Emily Reacts

I'm a vegan narrowboat-dweller with a love of creative chemistry.
A friend once called me a 'fun, lovable chemistry nerd’ and I think that pretty much sums me up.
When I'm not busy writing, making videos or creating art, my idea of heaven involves travelling to new places and eating all of the vegan food I can find.

I used to play and coach a lot of roller derby, but now you can usually find me running alongside the nearest canal to keep fit. My roller skates are still at hand, however, for that smooth patch of tarmac I dream about skating on.

You're a science communicator?

I prefer the term 'science translator' as I don't just communicate science, I translate it from the world of complex science jargon, acronyms and academic language into easy-to-understand words, analogies and visuals.
Translating science doesn't just make up my day job though. I'll also work out the science behind anything I can in my everyday life – from why narrowboats 'fart', to how to make the best vegan mayonnaise or how many people I can fit on my boat before it sinks.
If fact-checking scientific claims related to veganism is my jam, then challenging the public’s perception of science and how it relates to society is my bread and (vegan) butter.
I like to talk about science on Twitter (@emilyreacts) and I tweeted everyday of my four-year PhD (you can find the tweets using #TweetmyPhD).

How did you get to where you are now?

I graduated with a first class medicinal chemistry degree at the University of Surrey in 2012. The following 16 months took me on a journey through the Royal Society of Chemistry on their graduate scheme, where I was fortunate enough to write for Chemistry World, promote diversity and secure them some strategic partners.
However, I became jealous of the incredible scientists that I was interviewing for articles and the ground-breaking science they were discovering. Wanting a piece of that pie, I was lured back to academia in 2014 to begin my PhD in natural products chemistry (specifically, looking at the commercialisation of Larix decidua extracts to organically treat grapevine downy mildew).
Three years later I combined my knowledge of translating complex science into simple language, with my ethics of ending animal suffering and found my ideal job working for Animal Free Research UK as their science communication officer.
Several hard-working months working part-time and writing up my thesis in every-other-moment later, I also finally submitted my thesis, passed my viva and became Dr Emily.

Is Emily Reacts your real name?

It used to be on the roller derby track, but my actual real name that you can find on my research papers and PhD thesis is Emily James. Emily Reacts encompasses my love for chemistry and how it can be applied to everyday life – chemistry reactions are everywhere!

How can I get in touch with you?

If you'd like to hire me for a freelance job, ask me a question or just say hello, you can email me or contact me over on LinkedIn or Twitter.