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Budapest

Everything the light touches

Everything the light touches

Posted in Budapest, Fun, Holiday, The Lion King | Comments Off on Budapest

Who Do You Care For?

The challenges associated with parental responsibilities are obvious and much-discussed. For many scientists they can seem overwhelming, limiting and sometimes ultimately career-destroying. The recent booklet published by the Royal Society (Parent Carer Scientist) that I wrote about before, attempts to bust some of the myths and show the many diffe Continue reading

Posted in caring, elder care, Equality, health, parents, Science Culture | Comments Off on Who Do You Care For?

Review: The Many Worlds of Albie Bright

After publishing my round-up of the books I’d read in 2015, the author Christopher Edge got in touch via twitter to offer a review copy of his new book, The Many Worlds of Albie Bright.

It’s a short novel for children which has an ambitious amount of science threaded into the plot. At the beginning of the story young Albie has just lost his physici Continue reading

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Metavation

I first came to work at NIMR Mill Hill back in the blessed innocent times of 1989. After a few months my boss sent me on a course about ‘Motivation’. The course was organised by Aslib, and was held at their grand HQ in London’s Belgrave Square. It was good to be out of the office dor a day, having some thinking time with a group of other librarians Continue reading

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How Not to Chair a Committee

Whether as a student or a professor (or indeed at any level in between) I would suspect there isn’t a reader of this blog who hasn’t had to sit through a meeting of some type or other where the Chair has intensely irritated them somehow. There are of course a huge variety of ways to fail to chair a committee well. What follows are some descriptions Continue reading

Posted in committee meetings, incompetence, Science Culture, sexism | Comments Off on How Not to Chair a Committee

Dare to Dream: Parent Carer Scientist

This post first appeared here on the Huffington Post on 9th March 2016.

‘Science Needs Women’ says L’Oreal’s tagline succinctly for its For Women in Science Campaign. Science needs women to ensure the best science is done by the most talented individuals, whatever their gender. It needs women to be creative and to think late Continue reading

Posted in careers, Equality, parents, Royal Society, Women in science | Comments Off on Dare to Dream: Parent Carer Scientist

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 Central St Martins College, being passed down from one ‘generation’ of women to the next.

As I wrote a Continue reading

Posted in Lablit, The profession of science, Women in science, Writing | Comments Off on In which fiction infiltrates science

ICYMI No. 2: Time for positive action on negative results

Today I had a short opinion piece in Chemical and Engineering News on publishing negative results, a topic that I covered about this time last year in the Guardian on the occasion of the publication my lab’s first paper on an experiment that didn’t work out.

Basically, I think it’s a good idea. The practice will help to correct the positive bias in Continue reading

Posted in Academic publishing, Chemical and Engineering News, ICYMI, science, science publishing | Comments Off on ICYMI No. 2: Time for positive action on negative results

A Tale of Politics, Policy and Nerves

Walking in to the Babbage Lecture Theatre in the centre of Cambridge last week took me straight back to what I suspect was the first lecture I ever attended (or should that be endured?) in Cambridge as an undergraduate. I’m sure I must have been back in this particular lecture theatre since that time when I was a timid fresher, but I can’t remember Continue reading

Posted in Carlos Moedas, Downing Street Declaration, EU, Impostor syndrome, Jo Johnson, Science Culture | Comments Off on A Tale of Politics, Policy and Nerves

Meeting David Attenborough at the Royal Institution

On Wednesday of this past week I found myself in the presence of royalty and felt quite giddy. It happened at a Royal Institution shindig to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the first televised broadcast of their world-famous Christmas lectures.

As you can see in the photograph below the Duke of York was in the room but that’s not the type of roya Continue reading

Posted in Science & Media | Comments Off on Meeting David Attenborough at the Royal Institution

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 like-minded collaborator about the great work we’d like to do together, and emerge from it buzzing with plans and ideas. I preside over a Continue reading

Posted in academia, careers, Research, Scientific thinking, Silliness, staring into the abyss, The profession of science | Comments Off on In which we are unlucky: on lab superstitions

National Academies and the Gender Mix Around the World

National academies of science serve a variety of purposes including recognizing the country’s eminent scientists and providing an impartial (usually) voice to government and other policy makers. If this voice is to be truly representative it needs to be inclusive. For too long academies have not lived up to this. This isn’t simply a case of Western Continue reading

Posted in Equality, Interacademies Partnership, national academies, Rosalind Franklin, Royal Society, Women in science | Comments Off on National Academies and the Gender Mix Around the World

Drinking Habits of the Academic

Do we, poor misguided academics drink too much? I am sure many of us could do with drinking less but I was surprised to see the Guardian’s Academics Anonymous complaining that Russell group universities ply everyone with too much alcohol. In my experience – as a scientist so I cannot comment on whether other disciplines do the same – there is actua Continue reading

Posted in alcohol, Phd student training, Science Culture, seminars | Comments Off on Drinking Habits of the Academic

Fire and ice (water) — parallels to inflammation

IMG_3438
The hallway in front of my lab space filled with fans for drying the moisture.

Things have been a little hectic around here recently. And to make things even more challenging, there was a fire on the floor above me last weekend. The good news is that no one was hurt, and the fire was put out by the automatic sprinkler system fairly quickly. Continue reading

Posted in equipment, fire, lab, labs, omaha, Research, science, sprinkler, water damage | Comments Off on Fire and ice (water) — parallels to inflammation

On Being Biased

The subject of unconscious bias training has risen swiftly up the agenda at many organisations with the recognition that we are, almost without exception, guilty of it. (If you think you’re exempt, try the Project Implicit tests.) Be it that we fail to assume women are as competent at science or leadership as men – the manifestation in which I am m Continue reading

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