Category Archives: Scientific thinking

In which we science the world

My son just can’t help it. He’s not even doing it deliberately: he’s just acting naturally. Curiosity combined with razor-sharp eyesight is a killer combination for the accidental scientist. He sees things that I miss, with my own failing ocular … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Joshua, Scientific method, Scientific thinking, Work/life balance | 3 Comments

In which I question an assumption: do fiction readers really dislike scientific detail?

My regular readers will know all about Fiction Lab, the world’s first book group devoted to discussing lab lit fiction. We’ve been meeting once a month for just over a decade at London’s Royal Institution to talk about novels with … Continue reading

Posted in LabLit, Scientific thinking, Writing | 10 Comments

In which science imitates life, number 365: zones of death in public transport

I was waiting for the bus this past weekend, ridiculously early to get my son to his swimming lesson across town. Or so I thought. We waited, and waited, and Joshua jumped up and down anxiously, looking adorable with his … Continue reading

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In which I bring Lego to lab meeting

Our floor recently initiated a monthly lunchtime meeting as an informal feedback conduit. Although the individual labs all work in one mammoth communal room, the research that goes on is disparate. The key to propelling your project forward might be … Continue reading

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In which green means go

It’s often been said that witnessing your child grow up is akin to scientific experiment – an intense longitudinal observational study with no control group. As a fan of language in all of its nuances, it’s been fascinating watching Joshua … Continue reading

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In which I snap

I’m not a neat freak or anything, at home or in the lab, but sometimes, enough is enough. Behold the new arrangement of our lab’s stash of fluorochrome-conjugated secondary antibodies. Is it not a thing of beauty? (A moment of … Continue reading

Posted in Research, Scientific thinking, Silliness | 3 Comments

In which we are unlucky: on lab superstitions

I was thinking the other day that if academia were a mental illness, it would be bipolar. One day it treats me well: a student shows me an experiment that shows great promise. I have a spirited chat with a … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Research, Scientific thinking, Silliness, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science | 5 Comments

In which I lose my tubes, and other manifestations of lab rustiness

When you’re a young scientist, it’s the done thing to poke gentle fun at the lab head for being out of touch. For example, when I was a graduate student, we’d all pretend to be horrified whenever our boss, wearing … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Research, Scientific thinking, The profession of science | 4 Comments

In which I embrace the literature

I think I’ve earned a five-minute break. I’ve been working hard to ready myself ahead of a big interview for a significant funding scheme. I’m being subjected to a series of mock interviews, and I’ve been reading as much as … Continue reading

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Too many jobs, not enough quiet: In which I am spread too thin

To be in academia is to multitask. As a principal investigator in a big university, it is becoming increasingly apparent that investigation is not my principal role. Yes, I run a lab (which is in turn defined by multitasks: supervising … Continue reading

Posted in Scientific thinking, Teaching, The profession of science, Writing | 6 Comments