Author Archives: Athene Donald

The (Damaging) Power of Silence

There are many strategies for dealing with an overfull inbox, not all of which are helpful to the person who sent the email. I have weeks where I feel more or less on top of things and other weeks where … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in bullying, complicit, email, power imbalance, Science Culture | Comments Off on The (Damaging) Power of Silence

What (and How) Should We Teach our Children?

In the world of social media and ChatGPT, a post-Covid world and a world where climate change and war put everything and everyone under new strains and worse, what should our students – at school or university – be taught … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in broad and balanced, curriculum, Curriculum for Excellence, education, Simon Margison | Comments Off on What (and How) Should We Teach our Children?

Hunstanton Sand

I’ve just started reading a book called The Spirit of Enquiry by Susannah Gibson, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, an interesting society of which I was once a committee member (as well as a prize-winner). I … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Adam Sedgwick, Chladni's plate, Communicating Science, lectures, standing waves | Comments Off on Hunstanton Sand

Transferable Skills and Career Paths

I am honoured to have been invited to give the Gareth Roberts Lecture in Durham next month (in the Physics Department), following a long line of distinguished speakers. To be honest, I did not know that he had been associated … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in careers, Civil Service, Policy, Sir Gareth Roberts, Transferable skills | Comments Off on Transferable Skills and Career Paths

New Year, New You

We all know New Year’s resolutions tend to last no longer than the first week or two, but it does no harm to reflect at this time of year what might improve body and soul as well as output and … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Churchill College, exercise, muscles, Science Culture | Comments Off on New Year, New You

Being Exceptional

One of the books I read over Christmas was the 2023 book by Kate Zernike, The Exceptions. It is a story about that committed band of sixteen female scientists at MIT, led by Nancy Hopkins, who built up the evidence … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Kate Zernike, MIT, Nancy Hopkins, Science Culture, Women in science | Comments Off on Being Exceptional

Not Being in the In-Crowd

Recently I was preparing a talk about work scientists may do that is not simply research and it has provoked me to think about when I fell into doing policy work, or at least moving out of the lab itself. … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Food Physics, grant panels, maternity leave, Research, Science Culture, Women in science | Comments Off on Not Being in the In-Crowd

Skills and Post-16 Education

In his Anniversary Day address to the Royal Society’s Fellowship last week, the President, Adrian Smith, drew attention to the state of our education system, recognizing that the Prime Minister’s intent to “reform the education system to include some form … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Augar Review, Dave Phoenix, education, Further Education, Kelly Vere, T Levels | Comments Off on Skills and Post-16 Education

Conversations in Amazing Libraries

Remarkably, I have been in three magnificent rooms of books in the last week, starting off with the Wren Library in Cambridge’s Trinity College. The first photo (which I admit I have taken from Diane Coyle’s Bluesky feed) gives an … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Communicating Science, Diane Coyle, Mary Somerville, Royal Institution, Tabitha Goldstaub, Women in science, Wren Library | Comments Off on Conversations in Amazing Libraries

Talking to Strangers

I was struck by an article in the Guardian written by Catherine Carr about the pleasure she derives from talking to strangers, which forms the basis of her podcast ‘Where are you going?’ (disclaimer, I’ve never listened to it or, … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in advice, Greyhound bus, Ithaca, Science Culture, therapy, Women in science | Comments Off on Talking to Strangers

The Things You Don’t Know You Know

It is very easy, at any stage in a career, to look at your peers and think they have everything solved while you are wandering around in the dark. This is, of course, an illusion. They will be looking at … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in experts, Science Culture, Simon McDonald | Comments Off on The Things You Don’t Know You Know

Being Festive about Women in STEM

Last week I attended an event at Murray Edwards College, a Women in STEM Festival. Dorothy Byrne, their President though not herself a scientist (she studied Philosophy at Manchester), had done a fantastic job in bringing together a wide range … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Chi Onwurah, Dorothy Byrne, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Murray Edwards College, Women in science | Comments Off on Being Festive about Women in STEM

Voice: Finding Yours

Last week I was the protagonist in the curious ritual called a ‘post-prandial’ talk at my College (Churchill). In other words, after the whole Fellowship had met for the formal governance activity known as ‘Governing Body’, and after dinner (prandium … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in authenticity, Carol Gilligan, Communicating Science, giving talks, Maggie Thatcher, Women in science | Comments Off on Voice: Finding Yours

Beyond the Comfort Zone

Last week started off in unfamiliar ways. I’ve written before about the challenges of doing something for the first time, and this week I had two consecutive days of things that felt stressful and unusual to me. These issues of … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Communicating Science, Labour, New Scientist Live, Peter Kyle, Science Funding | Comments Off on Beyond the Comfort Zone

New Scientist Live and Other Talks

It’s the start of a new term in Cambridge and this weekend the streets around the city will be full of nervous looking parents trying to find somewhere to park to unpack their anxious looking children. (One of the many … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Carol Monaghan, Not just for the boys, talks, Women in science | Comments Off on New Scientist Live and Other Talks