Author Archives: Jennifer Rohn

About Jennifer Rohn

Scientist, novelist, rock chick

In which we fall

Fireworks crackle in the darkness: yesterday’s Bonfire Night stretching to fill the entire weekend. The torrential rains have given way to an almost full moon, glowing cold-silver in the eastern sky. November is always a positive month, with the cosiness … Continue reading Continue reading

Posted in academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Joshua, Research, staring into the abyss, students, Teaching, The profession of science, work-life balance | Leave a comment

In which I cherish useless facts

I’ve just had my first letter to the editor published in the Times (of London, that is, not of New York). It wasn’t an urgent missive about science policy or politics or the state of the world or the Queen’s … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which climate apocalypse feels inevitable

Here in England, we are braced for an historic heat wave. The Met Office has issued its first ever ‘Red Warning of Extreme Heat‘ for much of the UK, with temperatures set to reach a new record of 40 degrees … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which ‘Lab Lit’ escapes its little box

It’s been many moons since I published an article in Nature featuring my graph illustrating the apparent year-on-year increase in frequency of novels with scientists as central characters – or ‘lab lit‘. The trend had looked compelling, but coming from … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which I see the light

I’m happy, and I don’t know why. Usually I dread this time of year, the period between demobbing the Christmas tree and the daffodil-studded benevolence of mid-March. It stretches on endlessly, the dreary coldness, the frosts interspersed with rain that … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which I imagine a dystopian future

Despite my dedication to promoting the Lab Lit genre, I’ve always been an avid science fiction fan too. I admire how a good dystopian tale can transport you into a terrifying alternative future so convincingly that when you emerge from … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which I break through

Sometimes the things you fear the most aren’t as bad as the fear itself. About two years ago, I gave my first media interview on what was then generally referred to as “the Wuhan coronavirus”. It was still three days … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which pandemic storm clouds gather – again

A number of months have slipped past since I last wrote here, two seasons under the bridge as my ramped-up academic life has consumed most of my free time. Then, it was the height of optimistic summer; now, the year … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which academic dreams come true: a belated professorship

I have wanted to be a scientist since before I can remember. I did all the right things: I studied hard, finished my homework, raised my hand in class, failed to hide the fact that I loved learning, even though … Continue reading Continue reading

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In which summers shrink

Academics talk nostalgically about rosy-tinted times of yore when summers meant a lull in lecturing duties. The months would unfold before you, a vast landscape of research possibilities. It was a time to write papers, craft grants, catch up with … Continue reading

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In which normal life flickers just ’round the corner

Today on a neighbourhood walk with my son, blustery and cold with a few flecks of rain, we passed a window that still had a faded child-drawn rainbow and the advice to “stay safe”. It struck me as rather quaint, … Continue reading

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In which we near end-game

Sight for sore eyes January and February are always my least favorite months, but I can’t remember a winter when I longed for spring as desperately as this one. It’s the pandemic, of course, which has sucked the world dry … Continue reading

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In which life imitates art, and an epidemic leaps off the page

In mid-November, a journalist from BBC Southeast contacted me about a perplexing rise in COVID-positive cases in the nearby borough of Swale, a mainly rural part of Kent known for its fruit orchards, beer hops and vast areas of marshland … Continue reading

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In which winter sets in

Unexpected color Although winter has not yet formally begun, this is the time of year when the darkness stretches ahead into infinity. In the face of this, the prospect of brighter days, of snowdrops and crocuses pushing up from the … Continue reading

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In which we face the rain

One of our white wine 2018 vintages How quickly strangeness becomes familiarity. As autumn hunkers down, and the COVID infection rates continue to rise (nearly 13,000 cases reported yesterday in the UK), I see things around me that I never … Continue reading

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