Author Archives: Athene Donald

Not Knowing Where You Are Going

One of the initiatives I started when I became Master of Churchill College was a series of public conversations with eminent women, many – but by no means all – academics. To start with I was quite nervous: would I … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in A levels, careers, Churchill College, education, Fens, Science 2040, Science Culture, Sharon Peacock | Leave a comment

Stupid Chemists (perhaps)

I’ve recently returned from my annual visit to the High Polymer Research Group Conference, held at the picturesquely named village of Pott Shrigley at the Western edge of the Peak District. This is a conference about which I have written … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in careers, data, Pott Shrigley, Research, robots, Science Culture | Leave a comment

Moving On from a Victorian Ideal

I’ve recently been reading How the Victorians took us to the Moon by Iwan Rhys Morus. It’s an interesting book, but what particularly struck me was the Epilogue, which has reflections on how the Victorian way of doing science in … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in Amanda Solloway, incentives, lone genius, Research, reward, Science Culture | Comments Off on Moving On from a Victorian Ideal

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