The 12 Days of Christmas at AgResearch

The 12 Days of Christmas at AgResearch

AgResearch’s singing scientist Dr Matthew Barnett has followed his success with the “Epigenome Song”, and the "I Love Fibre" song, with a version of “The 12 Days of Christmas”.

Matt is a Senior Research Scientist in AgResearch’s Agri-Foods & Health Section, based in The Liggins Institute, at the University of Auckland, and believes that the serious image of scientists can be lightened up to make science more accessible.

“This is a bit of fun for Christmas, but really communicating who we are and what we do as scientists is a valuable way of building support for science and our work,” said Dr Barnett.

Having been asked to compose a version of The 12 Days of Christmas for AgResearch’s newsletter, Matt was pleased to put together another recording that promotes science. A member of two bands which feature more popular sounding numbers, and having released two EPs and a CD, Matt is torn between his enthusiasm for music and science.

“It’s good to bring these interests together, although I’m not sure the judges of the 2009 MacDiarmid Young Scientist of the Year knew what to make of The Epigenome Song when I sent it in with my application.” Matt’s specially composed track was the first ever accompanying piece of music for the MacDiarmid judges to assess. “I put it together, as part of the criteria was communication. Science has a mixed reception out there so explaining things in a more accessible way to me suggested music.”

The Epigenome Song appeared on New Zealand’s major television channels and has also had over 12,000 YouTube views. Both this song and the I Love Fibre song are being used in teaching around the world.

Matt hopes that Santa will bring him a recording contract or a new guitar for Christmas.

To hear Matt’s latest song – click the below link

The 12 Days of Christmas - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7cX8Rlm1kc


Dehorning the girls - warning graphic!

Listening to 'but they should have horns!" argument won't be happening ever again. Believe me I've seen dehorning done before. It's not nice and it's a messy business literally. The three girls lost their horns today. After putting up with busted fences and the very real risk of ending up with a horn in my ribcage because of a 'friendly' nudge made the decision. Off with their horns! I said. Our local veterinary practice was all too happy to oblige. It's against the law to go dehorning cattle over a certain age yourself. It has to be done by a vet. Fair enough too! One farmer some time back was prosecuted by MAF for dehorning cattle using hedge cutters would you believe. Madness. Cattle horns are full of nerves and are in effect a sinus cavity.

The girls are feeling very sorry for themselves right now. We'll be keeping a very close watch on their health over the next few weeks.I wouldn't recommend leaving horns on any cow. Get them taken off when they are calves before the buds become horns. It's kinder and more humane than having them removed with a big set of cutters. Our vet used a local anesthetic so the cows felt nothing. Lots of blood and they are not a pretty sight at all. The wounds have been sprayed with an antibiotic so hopefully we shouldn't have any issues.


Thinking in Black and White

Zebra Foal - Pen & Ink Drawing

In between every thing else I've had a bit of fun experimenting with my drawing pens. I love Zebras and they are great subjects for pen drawings. Sadly a lot of Zebra sub species are now critically endangered in Africa. I hope future generations will still be able to see these beautiful animals in the wild and not just in images or in a zoo setting.