Latest posts

Common sense policies to promote reproducibility in science

The ability of scientists to reproduce published experimental data from other laboratories is the foundation for all scientific advance. Indeed, the whole point of publishing is to educate other scientists (and the public in general) and to build a scaffold of information that will allow others, immediately or at some indeterminate time in the futu Continue reading

Posted in ASBMB, ASCB, biomedical research, data, experimental design, Journal of Biological Chemistry, materials, methods, Molecular Biology of then Cell, National Institutes of Health, papers, post publication review, pretend peer review, reproducibility, Research, Scam, science, scientific publishing | Comments Off on Common sense policies to promote reproducibility in science

The Wandering Jew

IMGP7954New view from our back deck. The path around the lake is precisely 1 mile.

Condemned to eternally wander from place to place? I guess that could describe my life. Continue reading

Posted in home, omaha, science, Wandering Jew | Comments Off on The Wandering Jew

Letters from Europe

This weekend’s Guardian has a quite wonderful feature comprised of letters to Britain from European writers about the decision to be made in the upcoming referendum. It offers a fresh and little-heard perspective on a debate that has become worn out and embittered over the past few weeks. I urge you to read it

What you will read is that every con Continue reading

Posted in international | Comments Off on Letters from Europe

How to look at Art?

I was sneered at on Twitter yesterday for sneering at people taking pictures of the Impressionist paintings on display at the Musée D’Orsay in Paris.


Fair enough perhaps. I had adopted an exaggerated version of the pontifical tone that comes so readily when composing tweets and not everyone saw the funny side. Continue reading

Posted in Science & Art | Comments Off on How to look at Art?

Would you like fries with that ? (my time at the wonderful world of Wendy’s

I graduated from high school in 1986. I was 18, I had a job and a $600 Chevy Chevette and was living in an apartment with (too many) other folks and wasn’t going to University. I was gainfully employed at a wage of $3.35 per hour at the fast-food paradise Wendy’s, where the clockin/clockout culture ensured you didn’t get paid wh Continue reading

Posted in Wendy's, Western Sizzlin' steakhouse, working poor | Comments Off on Would you like fries with that ? (my time at the wonderful world of Wendy’s

“Saving One” — my new lab lit novel

FRONT COVER-jpeg-convert

Over the past two years, I have been avidly writing and editing my new lab lit novel, Saving One. This is the story of a widowed biomedical researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, who has a fateful decision to make. Both of his twin sons are diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and require urgent transplants.

Continue reading
Posted in biomedical research, book, Books, characters, fiction, kidney transplant, Kindle Scout, lab lit, laboratory, medical thriller, National Institutes of Health, NIH, nomination, polycystic kidney disease, Research, researcher, Saving One, science, Writing | Comments Off on “Saving One” — my new lab lit novel

What’s Missing from the White Paper?

This post first appeared on the Campaign for Science and Engineering’s website on 19-5-16

With over 600 responses to the Green Paper consultation, Jo Johnson and his team have had plenty of advice to consider. And some of the White Paper content shows he clearly has listened. Whilst recognizing much that is encouraging in the document, I woul Continue reading

Comments Off on What’s Missing from the White Paper?

In which the old girl rides again

Second-Hand Confocal

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. Continue reading

Posted in Kit, Research, The profession of science | Comments Off on In which the old girl rides again

ICYMI No. 5: Asking universities to be open about research assessment

I first wrote about the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) when it was launched in May 2013. DORA is a simple statement asking the different players in the business of academic research to free themselves from the damaging effects of relying on journal impact factors when assessing researchers and their research – and suggestin Continue reading

Posted in ICYMI, Open Access | Comments Off on ICYMI No. 5: Asking universities to be open about research assessment

The Competitive Streak in Academia

Does being competitive necessarily mean foregoing kindness? In essence this was the question posed to Uta Frith at the end of her public conversation with me last week (you can hear the whole conversation here). Uta didn’t give a completely explicit answer but it seems to me the answer has to be no, not necessarily, but it does depend who you are t Continue reading

Posted in Carol Robinson, impact factor, Mary Beard, Meaning of Success, Science Culture, Uta Frith, Women in science | Comments Off on The Competitive Streak in Academia

How much is my sanity worth?

largeI think that many scientists today would likely agree that writing grants (and worrying about funding) can drive a person to insanity. A question that I’ve never really pondered until recently is “Would I trade my sanity for a grant?” And if so, what size of a grant would warrant relinquishing my treasured stable mental state?

The reason that this Continue reading

Posted in funding, grant, proposal, relief, Research, sanity, science | Comments Off on How much is my sanity worth?

Transitory Mercury

I wasn’t sure if I was going to get to see today’s celestial encounter. The forecast was for blanket cover by early afternoon and the blue skies of the morning had largely filled with cloud by lunchtime, when the transit was due to start – 12:12 pm to be precise — this stuff runs like clockwork.

Transit of Mercury

From the bus-stop I scanned the heavens with an anxi Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy | Comments Off on Transitory Mercury

Putting a Value on the Intangible

Does being around trees make you less stressed? A recent study claims it does and, for many of us, green spaces undoubtedly confer a sense of peace and a place to sit and relax. Do trees confer benefits that can be measured? Economists want to do this since they want to weigh up the pros and cons of planting trees in urban areas (versus, presumably Continue reading

Posted in academia, economists, education, gardens, widening participation | Comments Off on Putting a Value on the Intangible

Embedding the People in our Labs

Scientists are people, they have emotions and they interact with their peers, their students, their professors….and indeed the public. Sometimes, however, scientists are represented as interacting with little more than glassware or white lab coats. We can be perceived as living in a hermetically sealed bubble of our own construction occasionally ch Continue reading

Posted in book review, Hope Jahren, Lab Girl, relationships, Science Culture, students | Comments Off on Embedding the People in our Labs