Latest posts

One hundred years old

Just a few years back it seemed unlikely that we would ever celebrate our centenary. We were to be rejuvenated exterminated absorbed into a new Institute.  Back in 2007 when this project was announced we expected that 2013 would be the beginning of the new, and the end of the old Institute just shy of its 100 years. But the awesome immensity of the Continue reading

Posted in 100NIMR, Books, Film and music, History | Comments Off

Who Isn’t an Impostor?

Last week I attended the last day of the British Science Association‘s Festival in Birmingham. There was a real buzz about the place and it had clearly been an extremely successful few days. I enjoyed hearing Ineke de Moortel – the Rosalind Franklin Lecture Award winner – talk about solar flares and sunspots in lucid and accessible terms as p Continue reading

Posted in British Science Association, Communicating Science, Impostor syndrome, Paul Nurse, Robin Ince, Science Culture, Steve Cross | Comments Off

Popular neuroscience book suggestions

Neuroscience isn’t really my thing, so when my teenage daughter came asking for suggestions of a good popular book on the subject I took to Twitter. Several people kindly made suggestions, while others asked to be notified of the outcome of my quest. It seems to be a popular subject.

Here, in no particular order are the titles that were offered. Continue reading

Posted in book review, neuroscience, popsci, popular science | Comments Off

In which we need more lab coats in the Commons

Like many commuters serving as a captive audience on the London Underground, I tend to read the free Evening Standard most nights. I enjoy the op ed pieces by Rosamund Urwin, who has always struck me as both light-hearted and eminently sensible – a good combination for any journalist desirous of keeping the attention of exhausted people trapp Continue reading

Posted in Policy, Politics | Comments Off

Fresh Start, Fresh Anxieties

This is the time of year when anxious students-to-be – and their parents – are contemplating their future. Having established that they have got into University X once A level results are known, they have to work out what the shape of their future life will be. Where will they live? What will their accommodation be like? What will be provided by th Continue reading

Posted in Cambridge University, Churchill College, Freshers, Science Culture | Comments Off

We strapped this baby into a chair. You won’t believe what happened next!

Tired and hungry

Posted in caption competition, Don't try this at home, Nonsense | Comments Off

Men are Parents Too

Another shocking headline) graced the pages of the Daily Telegraph this week, albeit apparently only temporarily before removal. ‘Mother of 3 poised to lead the BBC’ it shrieked, a sentence curiously reminiscent of the way Dorothy Hodgkin’s Nobel Prize was celebrated 50 years ago. Back then the Daily Telegraph announced “Bri Continue reading

Posted in Equality, headlines, Laura Bates, Rona Fairhead, tabpp | Comments Off

In which I am still largely at large: another mother in academia

Blogging appearances to the contrary, I am still alive, clinging gamely to some semblance of work-life balance as a new mother in academia.

Not so new anymore, I realize, as Joshua hurtles, one milestone at a time, toward his first birthday. He sways on his feet, unsupported, for long periods of time, yet is still reluctant to let go as he steps a Continue reading

Posted in Lablit, Science-fiction, students, Teaching, The profession of science, Women in science, Writing | Comments Off

Street signs

My sister and I had very active imaginations when we were kids. We acted out plays with our stuffed animals, pretended we were time travellers, and frequently visited Narnia – but what we really loved was solving mysteries. Fuelled by a diet of books such as Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Adventure series1, we’d pedal around our ne Continue reading

Posted in book review, family, photos, Silliness, Vancouver | Comments Off

Whose Responsbility? It’s too Easy to Say ‘Not Mine’

Despite the news being full of stories about how minorities are disadvantaged in larger or smaller ways, it is far from obvious that rapid progress is being made. The articles I read are full of appropriate shock at everything from the gender pay gap to the lack of women in the board room and misogyny in social media, yet are the organisations that Continue reading

Posted in diversity, Equality, faculty, leadership, support, Women in science | Comments Off

I’m a student, graduate student (found poem)

Coming to you from the twenty-first wonder that is automated voicemail audio-to-text transcription. I have used editorial license to slightly alter some words, and lightly apply punctuation and line breaks. I have not changed any names to protect the innocent – it seemed unnecessary.


Continue reading
Posted in Poem, poetry, science (possibly), voicemail, Writing | Comments Off

I sense a problem with undergraduate education

A lot has been said about job prospects of biomedical graduate students and the ever-declining percentage of Ph.D. graduates who are ultimately able to find academic faculty positions. Indeed, the importance of exposing graduate students to a variety of scientific career options has become recognized in recent years. Many graduate programs, includi Continue reading

Posted in academia, biomedical researcher, career, critical thinking, education, grades, graduate education, graduate program, GRE, IDP, individual development plan, Occam's underwear, Ph.D., PhD, Research, researcher, science, science career, science careers, science jobs, student, students, undergraduate, undergraduate education, undergraduate students | Comments Off

Why Athletics Resembles Academia

Today it’s four years exactly since my first blogpost appeared. Four years of having fun writing about different sorts of things: academic life, committee work and membership, the issues facing women and the joys and frustrations of working at disciplinary interfaces. I have been encouraged by the comments I receive in person, on Twitter and Continue reading

Posted in academia, advice, careers, luck | Comments Off

Good bye my old friend

I met Rick Bigbee, like many people met Rick Bigbee, in Long Creek, South Carolina. He was the head guide for Wildwater, Ltd on the Chattooga River, I was a new guide, intimidated and more than a tiny bit scared. Rick made me feel like I belonged. In the early days, he was my daily cheerleader. He always believed I could do it. Continue reading

Comments Off

On the Email Mountain

August is a quiet month on the email front. Few committee meetings are occurring to clog up the inbox with their multiple attachments of papers. Plus many people are away from their own computers during the school holidays and they probably don’t want to be caught sneaking peeks at their smart phones or tossing off a quick response when they& Continue reading

Posted in August, inbox, language, Science Culture | Comments Off