Work and Energy

It has been a quiet week in lab woebegone*. Though we have been working to pack up everything for a move across campus in mid-January, Christmas has intervened to scatter us to our homes, where traditionally we have the time to reflect on the year just past and galvanise ourselves for the one to come.

Lab Woebegone

Except that this year I haven’t had the time. 2011 was for me a year of two halves — before and after taking on the role of director of undergraduate studies within our department of life sciences. Before, I remember very little of what happened. After has been a blur of meetings, emails, phone calls, spreadsheets as I laboured to master my new brief. Most of the time, however, it has mastered me and time for research and blogging has been squeezed. Or crushed, more like.

The Christmas break afforded a couple of days away from these cares in the mellow mix of family life — my lot are pretty easy-going thank goodness — but there is another grant to be wrestled from frustration to submission by early January and that has kept me half-nelsoned to my desk for most of the past few days.

But I am not here to carp, even though there are things I would rather have done with my holiday. Time may be shorter but I wanted to try, however briefly, to turn a sanguine eye towards the new year.

Physical Energy

The photograph above is of GF Watts’ Physical Energy in Kensington Gardens near where I work. I’m a sucker for the sciencey title (energy is a favourite theme) and it is a pivot point for many of my walks or runs in the park. Even on the grayest days, I love its power and the sense of capability, of optimism.

My new responsibilities may have absorbed too much of my life of late but they have also caused me to think anew about the rights and responsibilities of scientists as investigators and teachers, a subject I would like to turn to next year. There is plenty more blogging to be done and I will make the time.

Happy new year to all for 2012!


*Apologies to Garrison Keillor.


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17 Responses to Work and Energy

  1. stephenemoss says:

    Stephen – good luck with the lab move, and I trust the new premises are suitably splendid. And likewise in your role as director of undergraduate studies. This sounds like a terrific (and terrifying) amount of work, I am surely not alone in hoping that you will continue to find time to keep up the regular blogging. atb for 2012.

  2. Wow, good luck with the move… And the equine purchase, I am just merely setting up a lab and am director of nothing, so just reading this makes me tired! Looking forward to reading your 2012 blogs

    • Stephen says:

      I may have to ask you for riding lessons Sylvia. I assume of course that all Americans are trained in that department.

      • sadly I really do fit that stereotype – I am from Tennessee, but its cowboy horse riding not posh, fox-hunting type horse riding… and you have to chew tobacco while you are doin’ it (well maybe gum if you are healthy)

  3. ricardipus says:

    And all the best for 2012 from over here, too. I like your description of the grant proposal: “from frustration to submission”. 🙂

    Unfortunately, I have a rather substantial Letter of Intent due in January, too, as well as the usual stuff. I’m resolutely hiding out until the week starts “for real” on Tuesday!

  4. Frank says:

    Love the horse sculpture. I am always captivated by sculpture that captures a sense of movement. The Four Bronze Horses of Stelios near Piccadilly Circus is another favourite of mine.

  5. Kausik Datta says:

    All the best with the move, Dr. Curry. I just wanted to say, the black-and-white-ness of the photo of your lab somehow seems to be accentuating the woebegone-ness of it. Is this by clever design (“a cunning plan”?) or just incidental?

  6. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Good luck with the grant and the move, Stephen! I hope you’ll be able to find a wee bit more time for blogging in 2012 🙂 <– sincere wish, not a guilt trip!

  7. Steve J says:

    How is the lab move going? Your group size must have fluctuated somewhat with UGs leaving and several PhD/Masters students theoretically finishing over summer?

    We recently moved labs just after Christmas too and are now the largest out of the three groups. One small group doesn’t have any grant money left and the other group won’t move in until a month so we have limited/no equipment! Cue retro balances with dials and internal 100 gram weights…