Category Archives: Teaching

In which I assess

It’s that time of year – piles of booklets appearing on my desk faster than I can clear them out. Baffling handwriting, detailed rubrics, Excel spreadsheets, moderation sessions, similarity scores, pens of many different colored inks. Short answer questions, dissertations, … Continue reading

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In which we find out how

Science in your pyjamas: bliss What’s the youngest a person can be exposed to science in a meaningful way? Loyal readers will know that I’ve pondered this question before, especially since becoming a mother. The other day a colleague told … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Joshua, Scientific thinking, Students, Teaching | 1 Comment

In which age is no impediment to scientific discourse

Joshua has had quite a few vaccinations in his four-and-a-half years – the usual routine inoculations for standard childhood illnesses and a couple (chicken pox and meningitis B) that are not on the NHS menu. The last time I took … Continue reading

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In which life slips past

Time is passing. My baby son has somehow turned four years old, and a very significant birthday approaches in a month’s time for me as well. The seasons are changing. We’ve stopped watering the withered tomato vines, seen the last … Continue reading

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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 experiment

My three-year-old son Joshua is a bright and curious boy, full of incessant questions and always wanting to get into everything. The other day he noticed that when he was sucking up juice with a straw, the level of liquid … Continue reading

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In which the calm cowers before the storm

Can you hear it? Yes, that’s the sound of a distinct lack of undergraduates knocking around the place. Even the summer lab students have departed, off for a few weeks of R&R or debauchery before the grind kicks back in … Continue reading

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In which I finally get it: multitasking is evil

It’s a new year, and the academic term has kicked in with renewed vigor. I haven’t written here for a while because I simply didn’t have the mental capacity. I collapsed into the Christmas holidays nearly flattened with exhaustion and … 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 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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