A few months ago I had a Twitter encounter with an American far-right Trump supporter.
Unbeknownst to me, this man had been lurking and – as incongruous as it sounds – apparently enjoying my Twitter feed (which is largely, these days, random stuff about science, literature and women in science, sprinkled with occasional absurdity). That is, until I made a rare snide remark about A Continue reading →
‘In 2019, the “two cultures” described by CP Snow in 1959 will have finally ceased to have meaning.’
So said Russell Foster in a recent article in Wired. Russell is clearly an optimist and I fear I do not share his optimism, despite all the evidence he adduces in his piece. The examples he cites – including statistics about visitors to the Science Museum – unfortunately only refer t Continue reading →
As stories of harassment and bullying multiply in the media (social and otherwise), it is worth thinking about what it is in management and leadership that lets situations get out of hand. Too often I hear the phrase that someone is ‘on the spectrum’ provided as a rationale for why they aren’t too good at interpersonal relationships within a lab or team. I find the phrase objectionable Continue reading →
Over the years, when I have been battered, bruised and even left bleeding from online exchanges, I think back to my abrupt and unintentional induction into science communication; to my first forays into blogging. Continue reading →
I fell a bit behind with the shopping lists, which is a shame because I really wanted to show you this one before Christmas.
It’s a full-blown pre-Christmas shop. Right at the top we’ve got mistletoe and greenery—both queried though: maybe she (definitely a ‘she’) wasn’t sure if Waitrose would have them, or maybe there was already another trip planned.
As a child I occasionally got sucked into a strange pyramid
form of exchanging postcards, an old-fashioned form of chain mail (but not of
the metal variety). The details escape me but the basic idea was that you
contacted half a dozen of your friends to encourage them to continue the chain
and sent a picture postcard to the person whose name had reached the top of the
list you yourself receiv Continue reading →
So that was Christmas. And what I did was a little project that you might have missed: a photo for every day of Christmas, from the first to the twelfth. No commentary or explanation, just the photo, and the day as a title. Continue reading →
new year, and the cursor blinks at me accusingly. It knows I have not written
here for some time, and perhaps it wonders why, given that thoughts and
feelings are gathering restlessly in my brain and need to get out.
After a marathon blitz of unsociable and family-unfriendly grant writing over the holidays, I finally have a few hours of solitude I can spend, like a pocketful of the Continue reading →
New Year’s Eve has always been more of a time for reflection for me, rather than a time for partying. Perhaps this stems from growing up in a Canadian climate where late December and early January (or more accurately, October through April) and the accompanying bone-chilling cold and darkness were more l Continue reading →
New Year’s Eve is almost upon us, so here we are again at the close of one long year and the start of another. Personally, it has been a year of endings and beginnings. Readers of this blog would be forgiven for thinking that it is one of the things that I have wound down in 2018, but in fact I am hoping to stir it to new life.
Historians of the future will no doubt make much of the UK’s political ramifications of the moment. This week has seen a particularly strange spectacle as the Tory party tears itself apart and the Labour party seems unable to sort itself out and step into the breach of political leadership. I happened to be in Brussels during the excitement of the no-confidence vote against Theresa May. That was n Continue reading →
It’s a simple recipe. Gather together some people who want to change the world. Put some inspirational speakers in front of them to get people fired up about diversity in science. Provide cakes and biscuits. Teach some basic skills in editing and writing for Wikipedia, then set them loose on a list of scientists who deserve, but don’t yet have, biographical articles in Wikipedia. Continue reading →
The question of what should the composition of any team ‘look’ like remains one I feel uncertain about. Whereas a list of a dozen invited speakers who are all males smacks of bias or incompetence rather than a true reflection of those whose work is outstanding, if a senior executive team is small enough, say 4, but is all male can one say the same thing? There was the year my College was run by a Continue reading →
Have a setback, bounce back. That is what all the self-help books would proclaim loud and clear. It applies as much in science as anywhere else, perhaps more so since the setback need not be in one’s career or personal dealings with others as in the experiments that go wrong again and again and again. It is, you may think, easy for the self-help books to trumpet such resilience but who really mana Continue reading →