Category Archives: Academia

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 business is not quite as usual: the post-first-wave lab resumes

Business as usual is the sort of mentality that’s probably only certain in retrospect. At the moment, the jury is still very much out. My lab reopened its doors a few weeks ago. This is, of course, a wonderful thing. … Continue reading

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In which we venture out

We are poised on the edge. As the world teeters between spring and summer, cloaked in lush green and bursting into flower, there is a sense that our pandemic lockdown is coming to an end. Not all at once, of … Continue reading

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In which I defend the birds-eye view

Is science about obsessing over one tiny daub of paint? Or is it about standing back and appreciating the entire picture? At the poster session of a recent meeting, I was chatting with a engaging young woman about her research … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Research, Scientific method, Scientific thinking | 2 Comments

In which darkness comes knocking

It’s quite telling that the back end of this blog site is full of recent drafts, abandoned a few lines in. I have ideas, and most evenings, the time, to dash something off. But something, recently, is sapping my creative … Continue reading

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In which I assess

It’s that time of year – piles of booklets appearing on my desk faster than I can clear them out. Baffling handwriting, detailed rubrics, Excel spreadsheets, moderation sessions, similarity scores, pens of many different colored inks. Short answer questions, dissertations, … Continue reading

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In which I run aground

It’s been a long winter, and the past academic term seemed to stretch on forever, a blur of stress and deadlines punctuated by good news and bad. My lab got another paper accepted, and my outline-stage grant was shortlisted. But … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, science funding, Staring into the abyss, The ageing process, Work/life balance | 11 Comments

In which I evolve (or possibly, devolve) as a scientist

Last Thursday was a normal day. After a few hours at my desk working on a grant application and a paper revision, I ran to the tube station, threw myself into a train down to the main campus, trudged a … Continue reading

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In which I drift

Today as I walked to the lab from Belsize Park underground station, fallen cobnuts crunched under my shoes, and an obstacle course of shiny brown conkers scattered free from their deflated prickly cases. In the spent edges of Storm Helene, … Continue reading

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