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Eternal Questions

My first tentative toe-dip into the Blogosphere turned out to be less scary than I imagined: No abusive messages or trolls, a little bit of enthusiasm via Twitter, email and the “Responses” section on the blog, and even an encouraging “Pingback” (thank you Hortense), which was certainly a new concept to me. Perhaps the most Continue reading

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In which I hire

A colleague I respect very highly once likened academic careers to a rocket launch: once you hit escape velocity, you’re safely in orbit. Problem is, achieving this state as a post-doc or untenured faculty is becoming increasingly difficult. Hundreds of eminently qualified people can apply for a prestigious fellowship, and the difference betw Continue reading

Posted in academia, careers, Recruitment, Research, The profession of science | Leave a comment

The Challenge of Taking Time Out

I have been marking exams. However much students may and do hate taking the exams themselves, marking is also a very stressful period for those of us who have to do it. We wish to do it with the utmost rigour, yet the sheer number of scripts piled up on the desk makes that a formidable challenge. This year, for reasons beyond my control and that ar Continue reading

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The Chinese Hoax that affects the globe

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Something wicked this way comes (R. Bradbury)

Our Dear Leader took to Twitter, his favorite media form, some years ago (and one would presume that it is his favorite because reading or writing more than 140 characters may be beyond his ability to concentrate), and said the following:

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Continue reading

Posted in climate change, hail, lightning, Nebraska, president, rain, science, severe weather, thunder, Trump, weather | Leave a comment

The Patronising Colleague

Patronising and mansplaining are both irredeemably etymologically male. I cannot think of female equivalents. That isn’t to say that women can never be patronising or indulge in mansplaining, but I suspect the frequency with which they go in for such activities is rather less than for men. For many women, being patronised is an ever present annoyan Continue reading

Posted in frustration, mansplaining, Science Culture, sponsorship, Women in science | Leave a comment

The Patronising Colleague

Patronising and mansplaining are both irredeemably etymologically male. I cannot think of female equivalents. That isn’t to say that women can never be patronising or indulge in mansplaining, but I suspect the frequency with which they go in for such activities is rather less than for men. For many women, being patronised is an ever present annoyan Continue reading

Posted in frustration, mansplaining, Science Culture, sponsorship, Women in science | Leave a comment

The Materials Scientist in 2030, Who is She?

Whenever I ask one of my Physics Department colleagues what it means to be a Physicist, while she might not be able to give me a straightforward answer, she usually has a very clear picture in her head of who she is professionally and why. Likewise, Chemists and Biologists, or Mechanical and Civil Engineers, rarely have issues with their sense of i Continue reading

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Get a Life

I should have known better. At the Hay Festival last week, as my last post alluded to, I mentioned the gendering of toys. This point was one of many I tried to put across during my talk on why the cultural stereotypes we impose essentially from birth on our children, boys and girls alike, is not likely to lead to the best outcomes for individuals o Continue reading

Posted in Communicating Science, Hay Festival, lego, Let Toys be Toys, Women in science | Leave a comment

Blog June

Apparently BlogJune is a thing. I’d not heard of it before – it’s a challenge to

blog every day in June – or as often as you can manage, or comment on someone else’s blog every day

The first part (‘every day’) really would be a challenge, but the qualification (‘or as often as you can’) sounds a Continue reading

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Even a blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut—or does he?!

The new Emperor, Dear Leader, or as he is known in this country, President of the United States of America, is on the verge of proving that even age-old sayings are no longer sacrosanct. Since inauguration in January, we have collectively witnessed an elected official to the highest office who has bungled everything that he has touched. He has lied Continue reading

Posted in climate change, Paris accord, Research, science | Leave a comment

Masquerading Amongst the Literati

Things did not get off to a good start as I travelled to Hay-on-Wye this week. I arrived at Hereford railway station to be greeted by – nothing. No sign of the car meant to be picking me up to take me to Hay, only another woman looking equally anxious. A few minutes later the driver emerged from behind us in the station. Both us women had failed th Continue reading

Posted in audiences, Communicating Science, Equality, gender, Hay Festival, lego, Women in science | Leave a comment

On ending the myth of the Lost Cause

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During Reconstruction, that horrific impoverished period in the US South after the Civil War, the Cult of the Lost Cause (of the Confederacy) took its roots in the minds and attitudes of Southerners and indeed of the nation as a whole. Based in the idea that Southerners were somehow more noble, chivalrous and moral than the Federals in battle, ol Continue reading

Posted in Civil War Statues, Confederacy, racism | Leave a comment

Writer’s Block

Regular readers of my blog will have noticed there has been nothing new to read for a while.  I guess this could be ascribed simply to the familiar problem of writer’s block, but it felt more like a complete loss of mental and creative energy. Whereas I have, over the past nearly seven years, found writing my blogposts a refreshing change from the Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Communicating Science, email, energy, inbox, Science Culture | Leave a comment

On the removal of our Southern ‘heritage’

Bye Bye Robert E Lee

In the US South, in various places, confederate statues are being removed. In New Orleans Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, General Beauregard – all these relics of the Confederate past are being transported to a cobweb, pigeon-shit and dust legacy.

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Digital skills – how do we …

The concept of digital skills is a bit slippery.  The term has changed its meaning as the digital universe has expanded. Jisc is currently doing some work in this area, led by Caroline Ingram.

I attended an interesting workshop recently to look into the challenges of developing researchers’ digital skills. Continue reading

Posted in digital, Information skills, Research data, roles, skills | Comments Off on Digital skills – how do we …