Category Archives: Research

In which my lab is a garden

It’s a grey afternoon, the light already fading. R. and I have just done a circuit of the back garden – ‘inspecting the troops’, we call it. The entire space is dishevelled, as it always is this time of year: … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Research, The profession of science, Work/life balance | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Gardening, Joshua, Research, Staring into the abyss, Students, Teaching, The profession of science, Work/life balance | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Academia, Careers, Nostalgia, Research, Staring into the abyss, The ageing process, The profession of science, Women in science | 5 Comments

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 face the rain

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 could have imagined before 2020. A trip … Continue reading

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In which we home-school science: introducing #HomeSci, a social media experiment

From this coming Monday in the United Kingdom, all schools are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that many parents will be working from home and looking after their children at the same time. And not just looking … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Joshua, Research, Scientific method, Teaching | 1 Comment

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 we are snapped

Current Team Wee-Wee: Jane, Johannes, Dhan, Harry, Monika, Me, Kristina I’ve been meaning to make a lab website for a long time now, but you know how it is: ten million other things intrude, higher priority items forever bumping lower … Continue reading

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In which I hire

A colleague I respect very highly once likened academic careers to a rocket launch: once you hit escape velocity, you’re safely in orbit. Problem is, achieving this state as a post-doc or untenured faculty is becoming increasingly difficult. Hundreds of … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Careers, Recruitment, Research, The profession of science | 1 Comment