Category Archives: The profession of science

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

Posted in Academia, Careers, Research, The profession of science | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Academia, The profession of science | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Academia, Students, Teaching, The profession of science | Comments Off on In which the calm cowers before the storm

In which I wave in your general direction

Has it really been a few months since my last post? Holidays are only partially to blame: that covers two weeks. Maybe three, if you count the frazzled week finishing up in the lab beforehand, or the frazzled week on … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Research, The profession of science, Women in science, Work/life balance | Comments Off on In which I wave in your general direction

In which the old girl rides again

As you can see, my young apprentice, your experiments have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational second-hand confocal microscope! My love-affair with second-hand lab equipment continues unabated. Some time ago, our department scored a good … Continue reading

Posted in Kit, Research, The profession of science | 7 Comments

In which work-life balance wobbles

As with most academics, evenings and weekends often provide the extra time I need to stay on top of my workload. I’d rather sacrifice some family time than get behind – because once you’re behind, the anxiety sets in, making … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Research, The profession of science, Women in science, Work/life balance | 3 Comments

In which I feel a bit too old for this game sometimes

Age is a slippery thing. Most days I still feel like that tentative new PhD student, pulling 80-hour weeks at the University of Washington Health Sciences Center in Seattle. By the red glow of the safelight, I’d feed dusky rectangles … Continue reading

Posted in Nostalgia, Scientific method, Students, The profession of science | 2 Comments

In which fiction infiltrates science

Two years ago I was honored to have been one of the recipients of the Suffrage Science award. Launched in 2011 by the Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre, this program involves heirloom jewelry, originally designed by art students at … Continue reading

Posted in LabLit, The profession of science, Women in science, Writing | 2 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