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.
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.
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.