Celebrating Science and Year of the Young Person with Andronikos Kafas

February 22, 2018 by No Comments | Category Marine Directorate Science, Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths_STEM, Year of the Young Person

As mentioned last month, 2018 is both the Year of the Engineer and the Year of the Young Person. This month’s blog is about one of our many colleagues who are inspiring the next generation with their Outreach work.

This is Andronikos, one of our marine renewable energy scientists. To see what he does, in this universe, please read on…

Who are you and what do you do?
I am Andronikos Kafas, a Greek national who joined Marine Scotland Science in 2012 as a Research Scientist in Offshore Renewable Energy based in Aberdeen. My role is to provide scientific advice to the Licensing Operations Team by assessing Environmental Impact Assessment documentation submitted in support of applications for offshore renewable energy developments. I also provide specialist advice to Marine Planning and Policy Division on interactions between the marine environment and the marine renewable energy industries.

Why is what you do important?
There are a number of domestic, European and international commitments to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Part of the solution includes the increased energy generation from renewable sources. My work contributes directly to this and from a local point of view, contributes towards Scottish Government’s aspiration for 100% electricity production from renewable sources by 2020.

What’s your career path been – how did you get here?
I hold a BSc (Hons) in Marine Science from the University of Aegean in Greece. I have graduated with a MSc in Applied Marine Ecology from the University of Aberdeen and I am currently undertaking a part-time PhD in Marine Renewable Energy and Marine Spatial Planning with the same university. Aberdeen University’s postgraduate programme originally attracted me to the North East of Scotland. A postgraduate placement with Marine Scotland during my degree intrigued me to apply for the role I currently have.

If you weren’t doing this, what do you think you’d be doing instead?
During my undergraduate degree, I was working as a part-time freelance graphic designer. During my conscription, besides military training, I served for the last couple of months as a musician (playing the Greek musical instrument Bouzouki). I believe somewhere in a parallel universe, I am following a career as a graphic designer or a professional musician.

What’s your favourite fishy fact?
As part of my research I study commercial scallop fisheries. Did you know that scallops are unique among bivalves in their ability to ‘swim’? Scallops are free-living active swimmers who can propel themselves through the water through the use of the adductor muscles to open and close their shells. Swimming occurs by the clapping of valves for water intake. They use this primarily as an escape mechanism to escape predation and for habitat selection. It is unlikely that swimming is used for efficient long-distance movement.

Can you tell me one fun fact about yourself?
I quite like coffee! As a diligent coffee enthusiast, I often experiment with out-of-the-ordinary flavoured coffee. This month, my selected coffee varieties include “crème brulee”, “Oreo cookies & cream”, and “French-cream donut” (is that even a real thing?!)

What made you decide to be involved in Outreach?
A genuine interest to engage and offer back to younger fellas, the opportunity to simplify my research to the general public, and the wonderful satisfaction one can get by wowing a crowd with his knowledge.

What do you enjoy most about doing Outreach?
Thinking back to my school time, I realised that I loved (and hated) certain subjects based on how much I liked (or disliked) the teacher. Hoping that the outreach activities I have engaged were fun and informative, I hope I made a difference to a small group of people who might chose to follow the domain of marine sciences in the future.

Would you encourage others to get involved in Outreach too?
If you are having a stressful period at work or you are feeling you’ve lost some of the enthusiasm you had in the past, I would certainly encourage you to consider getting involved in Outreach activities. There is nothing better than a cheerful, curious, information-hungry crowd of young people waiting for you to wow them!

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