Latest posts

Knowledge versus Experience

One of the things that is always said about teaching is that it shows you what you do or don’t know. You can’t flannel an explanation to a student who keeps asking probing questions though you may manage to do it to yourself. They may be questions that approach a topic in some way you had never considered before but rapidly realise is i Continue reading

Posted in career progression, Communicating Science, mentoring, public speaking, Science Culture | Leave a comment

Women and Minorities have got it good, if they are fictional of course.

As all y’all know, because I am constantly reminding everyone, I am from Tennessee. I like to think I am not racist and I really sincerely hope I am not racist, but the culture I grew up in has a bad, complicated history with racism so I know I have to keep a watchful eye. I have to be vigilant. When I was being drug up in the 1970s, I reme Continue reading

Posted in racism, Sexism in STEM, Women in science | Leave a comment

Missed opportunity

From my Facebook feed:


It should totally be called a beehemoth! Whoever first called it a wasp moth sucks!

Continue reading
Posted in freakishness, nature, photos, Silliness | Leave a comment

Can we amend the laws of scholarly publication?

As part of its celebrations to mark the 350th anniversary of the publication of Philosophical Transactions, the world’s longest-running scientific journal, the Royal Society arnessas convened a meeting to examine ‘The Future of Scholarly Scientific Communication’. The first half of the meeting, held over two days last week, sought to identify the k Continue reading

Posted in Open Access, Scientific Life | Leave a comment

The Perils of Procrastination

Voter registration in the UK showed just how many people are good at procrastination, with nearly half a million people registering on the last possible day. My email inbox is also a good indicator of people’s expectation that we are all procrastinators. How many emails do you get a day headed ‘Last chance – fantastic offers end tomorro Continue reading

Posted in computers, lectures, preparation, Science Culture | Leave a comment

In which the small fish contemplates the bigger pond

The wandering path of my unconventional scientific life is about to shift yet again. It’s with mixed feelings that I report another lab move – same Division, another new campus. The retro digs in Bloomsbury, with its polished hardwood trimmings, were always meant to be temporary – even more so when the entire street was slated for Continue reading

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

The Myth of the ‘Myth of Women in Science’

If you skimmed through some articles about women in science recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘problem solved’. A recent study by Cecil and Williams, published in no less august a publication than PNAS, claimed women actually had a 2:1 advantage over men when it came to hiring at tenure track level. Isn’t that fantast Continue reading

Posted in Equality, hiring, microinequities, tenure track, Women in science | Leave a comment

On the Need for Shiny New Facilities

I’m off to open a new block at Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College tomorrow. A shiny new building to provide fresh classrooms and additional study space, something many schools would dearly love to have. A decent working environment is undoubtedly contributory to children finding it easier to learn – rather like Virginia Woolf’s Continue reading

Posted in careers, education, practical work, school facilities | Leave a comment

Leadership (Churchillian style) and Policy

Churchill is often seen as the supreme leader, a man whose very voice inspired a nation and who held the country’s nerve during the Battle of Britain. Less often discussed is his leadership and behaviour at other times, although increasingly there are biographies that are far from hagiographic, one notable example being by a Churchill College Continue reading

Posted in Churchill College, CSaP, de Gaulle, policy-makers, Science policy | Leave a comment

Paying for peer review? No thanks, I’m outta here…

I spent Friday traveling west of Omaha to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, in of course, Kearney, Nebraska–about 3 hours west of Omaha. The University of Nebraska has 4 major campuses: 1) The University of Nebraska Medical Center (where I work, here in Omaha), 2) The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO, mostly undergraduate and also in Continue reading

Posted in compensation, editor, editorial board, editors, journals, nature, peer review, publishing, Research, review, rubriq, science, scientific reports | Leave a comment

Open access: a national licence is not the answer

Open Access: Is a national licence the answer?” is a proposal by David Price and Sarah Chaytor of University College London for a mechanism to provide full access to everyone within the UK to all published research. It was published on 31 March 2015 by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) whose director, Nick Hillman, wrote the foreword. 

Continue reading

Posted in national licence, Open Access | Leave a comment

Borrowing an Objective

Maybe it’s because I’m relaxed as it’s the Easter break, but when I received an email with ‘Borrowing an Objective‘ as its subject this week, my mind went into overdrive. I assumed someone was short of a goal, an aspiration or a target hypothesis for their grant – or even for their departmental mission statement. Much Continue reading

Posted in Equality, HE, Science Culture, targets, Universities | Comments Off on Borrowing an Objective

In which the forest emerges

The clocks have gone forward, the crocuses wither, the tulips unfurl. The students have dispersed for Easter, full of dread about the immunology exam that will pounce on their return.

Budding life forms

I put one grant application to bed and work on two others. Continue reading

Posted in careers, Gardening, Scientific thinking, staring into the abyss, students, Teaching, The profession of science | Comments Off on In which the forest emerges

In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye

It’s the last trumpet.

It’s been an intense few months up on the Ridgeway; preparations for our big change have gathered pace. At first things went slowly – infuriatingly slowly –  but as the years crept on so we felt the pressure develop. It’s like the feeling of being in a crowd of people surging forward, slowly acce Continue reading

Posted in Froth | Comments Off on In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye

Is there a Point in Travel?

As my last post makes clear, I have been busy travelling recently. My trip encompassed visits to both New York and Boston, cities which in years past I have visited quite frequently. Boston is delightfully non-American: its streets are not on a grid but resemble a British city much more than any other US city I have ever visited. It has had a hard Continue reading

Posted in airmiles, Boston, conferences, Hilda Geiringer, Science Culture, Women in science | Comments Off on Is there a Point in Travel?