yeah. Which really is that is cool.
We don’t do live action filming of any kind. We don’t own a single camera.
And so we can work with people anywhere on this planet and
that’s a big advantage.
And so my day
it’s a lot of
meeting with clients hearing what their communication problems are what the,
what message is trying to get across.
And then my favorite part is very, is that process of
having that initial chat with the researcher. Usually they dump everything they’ve got in their head on me is like, oh my God,
it’s like this
massive spaghetti bowl where you don’t know where to start.
And then my job is
to ask the right questions to tease apart the story.
So this is always messy, but then
because I know which pieces I need to put together the story,
eventually we get there.
And that’s a really fun process to do with the research.
And it’s rewarding when at the end they say,
yeah, that’s the story.
Why didn’t I think about it like this before.
OK, I’ve got a pretty silly analogy here but it
just popped into my head as you were describing that process. Because I did this earlier with my two little kids, not long before we started chatting.
It’s like a puzzle.
When you tip it out of the box, half the pieces are upside down, they’re all over here and there’s a big mess. You got to sort them out on the corner pieces. Line them all up together and eventually it Comes. Comes together,
Exactly, but the thing is that for research, it is very useful to
help of an external person is that not familiar
with this specific project?
Because in a way, from the outside we’re better positioned at telling that story to somebody that hasn’t
heard about it before.
When you’re the researcher, you’re immersed
in that research on a daily basis and you lose the bigger picture perspective. Yep.
I remember this was really obvious.
Years ago when I was teaching
story at face communication and one of them said above
all I do every day is writing code for satellites. Nobody cares. And I’m like, OK if you say it that way.
But let me ask you something.
What do those satellites do
that affect the sky?
And maybe they do something useful.
Well I guess if there is funding for your research, they do something useful, right? They would
pay you to just write code for the sake of writing code.
But that’s the difference. You know, when you’re the graduate student and everything you’re doing
all day writing code, that’s the world, that’s your world, right?
You kind of forget that you’re writing code for a
for satellites that will give you, I don’t know, remote sensing mapping, G.P.S. or whatever that might be. And that’s when you communicate that story. And that’s where you need to start. You need to start from the bigger picture. Yeah.
No I see what you mean. That makes sense. I like the way you describe that actually.
as good. So you mentioned think that not long ago. And that kind of helped you, you
know, switch from a freelancer mindset to a business owner and startup mindset. So for those who don’t know can you explain what think it is and tell us a bit about that?
Sure, so I think I
think you can call it a startup incubator or accelerator. The prematch mean the same thing. It’s
the coworking space
where lots of startups working on completely different
Share the space, share the office space, and then
there’s a lot more being beyond the office space. There’s a lot of mentoring
involved. So I think I will find a group very substantial group. I don’t know, 20 plus
each one with expertise in different fields.
These are maybe people that have been in business for 30 Years that have funded and sold and funded and sold
multiple businesses over the wealth of knowledge
that these people will sit down with you
startup founder for free. No, no,
nothing. You know, no money exchange involved of any kind and they will just help you
the waters of being a startup founders, which is quite treacherous.
for me was really
and probably the mentor that helped me the most was
a digital marketer.
In the early days who
looked at looked at the first version of our website which I made and took it to shreds.
But it was useful because I learned
what I did wrong and what needed to change.
following his advice and
doing content marketing, which
at the time for me was a new concept. Now we, that’s how we get most of our clients
is through content marketing and barebone
having good Google rankings,
for example. Now when you’re somebody in the US searches for science animations onGoogle,
we’re number three.
amazing, which is huge. It’s huge and that’s how
most of our marketing
I owe that to think.
I probably would have come across that concept at some point, but not.
I was lucky that I came across that concept early. So I started
doing content marketing early on because it’s a slow
process. But once it kicks in it really kicks in and
it’s then a very sustainable type of marketing.
And you still involved within the or is that something that Yeah,
look, I thought at some point they will tell me it’s time for you to move on but
apparently they love us. And so
I love the place. I love the people there,
shout out the kind that is in the team.
They’re all Great and always helpful.
And nice people. So
yeah we, we love the space they love us.
So far there is no pressure to move on them. Although we’ve seen, you know it’s very much and
it’s very different for different start ups. Some grow Super rapidly, like a tech company might be the
January, a team of two. And then by the end of the year, your team of 15
because you got a lot of funding, all of a sudden you need to scale really quickly.
Then of course those people will outgrow
the space very rapidly, but we’re not a tech company.
We offer a service for the most part.
it’s a bit different.
So we grow, but not as fast as
a company would.
Now I’ve had lots of good stories from, from fan club. Stuff my head I’m thinking
you may know Sean grealy.
Yeah of course. And
Jordan Gruber, they had been young achiever Awards alumni as well.
And Tom welspun from if he was part of the club as well. Maybe not the
rings the bell. Yes.
But as you said they all said the same thing. It’s a wonderful community and
it’s Great that things like that
exist to give people a hand
to have sensational ideas and just help them
formulate that into operational businesses. It’s fantastic
it was the support structure that I really needed
early on. So it was really good that I could find it and
I could access it. Yeah.
And so do you have plans to return to Adelaide at some point?
was scheduled to return to Adelaide today
for a yes.
Today is going to be cancelled.
Yeah, so your flight got cancelled. OK,
so I decided to cancel the flight because I had to talk to you. I wish I could say that, but you
know their flight got cancelled and
they said our next unavailable is in January 20, 20 to that’s
expected some delays, but in the order of weeks,
months that really threw me off. That said is not the end of the world because as I said earlier I can work remotely. I’ve been doing it
for many months every year
because I’m a dual citizen of Italy and Australia. I go back and forth pretty much
yearly between Europe and Australia. So I’m used to that is not a
but at the same time, you know,
looking after the house God and
car, you know, that sort of stuff is it
But one day I had, I woke up at night thinking about
as my car stolen
Does the guy look like a jungle and that sort of stuff. But you know, I knew when I left Australia
in May that there will be trouble getting back in.
I just didn’t expect the delays to be should big
and this very much has to do with
the reduced spots in hotel quarantining that were
introduced since the Deltaoutbreak.
Yeah, hopefully that will go back to where it was very soon.
But as of right now, really
terrible time to try to
go back to Australia,
even if it is that the main reason that the limited hotel quarantine spots.
Yeah, that’s the that’s the bottleneck. Yeah.
It’s not the airlines you. Yeah. The airlines will be more than happy to take people back.
Is their business right.
Is the government that tells them today you can disembark only 20 people in Adelaide. So they need to fly an empty flight for the most part and leave.
Whoever else that
ticket with them, they have to leave them at home.
It must be really frustrating for our airline to deal with Australia right now.
Yeah, I think so. And
yeah tough times. Sorry to hear that.
Hopefully you’re not stranded too much. You’ve got somewhere to stay and
Yeah, yeah, I’ve got somewhere to stay. So as I said it’s not the end of
the world but I’m sure there’s lots of people out there way worse situation than myself.
Yeah. I couldn’t really complain too much. Now you’re not complaining Tullio.
At the top of the podcast, I did hint that there was a cool connection a really nice connection between yourself. The young achiever was and I guess
myself, I used to
manage the younger Awards in South Australia,
myself. And I love that that program very deeply and
I believe that person’s day with you and I first noticed this person and you
had a connection when I was looking at before we always look up just double check your bio and the photos we have a photos of all the people doing that now. Awards on file and things like that.
And, and does like hang on, that’s Dr. Catarina Richter
in a couple of the photos with you and I’m thinking and wonder how
Tullio knows that because she was a finalist in twenty, sixteen and seventeen, and the young achiever Awards. And
then she’s there with you now
with me now and we’ll get married next year.
Wow that’s really cool. So I was blown away when you told me that to start before we hit record. That’s really amazing. And congratulations to you both.
Have you got concrete plans or is it too hard just to plan for these things at the moment?
No, no we, we have plans.
I mean, we’re betting on borders being
the next European summer. So
next Australian winter.
And we will get married in Germany and also have a party in Italy.
Of course capturing is German and Italian. Yes.
So we’ll try to,
to do it
in both places then then later, probably also a
little party in Australia,but
I have too much to plan right now
and we’re just focusing on the German and Italian word for that.
Well I think that sounds like the best wedding of all time. A party in three different countries.
And yeah, we we love to party organization.
That’s fantastic. Not very happy for you too. It was really cool to hear that connection. And just Katerina,
you’ve got two scientists together. Does she get involved and make your science at all? Or is that just completely separate?
funnily enough, the first
time I met Katerina was the very
nerdy book launch.
And in our first conversation
struck her how switched on with Time’s communication really struck me.
And initially I thought
I need to get this woman involved in my team.
You know, initially she was
waiting to hear back from a funding opportunity she was
And she was a bit unsure about her future, so she considered it, we talked about it, but then eventually she got funding for research. So she,
she stayed in academia.
things took a different turn and
we started dating. And here’s where we are today.
What a funny story you trying to recruit?
Yeah, I ended up dating that.
Yeah the problem is that I was trying to recruit with the very force that I found the victim. I couldn’t offer much.
It wasn’t impressed.
She was very impressed.
She apparently got impressed by something else in me other than you know, the potential job.
Yeah. And so here’s where we are.
And yeah, she’s very much involved in any major science. I call her my brand ambassador.
she actually goes around with my business cards.
Yes she would. Well, I know for a fact that she’s very passionate about science communication as well. And for those who aren’t
familiar with the Adelaide science scene and
doctor Academy director I believe you can correct me if I’m wrong. She organized many of the
events in Adelaide about communicating science and I think it was like science at the pub. If I’m remembering correctly and it was a point of science. Thank you.
She still think last year she was the coordinator for South Australia and she,
she did that for many Years.
Yeah. She actually invited me to give a presentation there
that two Years ago.
Just over two Years ago,
and we had a lot of fun because
I did give a presentation about bioluminescence and
the science of bioluminescence in theOcean.
And she knew
a microbiologist who had bioluminescent bacteria
in the lab.
So we brought into the room flasks containing bioluminescent bacteria
living ones. We switched off the light we put these things in people’s hands and we told them,
OK, well the flask
and the whole thing lit up. Really.
If people were mind blowing it was the best.
I’ve ever had in any presentation, it was so much
fun. People were blown away. Absolutely
not even really cool.
It was the coolest and it’s one of my favorite topics. And one of the reasons why I became a Marine biologist is because I was, I fell in love with the phenomenon of bioluminescence
which I witnessed
when I was 15 and I was learning how to scuba dive.
I saw bioluminescence while scuba diving back then, and it was like, wow, this is the most incredible thing, is like swimming in like
being in the middle of the Milky way
with the ability of playing with the stars.
So you were able to touch it and just to me,
Yeah I mean it’s, it’s tiny plankton you can’t even see by the naked eye.
But when you agitate the water, it glows. Yeah.
So it’s a bit like
microscopic fireflies swimming around.
You don’t normally see them when you agitate the water, they lit up, and that’s when you see them as
honestly one of the most magical things nature canoffer.
And so it’s always been a big fascination for me. I was very
happy to give a presentation about it in
doing the science festival,to
my knowledge of bioluminescence, essentially extends to the movie moana.
When she uses it to distract the, the giant crab. So
That’s OK, but I think my first time seeing it was the movie the beach with the
there’s a scene
where the narrator DiCaprio and
other kind of the female character the kiss on the water.
And there’s all these lights glowing around them and that’s bioluminescence.
are you into scuba diving and snorkeling and that kind of thing?
Oh, very much so, but I’m a half fish
and where are the best places that you’ve been personally to to dive will
explore underwater. Oh,
there’s many for different reasons
Australia as amazing places. First of all was one of the
reasons why I love Australia is that the Ocean is stunning. Not only the Great Barrier Reef which was
my first ever tropical
coral Reef to
experience which was a life changing experience. When I was there probably 12,14
12 13 Years ago.
I always like to see it before it starts to get badly damaged
by hurricanes. For fish and
coral bleaching and so on.
So I saw it when it was absolutely stunning. It was amazing
Amazing, amazing, amazing.
But also the Salvin Reef which gets way more
You know the Great thousand Reef which goes from
all the way to New South Wales.
It is amazing the
work when I’m in Adelaide,
there’s so many different places where to do
scuba diving and
It might not be as colourful as a coral Reef, but
it is nonetheless very very beautiful.
And once you learn to appreciate it and
understand the differences between a temperate
climate and a tropical climate,
the places that stand out in my
experience. Well, the West Coast of Mexico, because I found myself
nine whale sharks. Well,
you know whale shark is like the size of a bus. Imagine
nine of them because there was a plankton blooms of the world feeding
feasting on this planet. And
there were nine of them in the same spot and we just jumped in the water at some point. I had one on my left one on my right
and I thought
I can get sandwiched between science. But the reality is that they’re very
gentle creatures. So the sharks and all fish, they have a perception of what’s around them.
They don’t need to see yet what’s behind them. They feel
they can have special
cells on their skin that measure pressure in the water. And so they can feel if there is something next to them
so that they don’t hit that thing.
And so it was actually quite amazing to see how even being
just a metre distant from this massive thing
they never touched me know,
even by accident
they are really
highlight probably was the Maldives in the Indian Ocean
a lot, lots of sharks that I remember very
thrilling night dive
with sharks out hunting in the Reef
and there was so much action and it was
very, very exciting.
Now you say thrilling, that sounds absolutely terrifying to me but
get to learn sharks you understand that they’re not all the same
hundreds and hundreds of species of sharks in the world and only a handful
that are dangerous to youmans.
For example when you’re on the
Great Barrier Reef for the most part, you see
why tip sharks and Reef sharks and those are harmless, really, they never bothered divers. And so that’s also what was there in the Maldives. So I knew that I didn’t have to fear with sharks. Just mind their own business.
In South Australia is a bit different.
When I’m out
diving or snorkeling, sometimes I get the thought of
meeting a white pointer. And it, it, it sends a shiver down my back.
But then I
tell myself, what are the chances so slim? So
keep going, keep swimming.
Not. You’ve got to enjoy yourself.
Yeah and I love my Passion to the Ocean is bigger than my fear for sharks. Yeah,
that’s a good way to put it
though, so I still do it.
And you know, I understand
these animals, even though my point is not that they’re not in many cases that
they have a really bad rap.
You eat most of the time, even when there’s an encounter between a man
and one of these sharks.
The just passes by ignores the person
and that’s it. Nothing happens.
They have to be Super unlucky for the shark the mistake you for food. So usually what happens is the shark will have a test bite
to understand what this thing is and usually then the shark leaves.
But the problem is that this test by bias is often
chop your leg off. It’s
a pretty hectic,
that’s fine. Yeah. So if,
if you pay attention,
there are no instances of sharks eating humans
that just bites and then leave.
But is often the bite is dangerous enough to then cause problems.
So they’re not man eaters in any way.
So this is why we need science communicators.
Speaking of science, communication, the importance of it and
you know, it kind of us question the right way, but I’ll ask it and you can. So you make it more eloquent, but does it kind of drive you a little bit bonkers if that better phrase than that when people are spreading information on social media or even at the
pub wherever it is that climate
conspiracy theories and that kind of stuff and
when you think the information’s out there just needs to be communicated better to the general punter.
Yeah. So he opened a massive can of worms.
So yes, it drives me crazy when I meet. For example,
climate change deniers that
tries to convince me that it’s all a hoax,
and we’re not the cause of climate change, blah blah blah. It drives me crazy but
I also understand that
Even if the instinct will
be all we need to show them
the real the science based information and throw facts of them
as a communicator. I also know that that doesn’t work. Yeah.
When you have somebody entrenched in a position,
antifascist which is you know,
during the current day
When somebody is entrenched in that position. If you throw at them
graphs and evidence and scientific paper it just bounces back.
It doesn’t stick. So
a much more personalized and complicated approach is needed.
So you need to, for example, the first step is to actually listen to this person and understand
what thought processes brought them where
So what is the thing that made them
Not trust science?
What is it, was it a Facebook post or was it? Was it something that happened to their friend or, you
know, there’s always a story behind it or why people lost trust in the institutions and science.
And then from there was understand how they got there and understand what they value. And then you need to work on their values and trying to bring them back
through that. So an example, let’s say you have a,
a right wing
climate change Denier saying dealing with climate change is expensive.
It’s not worth it.
What do these people value, maybe the value of free market
that lets you know
the thing for them. Everything has to be free market. The
regulations are evil,
all men they be, that’s the
starting point for the conversation and maybe the about, you know, but if we do this now it will cost X.
And we were still trying to actually avoid the worst of climate change.
While if we
wait and do nothing
in 20 Years it will cost 10 times as much.
understand free market by the same time free market
sometimes needs a
little nudge and some checks and
balances in place
you know, to do the right thing.
So yeah, it’s a,
situations like climate change deniers or
whatever is complicated it can be done but is not as easy as we would like it to be. Let’s just throw more facts. Yeah.
It actually is not. That is
not a good point. And it kind of reminds of what you said earlier about content marketing and your business. You can’t, you’re
putting out lots of different content, I imagine not just the one content for the one type of target audience. Just as you said it’s complicated to
communicate with people when you need to get to their level what are their problems? What are their
pain points? And it sounds like
you’re very rational guy. You
friend, your business and the way you communicate with people in the same way, which is the awesome
So Tullio, what’s, what’s next for you? I know you’re going to get married next year which is very cool. And that’s about one thing heading back to Adelaide and then back overseas to get married. But what’s next? Maybe animate your science
and you professionally.
up until now for the most part, any major science
as being a service provider. So
let’s say a researcher Comes to us
and done this research.
And they hire us to
create an animation that explains that research in two minutes.
That’s been most of our business
until now, but I also realize that
there’s also a need
of teaching skills
because you know, we want to help all researchers not just professors. We also want to help the graduate students,
graduate students more
cash poor and time rich. So it makes more sense that
we teach them the skills that they have for the rest of their career rather than we do it for them. So
for Years have been teaching science communication here and there a few workshops,
but it was more on the side.
Now I want to scale that part of a
business up and we started doing that doing korona
way, where I actually
finally got the side of myself to
sit down and record my first ever online course.
So there’s not a
live presentations of pre-recorded,
and my first one
teaches researchers how to make scientific posters.
The thing with scientific poll is that every researcher
needs to do them at some point in their career. Usually during the day. Nobody teaches them how to do them. And the result is that
for the most part they look absolutely terrible
because they are like,
they come across as walls of text. Yeah,
I’ve seen some of
the Awards nominations over the Years, so I know what you’re talking about.
for the most part, they’re really bad. And so one of my
personal battles in this life is to improve
the way scientific posters are made here.
Because they’re really as they are right now, they don’t work, they put people off, rather than starting a conversation. The real
purpose of a scientific poster is to start conversations and networking tool. When you think about conferences, poster sessions are a place of exchange of information of meeting new people of networking. If you have a wall of text people, one
is like, oh, that’s
way too much
right now. I just want to relax and drink a glass of wine at the end of the day. I’ve been listening to boring presentations all day.
I don’t want to do more work. So
we need to rethink posters
in a way
that they don’t put people off. They actually attract people
and start those conversations so that, that’s one of the things I teach. And I start, I,
you know, from a live workshop. I turned it into this online course, which is now starting to
And just recently, I got into an agreement with
the University of Adelaide where they offered these calls to all graduate students. Wow. At the moment we’ve got about 70 plus
new students from Adelaide Uni and that they’re going through the course and
feedback and is coming back really, really positive. But ideally I want to offer this to more university.
It can be a global thing because the
big advantage of science that it’s all in English,
English is the language of science so
almost no language barriers.
So I know I never knew that. So conferences in various countries, they have their conferences largely in English today.
Yes, yes, the only
exception to that rule is China and Russia. They tend to have their own
science ecosystems systems in their respective languages. Everything else? Well,
I never knew that that’s amazing.
Yeah, so that’s a big advantage for, for, for
business like us, because we can work with
without having a team that speaks in Spanish and German and so on. Yeah. So
can speak English
and can write in English. Yeah, it is pretty much a requirement
if you want to be a scientist,
get some very exciting things on the horizon there with personally and professionally and yeah, it’s really, it’s been
so eye-opening this chat just to learn more about it.
And I hope a lot of our listeners have learned some things about it as well. Is there one question I like saving for last is the inspiration of australian’s podcasts.
I think what you’re doing
for your business is quite inspirational.
But what is it that inspires you Tullio
inspires me. Well.
What I find the most
inspiring and rewarding is really empowering researchers
to have an impact
to realize the full potential impact. Because the same way I fell doing my dfl,
the full potential impact of my research was
trapped on a leash.
What I want to do is to unleash that impact by teaching them the skills they need to have or doing it for them. In case of videos and graphics,
but it’s about unleashing that impact so that that research
can really flourish and
change the world.
That’s fantastic. Well,
training young researchers out there,
make sure you put a nomination to the young achiever Awards and do tullius course. And you’ll be setting
Thank you for the plug, Josh,
totally, if people want to. And if they want to
connect with you and animate your science where would you direct them to go?
Yeah so they can just go and Google search for any make your science.
We come up with number one.
Otherwise our EURail is
einem, your dot science there’s no dot com. Yeah, we go to the dot dot science domain and email your dot science is our
website and there you can find everything
from the courses to the services to the blog which is
100 percent for free.
Awesome. So everything on our
blog is free and
it’s not, you know,
quick blog, the Deep, they go Deep and they teach skills.
So I got several people
saying oh only by reading your blogs on poster design I was able to change the way I do post.
And I won a prize. Thank you so much.
That happened multiple times.
Even if you just consume our blog for free, I’ll
be happy. Yeah.
I feel like I’m really backing off
backing up your words of wanting to change
posters and help people communicate by putting out that free content. That’s really cool. Tullio, thanks for your time this morning. Appreciate you taking some time out of your day
and I hope you get the time for some more espressos. Now. At
a later time, I try to limit myself to a they,
they’re pretty strong. All right, so
you know, I found if I had
three or four but they was not so good.
So I scaled back to two, one in the morning, one after lunch, and that’s,
that’s my struggle optimal.
That’s my struggle. I’m working from home.
So I’m home all day
every day and the lockdown is nowhere to go.
And I just love making coffee. Like actually
making it I love as much as the, the taste. So as of recently making my fourth copy of the day going, I don’t actually want this copy.
I’ve made it
probably all the struggle,
but it’s the
caffeine depending on the person can be really powerful. And I realize that the more coffee I had, the more tired I ended up being
and it was like a spiral
downward. So that the time periods where I was drinking for coffee is a
day where the periods where I was the most power to the point where people were looking at me and telling me to you look tired.
Now that I have two coffees a day,
I feel so much better.
So you live in
cutting down on coffee can be good also for your productivity and overall. I
last approach it from Tullio for the, for the day.
Well, it said by Italian and Italian and usually you know, we drink a lot of coffee, you
know, I’m talking about Yeah, well thanks again to you. I really appreciate it say hi to Katerina for me as well. And we’ll have to reach out to her and if you’re going to be stranded for lack of a better word for a little while, then maybe we’ll reach out and get Katerina on the
podcast as well.
Absolutely. I let her know. Thank you so much. Joshua was
really fun to be on this chat with you.
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