Latest posts

Permission Given

This is a post about professional anxiety and what might be done to alleviate it. Consider who asks questions after departmental seminars or conference talks: too often it is the usual suspects (although my impression is that this is getting less common). Years ago I can remember conferences where it was always the same half dozen senior professors Continue reading

Posted in committees, Science Culture, seminars, speaking up, Women in science | Leave a comment

Got no time for the blogger-blagger!

modern science

One of the toughest things about modern science is its all-consuming nature–it literally sucks up one’s time. And while I am unable to sit down and write a serious blog, I thought this photo nicely illustrates how scientists struggle-to-juggle their time.

Posted in management, multi-task, Research, science, stress, time | Leave a comment

Birthdays on the brother blog

Contemplating Birthdays on the Beach

Contemplating Birthdays on the Beach

This week, I reviewed Having a Birthday as part of Ant Cule’s project antcule.reviews, (Subtitle: An Extremely Subjective View of Being A Human).

For the uninitiated, Ant and I collaborated on this blog post about giving a talk, back when I was a PhD student, more than three years ago now. Continue reading

Posted in Birthday, cross-post, Fun, Life, reviews | Leave a comment

Combining pre-prints and post-publication peer review: a new (big) deal?

Stimulated, I believe, by Ron Vale’s call to preprints last year, various luminaries from the world of science and science publishing will be gathering in Maryland at the headquarters of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) later this month to discuss the way forward. 

The meeting, called Accelerating Science and Publication in Biology – ASAP Continue reading

Posted in Academic publishing, Open Access, Preprints, scientific publishing | Leave a comment

Cambridge University, Widening Participation and the Government

What follows first appeared on the Times Higher Education blog platform on February 2nd 2016 (this is the unedited version). At the bottom I add a footnote about further developments since I first drafted this piece mainly regarding Cambridge admissions tests.

Cambridge is not the Villain, Mr Cameron

David Cameron is concerned about the opportuniti Continue reading

Posted in BAMEs, diversity, education, Oxbridge, widening participation | Leave a comment

Open access and public engagement: I need your help

Dear Reader,

I would appreciate your help.

I am working on a chapter for a book on openness within science (to be published by Manchester University Press). The book is part of the ‘Making Science Public’ program run by Prof Brigitte Nerlich at Nottingham University and aims to take a critical look at the dilemmas of open science. Continue reading

Posted in Academic publishing, science | Leave a comment

What’s the Extent of the Problem?

I don’t usually recycle my posts, but the time seems ripe to repost this particular one appended below. I wrote it just over three years ago. It asks ‘Just how bad is it?’ referring to the issue of sexual harassment. The stories in Astronomy coming from the US currently make for sober reading. Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy, Geoff Marcy, sexism, sexual harassment, Women in science | Leave a comment

Anatomy of a blog post on the anatomy of a scientific discovery

At the risk of getting uber-meta, here is a blog post about writing my latest blog post at the Guardian, which was an account of a scientific discovery – albeit a minor one – that occurred during the process of shepherding the latest paper from my lab to publication.

Why write about writing this post? Because maybe it will help others, and maybe it Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, moleclues, Protein Crystallography, science | Leave a comment

Get off of my cloud

In my previous life, I pontificated on the etiquette of iPods and in particular the signals that earbuds send out. My central thesis was that if you were foolish enough to approach someone at the lab bench who was wearing both earbuds, then you deserved to be fed to the autoclave.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

Continue reading
Posted in day job, Ill-considered rants, iPod, Office life, sociopathy, stupid coworkers, The stupid, it burns, work, Writing | Leave a comment

In which I finally get it: multitasking is evil

It’s a new year, and the academic term has kicked in with renewed vigor. I haven’t written here for a while because I simply didn’t have the mental capacity.

I collapsed into the Christmas holidays nearly flattened with exhaustion and stress, and demoralized by some bad news. Over the two week break, I finally managed to relax, ca Continue reading

Posted in academia, Teaching, The profession of science | Leave a comment

Telling Stories

Last week I went to talk at an event designed to encourage young girls to stick with science post-GCSE organised for local schools at Brighton College. I was paired up with the remarkable Stemettes Founder Anne-Marie Imafidon. She was Red Magazine’s ‘Woman to Watch’ in 2014 and has a host of other accolades to her name. Now – having quit her job at Continue reading

Posted in Careers advice, CV, education, GCSE, Women in science | Leave a comment

Confidence, Rebellion and Schools

A swot and a rebel’ was how Mary Beard described herself when I interviewed her last week for Churchill College (you can listen to the full interview here). She seemed to think this was a common pairing of terms but I’m not sure I’d agree. She, like me, was a Cambridge undergraduate – although a couple of years later and at Newnham College n Continue reading

Posted in education, extrovert, faking it, Mary Beard, Science Culture, Sutton Trust | Leave a comment

Hey, I didn’t even get the grant!

Scientists today spend a considerable chunk of their time writing: grants, protocols, manuscripts, reviews, grant reviews, etc. One of the bureaucratic requirements that most of us are familiar with is the “progress report.” Every year — or even after every six months of funding, we are obliged to send in a report detailing our pr Continue reading

Posted in awardee, bureaucracy, foundation, funding, grant, humor, No, progress report, Research, science, scientist, Writing | Leave a comment

Being Unexpectedly Provocative

I have recently returned from a trip to Santa Barbara, to the conference to honour my late mentor Professor Ed Kramer, and San Francisco, where I met up with various alumni and alumnae of my College and the University. In Santa Barbara the conference was obviously about science, with talks from many of Kramer’s former postdocs and students, his ext Continue reading

Posted in alumni, California, Communicating Science, Ed Kramer, Equality, Miss Triggs, Women in science | Leave a comment

Blogging; totally worth a go

This is my first post to Occam’s Irregulars and when I was planning out what I wanted to write, I though that I needed something that was going to have a splash and get plenty of clicks. But that sounded hard and possibly requiring of either talent or some kind of Buzzfeed-esq list format. So instead, I’m going for the much easier option of i Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Guest posts, SciBlogs, SciComms, Writing | Comments Off on Blogging; totally worth a go