Category Archives: The profession of science

In which I drift

Today as I walked to the lab from Belsize Park underground station, fallen cobnuts crunched under my shoes, and an obstacle course of shiny brown conkers scattered free from their deflated prickly cases. In the spent edges of Storm Helene, … Continue reading

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In which a new Doctor is born

No, not that Doctor. (Besides, I’m not sure any graduate student would care to regenerate and repeat the experience for all eternity!) My first PhD candidate, Harry Horsley, recently had his viva. Here he is, about an hour before the … 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 are snapped

Current Team Wee-Wee: Jane, Johannes, Dhan, Harry, Monika, Me, Kristina I’ve been meaning to make a lab website for a long time now, but you know how it is: ten million other things intrude, higher priority items forever bumping lower … Continue reading

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In which I hire

A colleague I respect very highly once likened academic careers to a rocket launch: once you hit escape velocity, you’re safely in orbit. Problem is, achieving this state as a post-doc or untenured faculty is becoming increasingly difficult. Hundreds of … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Recruitment, Research, The profession of science | 1 Comment

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 I make myself useful

Two centrifuge buckets, both alike in dignity? It’s a truth universally acknowledged that an ageing group leader is, by definition, out of touch when it comes to the lab. After all, we spend most of our time writing grants and … Continue reading

Posted in Kit, Research, Silliness, The profession of science | 2 Comments

In which horizons expand

Every career probably has a tipping point. Twenty-seven years after embarking on my PhD, a period riddled with false starts, uncertainties, twists and turns, I sense the shifting of weight beneath me and momentum gathering as I start to swing … Continue reading

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In which I am cloistered

I’ve had to do a lot of working from home these past two weeks, as our Athena SWAN submission reaches its final denouement. (Let’s pause to appreciate the image of “Athena SWAN” as a reassuringly corpulent opera singer with Viking … 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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