Author Archives: Sylvia McLain

About Sylvia McLain

Girl, Interrupting aka Dr. Sylvia McLain is a bio-physicist in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford (UK), but she blogs in a personal capacity. She is also a proto-science writer, armchair philosopher, amateur plumber and wanna-be film-critic. You can follow her on Twitter @DrSylviaMcLain

Diversity? Who needs your diversity, we already know we are the smartest people in the room.

I am a member of an exclusive club. We, in our club, decide who the smartest people in the world are. The club, naturally, only contains white women who are below 5 foot 3 inches in height; 1.61 meters for … Continue reading

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On Serena (not the Tennis player) and the Smokies. Read the book, avoid the film.

“Read this book, you’ll love it. It’s set in Appalachia.” This was what my reading guru said as she handed it to me over the summer. I am from Appalachia. Technically, like a large proportion of American kids my age, … Continue reading

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On double standards – in Tennis and otherwise

I know next to nothing about the official rules of Tennis. I do, however, know a bit about double standards. Societally, women are often expected to operate at a different standard to men. Usually, it is a higher standard. Not … Continue reading

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On quotas in Academia – do we need them?

As a graduate student I was asked to participate in a `women in science’ group. I refused. I was an old(er) grad student compared to my cohort, my goal was to get in and get out as fast as practically … Continue reading

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On ‘lower impact’ publishing – it’s better than you might think.

Over the course of the last two or so years, I have had a number of personal issues to deal with. Family illnesses, the sudden death of my older brother and some other things (I will spare you the gory … Continue reading

Posted in Impact Factor, scientific publishing, Uncategorized | 22 Comments

On harassment, the power differential and a modicum of hope

In 1991, I came down with a sudden stomach bug. As is common when I am too ill to think, all I could manage was planting myself in front of the television in an effort to keep myself mildly distracted … Continue reading

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On taking a knee

When I was a teenager the 1980’s there was a spate of burning the Stars and Stripes in the US, as a protest to Ronald Reagan’s policies. Which particular policy is hard to remember as Ronnie had a whole heap … Continue reading

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On Louise Richardson and the avoidance of homophobic teaching

Oxford Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson is causing quite a stir this week. For one, she gets paid a lot of money – which is not as much as footballers or bankers and less than her peers in the US. Prof. Richardson’s … Continue reading

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You only got it ’cause you’re a girl

This week there was a fabulous article, by Alison Coil, on the bias against women in the sciences and why men don’t believe it exists. For ‘men’ you could just as well read ‘the establishment’ because we know not all … Continue reading

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Stop re-writing Confederate History : this includes you Simon Jenkins

Simon Jenkins published an opinion piece yesterday in The Guardian entitled With every sneer, liberals just make Trump stronger. Jenkins derides those who deride Trump and his supporters and he thinks that Trump missed a trick in criticising the left: … Continue reading

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