Brandon Johnson: “This is how prospective students get a first impression of me and my work”.

Planetary Scientist. Impact Craters. Hydrocodes. But what is this?!

Learn more about Brandon Johnson’s research and interests in his mesmerizing personal website. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences at Brown University.

Why did you decide to start up your own website?
When I started thinking about looking for postdoc opportunities and other jobs, I realized having a web presence was important.

What do you gain from having a website? Who is it targeted to?
This is how prospective students get a first impression of me and my work. I think attracting talented students is the best thing to come from the website. I know from journalist comments that this is also where they get a first impression and decide whether to ask me to comment on some story.

The goal of the site is to give visitors a sense of the work I do. This could be anyone from prospective students, other scientists, journalists and the general public.

How did you choose the best platform for the website?
This website was developed by my brother who owns and operates Elegant Seagulls, a digital creative agency. I had a decent website I developed myself, but my brother challenged himself to make a creative mock website every month for a year. He decided to make my website as part of his personal challenge and built the site as a gift.

How did you design the main logo? What is it inspired by?
I gave my brother a bunch of nice relevant images and some text and he did all the rest. The branding and main logo was all him. The inspiration is a meteor coming through the atmosphere.

Could you give three pieces of advice to the scientists who want to create their own personal website?

  • Make a website today! I think a lot can be done with website templates like WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, etc. These are super easy to use and require no previous experience. Many universities will host websites for free. I made two websites before the one I currently have.
  • Ask your friends if they have a website or what went into building theirs. This is a good way to get a lot of practical information about design and hosting.
  • Take a look at some other scientist websites and take note of the things you like and the things you don’t. This is a good way to get started for those with no experience making websites.

About Jessica De Loma Olson

Doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) in the field of arsenic toxicity and human adaptation to toxic enviroments. Previously participated as a digital ambassador for Karolinska Institutet and writing for Medicor – a student-based magazine from the same university.
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