Category Archives: Scientific thinking

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 the pandemic unfolds: a postcard from The Big One?

Epidemics are works in progress. At any given moment in time, you can’t know how they will end. They are a curve on a graph of ultimately unknown trajectory; when you are just a dot on a growing curve, you … Continue reading

Posted in Epidemics, Nostalgia, Scientific thinking, Staring into the abyss, Work/life balance | 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 find out how

Science in your pyjamas: bliss What’s the youngest a person can be exposed to science in a meaningful way? Loyal readers will know that I’ve pondered this question before, especially since becoming a mother. The other day a colleague told … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Joshua, Scientific thinking, Students, Teaching | 1 Comment

In which we grow towards the light

It’s that time of year when the long winter starts to nibble away at your core. Everything feels cold, dark, and dormant, held in abeyance until better times. The festive period is a distant memory, and spring seems so far … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Gardening, Joshua, Scientific thinking, Work/life balance | 1 Comment

In which we science the world

My son just can’t help it. He’s not even doing it deliberately: he’s just acting naturally. Curiosity combined with razor-sharp eyesight is a killer combination for the accidental scientist. He sees things that I miss, with my own failing ocular … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Joshua, Scientific method, Scientific thinking, Work/life balance | 3 Comments

In which I question an assumption: do fiction readers really dislike scientific detail?

My regular readers will know all about Fiction Lab, the world’s first book group devoted to discussing lab lit fiction. We’ve been meeting once a month for just over a decade at London’s Royal Institution to talk about novels with … Continue reading

Posted in LabLit, Scientific thinking, Writing | 10 Comments

In which science imitates life, number 365: zones of death in public transport

I was waiting for the bus this past weekend, ridiculously early to get my son to his swimming lesson across town. Or so I thought. We waited, and waited, and Joshua jumped up and down anxiously, looking adorable with his … Continue reading

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In which I bring Lego to lab meeting

Our floor recently initiated a monthly lunchtime meeting as an informal feedback conduit. Although the individual labs all work in one mammoth communal room, the research that goes on is disparate. The key to propelling your project forward might be … Continue reading

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In which green means go

It’s often been said that witnessing your child grow up is akin to scientific experiment – an intense longitudinal observational study with no control group. As a fan of language in all of its nuances, it’s been fascinating watching Joshua … Continue reading

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