Category Archives: Scientific thinking

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

In which nature imitates science – number 327

Sometimes when you look at something from a different angle, you see something you’d never otherwise have noticed. We’ve been trying to grow melons in the greenhouse, without much success: hundreds of female flowers have unfurled, but only a handful … Continue reading

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In which you can take the girl out of the lab…

I suppose most scientists have the problem of taking their work home with them. And by this I don’t mean the stacks of papers you need to read, or the manuscript you’re writing, or the grant application you’re still cobbling … Continue reading

Posted in Gardening, Scientific thinking, The profession of science | 2 Comments

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 … Continue reading

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