We Need to Work at Breaking the Barriers

Leaders in science are generally those who are excellent at their science, but no one may have checked their leadership credentials. Someone like Lord Rutherford may have got away with barking instructions at his underlings (for which loud voiced behaviour Peter Kapitza nicknamed him ‘crocodile’), but such behaviour is frowned upon now. The trouble is, it may still happen. Whether barking equates to bullying may be hard to determine; to one person the answer may be yes and to another it’s of no matter. However the topic of bullying and harassment, closely linked to poor management practices, is becoming something of a hot potato in academic science. Now, a report from the Royal Society of Chemistry entitled Breaking the Barriers highlights the problem, using its work with focus groups and individual interviews to tease out anecdotal information that should give us all pause for thought. Their solution? To set up a helpline.

With all due respect I do wonder how helpful this will be. If you want to let off steam and hear a friendly voice at the end of the phone, maybe it will console some people. But I don’t see how the RSC can effect the systemic change needed to eradicate the problem. Every person who reports bullying (or harassment) will have a slightly different set of circumstances. Is it a PhD student complaining about their supervisor, or a lecturer complaining about the head of department? Does it involve, as it so often does, a power imbalance or is it peer-to-peer, as in the case of one student who acts dog-in-the-manger about some vital piece of equipment? And, each institution will have different procedures for handling although, I fear, too often they are woefully inadequate. Science may be no better or worse than most other sectors, but it certainly is not good.

One only has to follow the story of Andrew Neil and Carole Cadwalladr to see how the powerful can attempt to silence others, in this case in the world of media. Neil’s actions seemed a crude attempt to bully a brave investigative journalist into silence. And the BBC is hardly demonstrating the shining face of intolerance in the face of such bad behaviour. Deleting a tweet is apparently sufficient to get Neil off the hook. Yet, in a startlingly different response in the wake of the Carrie Grace equal pay story

“BBC staff were told afterwards that use of the Twitter hashtag [#I Stand With Carrie] would bar people from doing interviews on the subject. So people had to pull back…”

according to her recent speech on Equal Pay to the Fawcett Society.

For science and scientists, anything – such as this recent report – that teases some of these murky practices into the open has to be beneficial, Anything that gives confidence to those suffering under a barrage of insults or daily petty humiliations from those around them, should feel there is somewhere to go to permit them to speak up. But systemic change will not come about from a few brave people speaking up. To quote the RSC report

Significant change does not happen when one group acts in isolation. It is essential that every part of our community – academic funders, academic employers, societies and you as individuals – works together to drive momentum and promote further change.

How can the word be spread to those who don’t want to hear? I’ve recently been reading Catherine Fox’s Stop Fixing Women. She describes, for instance, how the Australian Army has attempted to redress gender imbalance, and to eradicate generations of male-only-thinking by strong leadership from the top. Or you might want to read about Ireland’s new action plan around Gender, described briefly here, an ambitious programme to get progress to move forward at more than the existing glacial process in terms of numbers. Bullying does not simply relate to gender and slow progress on seeing more women rise up through the system is not only handicapped by bullying. Although the two may go hand in hand they do not have to. But undoubtedly leadership from the top – and at every successive layer too – is imperative if change is to occur, be it around bullying or gender imbalances. But it has to be cascaded down to leaders at every level if it is to make a difference in every nook and cranny. The head honcho alone will not change the culture although equally if they take no interest it will be hard for those below in the hierarchy to transform the workplace.  The RSC Report makes very clear, working together is vital.

However, full of sensible words and recommendations as the report is, I fear I found it overall a little underwhelming and there are statements I found somewhat hard to digest. Take this from a senior chemist (male)

‘I went to a [university diversity] committee and I was the only man there, and a senior man. This demonstrated that chemistry was making a commitment [to diversity]. Several commented on it when I walked into the room. That was a sea change. It is important not to say ‘women, this is your problem’.

That statement worries me. The senior man should have been saying, ‘Where are all the other men? This isn’t good enough.’ He should not have been patting himself on the back because he showed up. (Once or regularly? We aren’t told.) Change needs the involvement of everyone and one man paying a token visit to a diversity committee is not an adequate response. I have been running workshops as part of the work of the Athena Swan Review listening exercise and have so far attended three universities. At two of them the gender balance was good. At the third it was, again, a case of a single man amongst around 20 women. I found the former experiences encouraging; not so the latter.

The buy in from some senior men was heartening. So often they are the ones with power or access to those with power, although obviously that need not be so. It is good to note that increasingly they are also leading on Athena Swan applications. I hope – although I know this won’t always be the case – they have the clout to change behaviours, policies and processes unlike the junior women so often tasked with doing all the hard work of compiling the Athena Swan paperwork thereby holding back their own career progression. No man should pat himself on the back, chemist or otherwise, because as a man he has actually set foot in an E+D committee. It requires us all to step forward, both to eradicate bullying and to encourage true inclusion.

The Breaking the Barriers Report is a good start but, as it shows, Chemistry as a discipline has a long way to go. The fall-off in numbers as women progress up the career structure seems particularly stark in this field. Much, much more needs to be done. But reading the report and acting on its recommendations can only be positive, even if there is a long way to go.

NB The RSC’s full pack of digital resources to accompany the report to share can be found here.


Posted in Equality, Science Culture, Women in Science | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Worrying about Deserts of Nothingness

Recently a website calling itself UKRI Observatory published two blogposts analysing information obtained by them under FoI regarding assessments of EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training. The point the blogpost was making was that it appeared at first sight that many of these highly competitive and extremely financially valuable centres were not performing particularly well. Analysis of what the call-backs, mid-term reviews etc really mean is not easy given the information published. Perhaps EPSRC wanted to do some benchmarking rather than reprimand those running the centres? Or perhaps there genuinely were all kinds of problems which their processes were uncovering. Who knows? But the reality is there is a huge investment of money and resources in each centre and for the cohort of students enrolled in each, much hangs on their success.

However, the issue I want to highlight is slightly different and it is one that has been bothering me for a long time. The emergence of UKRI slightly shifts the framework but does not in the least alter my fundamental question. Who is keeping an eye on the spread of topics and the geographical distribution of the centres? We are producing a large number of students well-trained in, for instance, quantum technologies, a subject which was a particular focus of the 2013 call for centres. In this area three centres, each training ca 50 students over the full 5 year cycle, are to be produced. I would like to think that someone has worked out we really will need 150 students so trained for the workforce of ca 2020 and that the fact that these centres – UCL, IC and Bristol – are all in the south of England gives no one any pause for thought. Excellence of the original bids is all that matters I presume.

But is it? I do worry – and other topics could be chosen that equally are going to produce significant numbers of students in disciplinary and geographically tight areas: quantum technologies is just one specific example from the physics arena  – that no one is keeping an eye on the big picture. The comparatively new focus on the quality of training, important though that of course is, mean that we have ended up – in the EPSRC remit anyhow – with a very patchy landscape. Is that optimum? And who is considering it?

What about those CDTs with significant industrial input? How do they fare? In times past, CASE awards with industry – awarded by various different mechanisms – dealt with a situation where a single student worked on an identified and agreed project between a supervisor and a company providing a named industrial supervisor. I supervised many such projects. If the relationship worked well, sometimes a string of two or even three projects with the same company might be set up over a period of years. The industrial end of things got to see results early and influence the direction of travel, usually guided by some agreement that gave appropriate publication and IP protection etc. However, as I understand it, for many of the CDTs where multiple companies contribute to funding of the over-arching cohort, that specific relationship may no longer exist. Instead, there is a general area covered – say quantum technologies again – but companies do not forge a relationship with ‘their own’ identified student. That is a very different sort of interaction which may work well in some cases but certainly not in all. It does not provide the close-knit relationship that in my own experience often worked excellently (although occasionally it got grumpy and frustrating, particularly when companies got sensitive about whether results could or could not be published in the open literature, or when they were unhappy about the speed of progress to solve a specific industrial problem).

It’s not just the EPSRC; other research councils have similar programmes. In a few cases there are even cross-council CDTs. I would like to think that someone – and logically that someone might sit in UKRI although it’s early days yet for them to have done so – is keeping a watchful eye on the totality of training of the scientists of tomorrow. Not on whether each centre is value for money or whether the training is broad (or narrow) enough to equip them for the jobs that hopefully await them in the wider world (not all of them will stay in academia after all), important though those factors are. My concern is that the centres are so large that in between – by which I mean ‘between’ by discipline or location – there are great deserts of nothingness. This may also mean – even in these brave new days of UKRI – that interdisciplinary topics are missed out on too. After all this requires people to join up dots that may be hard to do; yes there are specific calls that cut across research council boundaries, but there are far more cross-cutting topics than these calls have so far covered. Who can make judgements on unanticipated applications that do so? Often the emphasis is being put on the areas that are already known to be exciting (or, more damningly, fashionable) whether mono-, multi- or inter-disciplinary, and this leaves little scope for serendipity and small beginnings. How do we know, with such long cycles and such large numbers of students involved, that we are not missing the nimbleness that used to be possible, to open up new areas in a low-key kind of way and to let a supervisor’s sense of excitement and nose for potential gold occasionally break into unexpected territories?

I was lucky enough to benefit massively from much easier routes to individual students in years gone by. In particular, in the days of BBSRC’s predecessor organisation the Agriculture and Food Research Council, there were studentships competitively awarded each year by each of its committees (standing committees) based on – if I remember rightly – a couple of pages of text describing the project. (EPSRC’s predecessor SERC may have done the same thing, but my memory is less clear on this front.) If a CASE award was sought this had to include the industrial link and financial contribution. As a young academic I could dream up some new departure, sketch out a research plan, and keep my fingers crossed. Regularly I was fortunate in this competition and could therefore head off in some new direction. It was a delightfully light touch method. Inconceivable in these days of accountability, not least because no one ever checked what happened to the project. If it careered off in some totally different direction there was, as I recall, complete unsanctioned freedom to do so. For me, this was how I got started in much of the work on food, notably starch. This was research that for many years played such a central part in my research programme and ultimately propelled me from food aspects of starch to working with plant biochemists and further into biological physics. If I had had to prove at the outset I had a track record in starch, that it contained excellent physics (it did, but that might have been hard for some of my peers to spot – as they tended to tell me) and knew my direction of travel, this could never have happened. My generation, in this respect at least, had it easy.

But it is not the ease per se I am regretting, so much as the opportunity to make small scale forays into the unknown. A decent project could be carried out even if it was not part of some massive large scale initiative, although there was no one vetting the quality of the education/training. I am worried that in trying to rectify what was clearly a potential failing on this last point, a lot else has been lost. I don’t see who is stepping back to look at the lumpiness of the CDT landscape that has evolved over the recent past and considering whether or not this is optimum for the UK as we set our sights on research expenditure of 2.4% of GDP.

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The Lure of Procrastination

Why do you procrastinate? Since most people are guilty of this failing at least some of the time, few readers are likely to say ‘what me, I never do!’ I believe the reasons are many and various but I must admit I hadn’t thought the remedy lay in taking on a mentoring role. But apparently there is some evidence to suggest that, by mentoring someone more junior, it is possible to rebuild confidence and the author of that article believes it is a lack of confidence that often provokes the procrastination itself. That makes sense.

But it isn’t just a lack of confidence that means getting started on a job can seem so hard. One may have confidence that the job can be done and yet still not know quite where to start. If I were asked to identify what the underlying causes of my own procrastination are this would be near the top of my list (along with sheer boredom regarding the task in hand, which happens only too often too). You know that feeling when six months ago you were asked to come up with some enticing title for a seminar or talk but when you sit down actually to write the thing a few days before you have to deliver it you have no idea what you had in mind? Why did you call it something as interesting as ‘The amoeba in me’ or ‘The joys of the REF’? (These are for illustrative purposes only; I have not used these titles myself but you get my point).

That is the sort of task I find it only too easy to put off. I can try to fool myself by saying that I’m ‘mulling’, that I’m trying to work out all the key points I want to cover under that mysterious title, but the reality is almost certainly that I have no idea how to get going and it is only when time pressures really mount that some sort of creative juice kicks in. Of course many a seminar turns out not to live up to its title, so if push comes to shove as the date gets ever closer and I’m down to the last 48 hours to produce something, it is sometimes possible to divert from the stated title after a few slides and morph into something that feels closer to home and therefore safer (or indeed, to mix and match from previous talks. I try never to give identically the same one in more than one venue.) I have never yet failed to produce a talk to give, although I did once write a talk and fail to deliver it. High winds brought the cables down so that the trains were massively disrupted and I only turned up for the rather nice dinner afterwards: very frustrating having, on that occasion, managed to write a totally new talk I have never yet had occasion to give – or reuse.

The other reason at the top of my own list of procrastination drivers is one I remember well from student days when faced with revision. As so many of us do, I would set myself targets in advance: 4 hours on topic A in the morning, a break for lunch and then 3 hours later in the day on topic B. However, if I failed to get started promptly – some much appreciated distraction such as a friend dropping by or the siren call of a further cup of coffee – then it felt as if I couldn’t start at all, that I hadn’t left myself enough time to do what I’d set out to do so I wouldn’t even begin. Is that a feeling others recognize?

That distraction tactic of making a cup of tea/coffee/ toast/ urgently going in search of a bar of chocolate (whatever your pet vice may be) is one that works wonderfully well as a procrastination tactic. Sitting down at the computer thinking about that tricky email or start to a section of thesis or paper, a blank page can be enough to drive one away to the kitchen. It doesn’t help, of course, that blank page still stares resolutely back at you when you return whatever length of time you’ve managed to waste. But time and time again I find it is possible to go off to seek that inspiration in the kitchen only to find it doesn’t arrive and the challenge of whatever composition you’re trying to do still confronts you upon return.

It would be a mistake to omit one of everyone’s ‘favourite’ procrastination tactics, the sink of time that is the internet and twitter. Be it following the horror of US politics (or indeed some of our very own politicians’ actions) or merely watching the recent infamous video of the bear cub trying to get up the snow-covered rocks to its mother, there is always a ready-made way of wasting time that my student days way back when was not hampered by. Sitting at a computer attached to wifi the temptation to peep at a favourite news-site, blog or social media platform can be very strong. That way hours can be dissipated with nothing to show for it. The wise, no doubt, turn off their wifi connection.

This post was inspired by the idea that lack of confidence can sit at the heart of procrastination. Perhaps that really is equivalent to my saying not knowing where to begin is one of my own drivers for putting things off and off, although the emphasis is placed a bit differently. And confidence – or lack thereof– is undoubtedly also going to underpin a reluctance to commit thoughts to paper (as in my own third reason) although I’m not sure confidence issues entirely feed into letting the internet devour one’s time. That, I suspect, is more a case of succumbing to easy temptation.  We all have our own bad habits that stop us being endlessly productive. Perhaps sometime it is helpful to pull them out of the dark and dissect them to see them for what they are – and then to stuff them back again and head off to make a cup of coffee.



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To Be or Not to Be a Role Model

When you grow up what do you want to be? That is a familiar enough question but I’ve never heard of anyone who expected the answer to be ‘a role model’. Yet there are those who have an expectation that women who become visible in the hard sciences should automatically step up to the mark to help the next generation. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favour of women supporting other women, wherever they may be in the hierarchy, but I worry that the expectation of acting as a ‘role model’ is just another burden placed on those who may feel they have had quite enough dumped on them already.

Donna Strickland, she of the recent Nobel Prize in Physics, has incurred ire in some quarters for not immediately assuming the mantle of champion for other women. She would appear, from the interviews of hers that I have read, to have avoided some of the misogyny, the vitriol and the condescension and much worse that many women – in STEM and just about everywhere – have suffered. We may feel that she is either unbelievably lucky or blind but it still does not mean, in my opinion, that she has to speak up for those who have so suffered. Has anyone suggested that either of the men who shared the prize with her should suddenly assume some new responsibility (be it role model or anything else) while they are probably still digesting the fact that yes, they did actually win?

If Marie Curie (dead and therefore voiceless) can be consistently held up as a role model for aspiring female scientists, can Donna Strickland not be allowed to assume the same voiceless part? Let us celebrate that finally a third woman has received what, to many, is seen as the ultimate accolade of a Nobel, without making her life harder by loading her with the responsibility of inspiring future scientists or cheering up those who are suffering under bad management surrounded by rotten colleagues. Her image can be used in classrooms up and down the land without needing her personally to follow the image into the schools. She needn’t describe bad experiences that others have suffered if she herself has had an easier path to success merely to remind others that women frequently do get a raw deal. After all, authenticity and integrity matter and if she is simply uttering other people’s stories she isn’t likely to be all that inspiring after all.

Being the woman who is meant to inspire other women does not come at zero cost. It requires both time and energy; time which many researchers would rather devote to their labs or their students, energy that may be in short supply given the vicissitudes of academia. I was struck by the reaction of a younger colleague of mine when she had just faced her first audience of would-be university applicants, all female, as she told them her life story. Wow, she said, it was just so exhausting. And it is, to give of oneself, to make a narrative and to relive parts of one’s life that may not always have been pleasant (if one is honest, and has had bad experiences). Of course sometimes it is imperative to warn the scientists-of-the-future that life will have setbacks (whether because of one’s gender or not), that research does not go in a straight line and not all one’s colleagues are angels. That is the reality and if reality is what is wanted to inspire, then it’s going to come at a cost for the speaker. Others should not assume that all senior women are cut out to do this, that they all want to do this, or that they all should do this.

It would be convenient, it might even be helpful for the next generation, if every woman stepped up to the mark. It might make others feel good. But at what price? If their science suffers because this is just another task imposed on women that men do not have to undertake, it adds up to just yet one more bit of ‘academic housekeeping’ of which women already get more than their fair share. I would be more convinced this was useful if the evidence was clear, but in fact it is distinctly nuanced on the true impact of role models. People assume it must always be a good thing, but if you read this article from the US you may realise it simply isn’t that straightforward.

Perhaps before we put an expectation on every woman who’s made it just a little way up the greasy academic ladder that they need to get out there and champion other women and bare their souls about the horrors they may (or may not) have faced, we should – as good scientists – take a harder look at the evidence. There are, apparently (I direct you to another paper in the Psychology literature on role models in general) more and less effective ways of having a positive effect. Just having a stream of women entering the classroom and saying ‘all girls should consider studying STEM’ is not going necessarily to change the percentages taking Physics A level. Having successful women stand up and say look at me, I’ve won this massive prize and if you just work harder then you too might get plaudits, may lead as much to an inferiority complex, reinforcing impostor syndrome and a feeling of ‘I’m not like that’ as to inspiration.

Each and every woman, successful or not, should be allowed to make their own decisions as to which tasks they take on. They should not feel they have to do something just because others would find it desirable. This applies as much to whether they should do pastoral work, sit on the childcare committee or engage in public engagement because there is a shortage of colleagues (male) who are willing or asked to take these roles on, as to the expectation of being a role model. Any women can be one simply by doing the best they can, permitting their images to be used in glossy departmental brochures and winning prizes to remind other folk women are good at their subject. They do not need to put up their hand to give endless talks to audiences about their life story to the detriment of their careers and science. They do not need to remind the world they have had it hard, particularly if they have not as Donna Strickland implied, and if they would rather not.

As someone who has given more narrative talks than I would care to remember, as someone who I think would be regarded as a champion of women, I would say the best way to champion women is not to put expectations on any single woman that would not be expected of a man. I would remind readers that taking an active role in this sphere can sometimes feel overwhelming and exhausting, even if rewarding. I am happy to see a third woman win the Nobel Prize in Physics. I am happy that she should enjoy the rewards of that prize without being told she is letting the side down because she doesn’t immediately see the need to put herself into the media as a woman’s champion.

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Will I not be ‘Important’?

This is the troubled question Jeremy Baumberg asks rhetorically in his recent book The Secret Life of Science when he discusses the vexed question of what happens if he decides not to attend some conference, along with

‘Will I no longer be seen as a significant actor in the discipline?’ and

‘Will I not be party to conversations that build a mutual support club?’

Jeremy – a colleague of mine in Cambridge – has a pretty jaundiced view of conferences, but I am troubled by this list of questions which are all about where he (metaphorically, as I’m sure he is asking these questions as the universal scientist rather than as himself specifically) stands in some mythical pecking order rather than whether better science will be done. I feel this is a dangerous viewpoint. Throughout this chapter Jeremy is highlighting the pitfalls of the conference, but his words throughout do seem to convey a sense of ego being the motivation for conferences rather than the joy of science and the wish to move it forward.

I share his somewhat jaded view of conferences – but then that’s easy to say having ‘enjoyed’ (if that’s the right word) a lifetime of them. I feel this chapter (and I haven’t finished the whole book yet, so I can’t comment on what comes next) would be enough to deter any but the keenest PhD student or postdoc from wishing to attend a conference of any sort. Yet these researchers are exactly the ones who should go, while they are still expanding their horizons, when they haven’t already heard the eminent keynote speakers give the same talk fifteen times already and when some friendly challenges around their poster or oral presentation may be most helpful to them. The early career researcher has much to learn from interacting with others like them, sharing experiences (good and bad), or getting informal low-down on techniques when their green fingers aren’t as experimentally developed as researchers in a different lab.

I remember the heady days of my first poster session, when older scientists whose papers I had carefully studied stopped by my poster to see what developments I was laying claim to. I got to put faces to names, and began to realise that being famous did not mean (when I attended their own talks) necessarily being charismatic or crisp in presentation style. It is good to realise one’s hero(in)es may not be perfect. I remember the first oral presentation I gave – when someone (a stranger, although they may have been very eminent) came up to me afterwards and said they’d never heard anyone talk so fast or try to compress so much into 20 minutes; useful criticism, although I suspect my pace of talking is often still too fast.

Jeremy seems to dislike conferences because there are too many of them. That is doubtless true, and some of them are predatory and some are pointless. But, for established scientists I really don’t believe it’s necessary to trek around the world just because some organising committee has invited you. I decided, once my children came along, that travel was one of those things that just had to be jettisoned in order to make my life work, and I stuck to that for many years until it just became a habit. If my reputation was diminished because of this I felt it was a price worth paying.

As I wrote some years ago in an early blogpost

‘Some travel is vital, much may be as much about ego-stroking and having interesting experiences in exotic parts of the world as actually being productive for your career. Don’t assume more is necessarily better.’

I still believe that, and that perhaps is where Jeremy and I differ. Staying in the lab, talking to your students and writing grant proposals has much to recommend it compared with some conferences I have attended. The mega-conferences mean you often can’t catch the one person you really wanted to see. Parallel sessions which get out of sync mean you may also miss the one talk you absolutely wanted to hear because the session you were trapped in overran. And, at one particularly frustrating conference I recall in Boston, people were mainly just sitting in the corridors dealing with their email rather than actually attending anything – which makes the travel even more pointless. It’s healthy to remember there is a real cost – in carbon, in bucks – as well as an opportunity cost when spending too much time on the road or in the air.

Of course, as a later stage scientist we all have a responsibility to organise conferences sensibly. Not to convene conferences just for the sake of it, or to fix them annually merely to get to interesting locations. We should not see them (to quote the analogy Jeremy uses), or our appearance at them, as

‘fantastical displays made to woo potential sexual mates (of either gender).’

There must be a clear reason for them.

I have some fond memories of conferences here at Churchill College, long before I had any association with the college otherwise. There was the triennial international conference in my field where I could note my progress from nervous novice, through to being invited onto ‘top table’ at the conference dinner to joining the organising committee. As it was only triennial it was a big deal and all the major groups would come along. Discussion was, as they say, robust, but there was a palpable feeling of the field moving forward. And when it seemed like the field had matured the conference ceased, or at least it moved to a new home in the Netherlands with a new emphasis (and I never attended it again).

Then there was a different conference that a triumvirate of us dreamed up to bring researchers in starch from many perspectives together, from physics and computational model to biotechnology to plant science. We mixed the sessions up so that people would not just attend talks in their own fields. It succeeded beyond our dreams and we held a second conference four years later also here at Churchill. At that second conference one of the keynote speakers offered me a hundred mutants of maize starch. At that point I realised as a physicist I had done what I wanted in starch. Recalling Lord Rutherford’s alleged quote

‘Physics is the only real science. The rest are just stamp collecting.’

I felt I was in danger of entering stamp collecting territory and moved on.

Meetings come in many sizes. I prefer the smaller meetings where there is time to share ideas, talk to the newcomers in the field and generally profit from the people around. In the UK national meetings in a particular field are often small enough that the discussion is fruitful and students and postdocs are encouraged to talk.  We need such meetings. We need to ensure students find their voice, learn what works and how to engage with questions of all sorts, from the simple and the silly, to the truly challenging and worrying.  We should definitely encourage students to attend such meetings, even if the surroundings are not as glamorous as Hawaii or Acapulco but a mere ‘60’s hall of residence.

But, above all, we should not use conferences or meetings simply as display of our glorious colours with no thought of the science itself. Jeremy is right to be jaded, but I think he maybe is overfocussed on motivations that are good neither for the individual nor the discipline.


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