Contact Ruben

Green Globes 2014 SCREEN RES

For media enquiries or to book Ruben to speak at a conference or event, please contact Claxton Speakers International.

To book Ruben for a school visit in Australia, please contact Young Australia Workshop.

Claxton Speakers International:

Telephone: +61 2 9909 0033

Fax: +61 2 9909 0633

Email: info@claxtonspeakers.com

Click here for Ruben’s bio and more info

Young Australia Workshop

1800 227 095 (Regional)

02 8021 5312 (Sydney Metro)

Click here for more info on The Surfing Scientist Show

Click here for more on Ruben’s Climate Change presentation

15 thoughts on “Contact Ruben

  1. Pingback: ASET NSW “LABBIES” Conference 2013 | ruben meerman

  2. Our daughter is 8 and since you spoke at her school last year she is crazy about science. We have been unable to purchase any of your books for her for Christmas. Have you any ideas where they can be purchased??

    • Dear Ann, my sincere apologies for the delayed reply! My children’s science books have been out of print for a while now but there are a few online stores that still have some in stock. The good news is, most of the experiments in those books are all online at the URL below, and you can also watch all of The Experimentals episodes online, packed with ideas for girls and boys. Give my regards to your science-obsessed daughter… it’s music to my ears to hear she’s got the bug! abc.net.au/science/surfingscientist

  3. You are pushing a myth of your own to my detriment. You say everyone can lose weight. I have lypoedema It means you can’t lose weight. Dieting doesn’t work and nor does lap band surgery
    Other features include pulmonary embolism after general anaesthetic. This happened to me. Look it up on the internet. When you say everyone can lose weight it makes people think I am not trying, people can be abusive. You need to be more informed. Try looking up another seperate condition call lymphodaema

    Sophi

    • Dear Sophi, I have sent an email to the gmail address you provided but I’m not sure if that got through okay. If not, I would love to send it to the correct address. Regards, Ruben

  4. About half way through ‘Big Fat Myths’ and got to the bit about BMI…
    Some years ago I plotted calculated BMI information for various percentile US armed forces data (from one of the Mil-handbooks). You would assume that armed forces personnel would be ‘reasonably fit’
    I was surprised to see that while there was a band on the graph for normal BMI, the scatter of data points I had did not coincide with the BMI band. It crossed from memory around the 72kg mark but if you you were shorter than the appropriate height you needed to be heavier and if taller you needed to be lighter to fit BMI requirements. For a 1.83m male (me), the data suggested around 90kg was average – but that is 6kg more than BMI would suggest.
    I discussed this finding with a doctor at one stage and his justification was ‘it’s the best we have’
    Thoughts?
    Michael

    • Dear Michael,
      Thank you for the note and for contemplating this so deeply. The problem was that you were looking at a very specific and very physically active sub-population, as opposed to the “general population”. BMI is not meant to be used like that. It’s simply a way to gauge the obesity rates of a very large population. Statistical outliers don’t matter so much when the group is very large. If you only sample competitors at a bodybuilding competition, or a clinic that treats people suffering from anorexia nervosa, then BMI becomes a useless metric. Hope that makes sense?

      • The data was not for a bunch of group of body builders – it was large, broad and included men and women, army, navy and air force. It also dates back many years with some data from before the current ‘obesity epidemic’.
        I think you may have the wrong of the pineapple here. I’ve taken a set of data and about the only major assumption I’ve made is that the group is not obese simply because the armed forces does not generally allow that. It does not fit the BMI model. Rather than saying the data does not fit the model so the data is incorrect, surely the correct scientific approach is to say that the model is incorrect because it does not fit the data. Perhaps get DOD-HDBK-743A and process the data yourself.
        It is worth remembering that the BMI model is only a construct to help categorise populations of populations. To suggest that it is a hard rule is misleading. While I support the idea that body builders for example do not fit the model for obvious reasons, I would suggest that it is equally harmful to promote a model as fitting everyone else when (by my analysis) it has flaws in it.
        Perhaps there is a paper in this too…
        Michael

  5. Dear Ruben,

    I just watched your TED talk about where fat goes. I don’t fully understand the scientific equation but I’m wondering if LaCroix sparkling water makes you fat since it’s just carbon dioxide and water. I believe you were saying fat is made up of part carbon dioxide and part water.

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    Thank you,

    Jessica

    • Dear Jessica,

      The short answer is, no, the CO₂ in carbonated water cannot make you fat so you can drink it to your heart’s content. Those CO₂ molecules will either come back out as a burp or diffuse into your bloodstream for you to exhale. This is actually a very frequently asked question so I’ll give you the long answer, too. I realise you already know most of the following facts… I’m just helping you connect the dots.

      Plants make fat by rearranging the atoms in carbon dioxide and water in a process that starts with photosynthesis. For example, olive trees turn CO₂ and H₂O into olive oil and sunflowers turn the same stuff into sunflower oil. Here’s how they do it, and why you and I can’t:

      STEP 1: is to “suck” water (H₂O) out of the soil and up to the leaves
      STEP 2: is to pluck the hydrogen atoms off those water molecules i.e. to literally remove the two “H” atoms from H₂O. Plants use an enzyme called chlorophyll and the energy in sunlight to do this. Humans, animals and fungi do not possess enzymes that can do this chemical trick. The oxygen atoms are a waste product and are released into the atmosphere from the stomata under the leaves as O₂ gas.
      STEP 3: is to “suck” carbon dioxide gas out of the air and stick the hydrogen atoms from STEP 2 to those CO₂ molecules. It takes numerous steps and six CO₂ molecules plus six H₂O molecules to make one glucose molecule, which has the chemical formula C₆H₁₂O₆. Six oxygen (O₂) molecules are released as the “waste product” of this process.
      STEP 4: is to convert the glucose molecules to fatty acids. For example, three glucose molecules can be rearranged to make one stearic acid molecule, one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in nature, which has the chemical formula C₁₈H₃₆O₂. Olive oil is 2-3% stearic acid and around 66% oleic acid, which has the chemical formula C₁₈H₃₄O₂… which is just stearic acid minus two hydrogen atoms.

      The energy in the olive oil you eat is released when you convert it back to CO₂ and H₂O… that energy was once sunlight, which was used to rip hydrogen from water, which was “stored” by sticking the hydrogen to carbon atoms. I think all of this biochemistry is the closest thing to real, actual, magic I have ever learned.

      Kind regards,

      Ruben

  6. Reuben, I came across your reply to Jessica recently. Thanks for the explanation about photosynthesis and fat metabolism. Out of curiosity, do all fats fit the formula of CxHyOz? Animal fats as well? Am I understanding correctly that the energy we use from fat metabolism is released by breaking the molecular bonds in the fat molecules? I need to find your TED talk and have bookmarked your page so I can peruse it in the future. Thanks. Ken

    • Dear Ken,
      Yes, all fatty acids have the same general formula, CnH₂nO₂ (biochemists tend to use “n” for the number of carbon atoms).
      Palmitic acid is C₁₆H₃₂O₂
      Stearic acid is C₁₈H₃₆O₂
      All mono-unsaturated fatty acids have the formula CnH(2n – 2)O₂. Mono-unsaturated fatty acids have precisely “2n minus 2” hydrogen atoms, which is two less than a saturated fatty acid with the same number (n) of carbon atoms. Sticking three fatty acids to one glycerine molecule makes a triglyceride, which is a neutral fat (ie not acidic), and this is how animals and humans store their fats.
      You are also correct about breaking the bonds in fat molecules but that is STEP 1, which actually requires energy. All chemical reactions start with the breaking of existing bonds, which takes energy. Energy is released when the new bonds form. Sometimes more energy is released than it took to break the bonds (exothermic reactions) and sometimes less is released (endothermic). Breaking the C-H bonds in food takes energy, but much more energy is released in STEP 2, i.e. making all the new C-O bonds to form CO₂, and H-O bonds to make H₂O. In a fire, these reactions are fairly easy to imagine but in living things, they are mediated by many enzymes in a complicated chain of reactions… the two major biochemical pathways involved are called the Krebs cycle (aka citric acid cycle, or tricarboxylic acid cycle) and the Electron Transport Chain.
      My TEDx talk didn’t cover these but you can find that talk here: https://youtu.be/vuIlsN32WaE
      Regards, Ruben

  7. Dear Ruben,

    I recently watched your amazing TED talk. Since I have been researching the debate of vaping (E- cig). I would very much appreciate any pertinent information you can share with us. I’m interested to hear from you any health concerns by inhaling the aerosol of vaping liquid, which usually contains Propylene glycol and Glycerol (excluding nicotine) or if the liquid remains in the lungs.

    Thank you in advance.

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