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Now I am Five*

This week I was stalking people. Professionally of course. As a Trustee of the Science Museum a group of us were invited to do some ‘Gallery Observations’ of visitors to get a sense of how they interact with the exhibits. Of course stalking is too strong a word, but observing we most certainly were.

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Posted in anniversary, audience, Blogging, Communicating Science, Science Museum, Writing | Leave a comment

In which I lose my way

An autumn breeze flutters the paperwork on my desk: a credit card bill; a daily report from my son’s nursery (complete with meals, sleep times and nappy composition); a manuscript I’m proofing for a colleague – all held down by a paperweight commemorating the Silver Edition of Lehninger’s Principles of Biochemistry, swag fro Continue reading

Posted in staring into the abyss, The profession of science | Leave a comment

Choosing an Oxbridge College

As one cohort of students are celebrating (or coming to terms with) which university they’ll be heading off to this autumn, another cohort are considering their Year 12 results. For this latter group, decisions loom about UCAS forms. Which universities provide what they want in terms of course, cost, location and ambience? And for those who are con Continue reading

Posted in A levels, academia, admissions, Cambridge, Churchill College, education | Leave a comment

Flushing out the culprit

Over the years in academia, I’ve learned a trick or two about good administration. And here I am, rising to the task: a serial leaver-of-paper on the men’s departmental toilet seat needed to be taken care of.

Administrative note

At first, I wrote the note without the bottom two lines — but then my administrative training kicked in: “Final warn Continue reading

Posted in academia, administration, cleanliness, humor, Research, science, toilets | Leave a comment

In which I avoid the topic

I have been downtrodden this week, struggling to stay afloat in this erratic and stormy sea we call academic science. I suspect there is a post in there waiting to get out, but I am too blue (and overworked) to face it now. So in its stead, a bit of Friday fun from a second-hand lab equipment provider:


Posted in careers, Silliness, staring into the abyss | Leave a comment

TO2015 Tally

And so, that is that. The Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games are finished, and I’ve retired my photo credentials and numbered vest. With as little regret as possible I’ve given back the very nice equipment I borrowed from Nikon Photo Services, and I’m left with an enormous pile of photographs to sort through. Which isn’ Continue reading

Posted in Hobbies, Pan Am, Parapan Am, Photography, TO2015 | Leave a comment

Documentaries – improving and diverting (a wee review)

I am enamored with Netflix. I am still stuck in my infatuation phase with Netflix and have sadly I have reverted to a teenager (OMG I can watch Netflix whenever I want to!). The existence of Netflix is far more exiting than when my parents bought that Betamax player (may they rest in peace). When I am exhausted, my guilty pleasure is cuddling up Continue reading

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On the cranes

Apparently it’s (still) #WorldPhotographyDay.

To celebrate, here’s a photograph from our bedroom window this morning, not taken with my iPhone.

London Gateway

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Posted in Gravesend, Photography | Leave a comment

When Did You Decide to…..?

People seem to think that life travels in straight, orderly lines, with everything mapped out from birth. I have never felt that my life was like that and it is always startling when I find other people assume that I know, and have always known, what I‘m doing and why, as well as what I’m going to do next. The other day an interviewer kicked off wi Continue reading

Posted in careers, decisions, experience, interviews, Science Culture | Leave a comment

On legends

For most of my first 17 years I lived on, or very close to, one of a number of airbases in England and Germany. Just about every day was airshow day, at least for a somewhat limited and specialist class of aeroplanes.

I’ve watched Lightnings take off and disappear beyond the tropopause in 3 minutes flat. I’ve coughed in the smoke at the Continue reading

Posted in Airbourne, Eastbourne, personal, Photography, Spitfire, Vulcan, XH558 | Leave a comment

I Refuse to Think Like a Man

The recipe for success for women has been identified as

Look like a girl,
Act like a lady,
Think like a man,
Work like a boss.

(or at least it was until the Bic South Africa advertising poster was pulled due to the public uproar, so I can’t link to the original). This sentence is wrong on so many fronts I find it hard to know where to begin to take Continue reading

Posted in Bic South Africa, diversity, Equality, Megan Henley, metrics, Women in science | Leave a comment

In which we respect the tough love: editing your writing is an art

Everyone’s a critic. But how good are people at taking their own medicine? Any why should writers strive to embrace and even welcome constructive criticism?

Total carnage: a ruthless editor attacks Draft 5 of my first novel, circa 1999

Total carnage: a ruthless editor attacks Draft 5 of my first novel, circa 1999

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Those Annoying Little Habits

New lecturers are encouraged, possibly even compelled, to allow themselves to be videoed giving presentations/lectures so they can improve their teaching styles. Even before then, early career researchers may be offered that option and it is probably wise to accept. However, I must admit that by the time I was offered the opportunity to scrutinise Continue reading

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In which we make do: live from the cash-freeze lab

The government loves to tell us scientists how good we are at doing ‘more with less’. Over at the Guardian, I’ve posted yesterday about how the UK’s core research budget is again under threat, with the possibility of up to 40% cuts to be announced at the Spending Review in November.

I’ve also summarized how things hav Continue reading

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The Importance of Evidence, the Need for #Just1Action4WIS

I’m sorry, this is yet another piece of writing in the wake of the Tim Hunt debacle. I find I am still very angry. We are, I hope, reaching the end of the saga yet little in the way of concrete actions which will actually help women in science has emerged or is likely to; this is why I am angry. All those shrill commenters who shrieked ‘sexist foul Continue reading

Posted in Connie St Louis, evidence, louise mensch, Mary Collins, Science Culture, Tim Hunt, Women in science | Comments Off on The Importance of Evidence, the Need for #Just1Action4WIS