Category Archives: Staring into the abyss

In which I preserve

I often think about how ancient survival strategies are probably still encoded somewhere deep in our chromosomes, cryptic and dormant but with the potential to be roused by the faintest of stimuli. For me, recent unrest in the world has … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Gardening, Joshua, Staring into the abyss, The ageing process, Work/life balance | Comments Off on In which I preserve

In which we ride the imposter rollercoaster – again

We often think of our personalities and tendencies as being immutable, fixed, typical. But the older I get, the better I know myself. And what I know is that I’m often no more in control of my perceptions of self … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Research, Staring into the abyss, Teaching, The profession of science | 5 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 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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In which I lose my way

An autumn breeze flutters the paperwork on my desk: a credit card bill; a daily report from my son’s nursery (complete with meals, sleep times and nappy composition); a manuscript I’m proofing for a colleague – all held down by … Continue reading

Posted in Staring into the abyss, The profession of science | 4 Comments

In which I avoid the topic

I have been downtrodden this week, struggling to stay afloat in this erratic and stormy sea we call academic science. I suspect there is a post in there waiting to get out, but I am too blue (and overworked) to … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Silliness, Staring into the abyss | 1 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, … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, Staring into the abyss, 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

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 which the postdoc sell-by date continues to shrivel: The MRC comes to its senses

How do you judge the worth of a researcher? In particular, can you tell how excellent she is by how quickly she gets from point A to point B in her career? The funding bodies used to think speed was … Continue reading

Posted in Careers, science funding, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science, Women in science | 1 Comment

In which a tale of antibiotics takes form

It’s a grey afternoon outside the study window. This morning a thick fog erased the usual twinkling lights of Tilbury Docks along the estuary, with seagoing vessels blowing their horns in long, sonorous warnings. A fitting soundtrack, as tomorrow spells … Continue reading

Posted in Science talking, Staring into the abyss | 3 Comments