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Siromi Samarasinghe
Works at University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Attended University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
Lived in Sri Lanka
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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A visit to Lunuganga, a place of peace, tranquility, and natural beauty

Lunuganga is the creation of renowned Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa.

Situated on the banks of the Dedduwa Lake, in Bentota, Sri Lanka, the property had been planted originally with cinnamon and then replaced with rubber over the years, before it was transformed  to the magical gardens of Lunuganga ("Salt river") by Geoffrey Bawa.

Harmonising with nature, he changed the land to the peaceful retreat it is today, where one can sit for hours amidst the giant trees and the beautiful ponds or walk in the parkland by the paddy fields appreciating the beauty of his creation.
http://goo.gl/BAsW9c

(Geoffry was the brother of Bevis Bawa, who created 'Brief', a similar refuge of lush greenery and natural beauty not far from Lunuganga.
http://goo.gl/kWYgBc)
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+Siromi Samarasinghe  that sounds like my kind of place...  Thank you for sharing the wonderful photos.
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Encouraging Women Working in the Energy Sector

Julie Rankin-Perez is the site and installation team leader for Senvion, an international manufacturer of onshore and offshore wind turbines. She shares her experience and advice, to encourage  women in the energy sector, which is still male dominated.

"It is vital that we encourage women to stay in the sector and move up into more senior positions. After all, it’s hard for young women and girls interested in engineering to imagine their own professional future without role models who look and sound more like them".

"Highlighting case studies and “ambassadors” for the industry could also help to provide role models for women. Challenging the reinforcement of traditional gender stereotypes within science, technology, engineering and maths subjects at school and university level would also be beneficial".
+STEM Women on G+ 
Working in a male-dominated sectoris still a challenge, but industry ambassadors are steadily attracting more women
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Magic Mushrooms
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Tea pot, Steampunk style!
 
Love it:
Steampunk style teapot by Michael Grafton
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Pimpin!
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Autumn Glory in Glasgow

Fiery orange, yellows and reds were the crowning glory of trees that adorned the streets and parks in Glasgow. Coming from a tropical country, I was fascinated by this awesome display of colours during my recent visit to Glasgow.
 
The leaves of many plants in the northern hemisphere change colour in autumn, fall off in the winter, and grow back again in the spring. This adaptation helps trees in the forest survive winter.

Unlike yellow and orange autumn leaves where chlorophyll breakdown unmasks the already present carotenoid pigments, most red leaves result from de novo synthesis of anthocyanins. The role of anthocyanins in senescing leaves are discussed in detail here:
http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/127/2/566.full.pdf+html
 

Anthocyanins are a group of plant pigments responsible for the attractive colours of many fruits, flowers and leaves. The red colour of strawberries, bluish purple shades of berries are just two examples. They are water-soluble phenolic compounds  with a flavan C6-C3-C6 skeleton,  produced in the cytoplasm and then transported into the vacuole
 
Anthocyanins are also known to act as a “sunscreen” in photosynthetic tissue, by absorbing blue green and UV light, thereby protecting cells from high light damage during the cold months.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthocyanin
 
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Colourful photos and a good description of the seasonal changes in plant leaves.  
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Siromi Samarasinghe

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Amazing how the brain functions!
 
Stroke at 33

This is an amazing essay about what it was like to have a stroke at 33. It also gives a fascinating glimpse into how the brain functions, and can adapt as a response to injury. This is a must read.

"Each time I thought about whether I needed to make a left turn or right or stop or go, I felt lost. I had no idea. And so I pressed on without thinking, while relying on intuition. Each time I stopped, recognized landmarks — a tree or a house or a store. I knew I was getting closer to home, but I did not know how to continue. Intuition carried me when logic and memory failed"

I made it home.

And then I thought, I need to get to a hospital.

I picked up the phone and then I asked myself, What is the phone number for 911?

I looked at the numeric keypad, and I could not figure out what number each shape represented. And what is the number for 911?

Read the full article at http://www.buzzfeed.com/xtinehlee/i-had-a-stroke-at-33
On New Year's Eve 2007, a clot blocked one half of my brain from the other. My reality would never be the same again.
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Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Mary Sherman Morgan, Alice Ball and Rachel Lloyd  - three chemists who have contributed  much to chemistry, but whose amazing accomplishments remained unknown to the public. One was a US rocket scientist while another discovered a better treatment for leprosy . The third is believed to be the first American female to get a PhD.
 
Unsung Heroines of Chemistry
Beautifully animated video by +Reactions showing American STEM women whose contributions are largely unknown by the public. Rocket scientist Mary Sherman Morgan "single-handedly saved the American Space Program - and nobody knows it but a handful of old men." Chemist Alice Ball is responsible for the enhanced treatment of leprosy. African-American chemist Rachel Lloyd was the first woman to publish in a chemistry journal; she was the first American woman to receive a PhD in this field and the second in the world; and she was the first woman professor in a co-ed institution. 

Hosted by analytical chemist Dr Raychelle Burks!

HT +Josh Witten 
#stemwomen   #chemistry   #astronomy   #woc  
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+Thex Dar
Most likely! 
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Glasgow Botanic Gardens
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Thank you +Rekla Wickramanayake​! 
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Brief, the lush green gardens in Southern Sri Lanka

All shades of green, a variety of plant species, ponds, unusual sculptures  and stone seats tucked away in hidden mini gardens.... This was the refuge,  the creation of Bevis Bawa, a Sri Lankan who lived in the Colonial era when Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon. His home and the beautifully laid out gardens tell the story of his lifestyle.
http://goo.gl/mC7f0J
http://goo.gl/b5R1ZF
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I love my sirilanka
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Autumn Berry bonanza

Today I share with you photos of the red, orange and purple berries that decorate many hedges and field margins in the UK. Some add vivid colours to the evergreens in gardens and parks.

Wild berries are such beauties, but watch out, most are poisonous! Unlike the edible strawberries, and raspberries, the small round ones are difficult to identify.

 Plants cannot run away from predators, so their defences are thorns, spines, and chemicals which are irritants, bitter compounds or poisons. The chemicals, alkaloids in particular are toxic. However, most of the chemicals have valuable medicinal properties.

Some fruits in these photos are not scientifically classified as  ‘berries’.

European yew Taxus baccata
The fruit of the yew tree is an ‘aril’, Yew is classified as a conifer and its seed cones are modified so that each cone contains a single seed partly surrounded by a bright red fleshy berry-like structure which is the aril. The seeds are dispersed when  the arils are eaten by birds. However, the black seeds inside them should not be eaten as they contain poisonous alkaloids.

Yew trees contain the highly poisonous taxane alkaloids that have been developed as anti-cancer drugs.The precursors of the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (taxol) is obtained from the extracts of the leaves of the European yew. It is a more renewable source than the bark of the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia). http://goo.gl/w9Gj9L
These drugs are now chemically synthezed.

Holly Ilex aquifolium
Associated with Christmas, the small red ‘berries’ of the common Holly are technically ‘drupes’. Its spiny leaves deter grazing animals and protect birds from predators as they feed on its bright red berries.

Fruits of the holly are generally considered to be poisonous to humans. They contain the bitter compound  ‘ilicin’ which is toxic. http://goo.gl/TjA2To

 
Rosehip
Rose hips are particularly high in vitamin C content, one of the richest plant sources available.
They are used as herbal teas, in jams and jellies,  and made into wines. They can also be eaten raw, like a berry, if care is used to avoid the hairs inside the fruit. http://goo.gl/RXv1C2
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wooooow... very tasty by their appearance...!
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Plants are so smart!
 
"Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from sun damage. Now scientists report on the mechanics of how these natural plant sunscreens work".
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Day Five of 5 day quest
Princess Street Gardens in Edinburgh.
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Thanks +Chris Lloyd! Five day quest is where you share a photo and a short narrative about your daily life for five days, tagging someone new to participate, if they so wish to take up the challenge. I enjoyed sharing my experiences during my short visit to the UK. 
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Work
Occupation
University lecturer
Employment
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura
    Associate Professor in Chemistry, present
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Previously
Sri Lanka - Leeds, UK
Story
Introduction
I'm a Chemistry lecturer  with a passion for science.  I teach food chemistry and courses related to phytochemistry at a leading university in Sri Lanka.  My research interests are in tea chemistry and medicinal plants. I am also interested in photography and  archaeology.
My posts are mostly on science, I contribute to Science Sunday regularly.
I also post about Archaeological sites I have visited in Sri Lanka.
I love nature and have spent most vacations visiting the wildlife parks in Sri Lanka.
Here are some links to my posts:

Nanotechnology:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/cXBzAeEmrZ3
Mathematics:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/aXvYWc4cqT5
Archeology:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/108612046527316778941/posts/XfyEdLaYnkA



I blog at
http://thearubigin.blogspot.com/
Bragging rights
Survived the University system for 40 years.
Education
  • University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
    B.Sc., 1969 - 1973
  • University of Leeds, UK
    PhD, 1978 - 1980
  • Chemistry of Tea Flavanoids
Basic Information
Gender
Female