Category Archives: The profession of science

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

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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 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

Posted in Academia, Domestic bliss, Epidemics, Teaching, The profession of science, Work/life balance | 1 Comment

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 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

Posted in Epidemics, LabLit, science funding, The profession of science, Writing | 5 Comments

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 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 lock down

There is nothing I can write about life on lockdown that has not already been written. Doing so risks the scorn of the likes of Times journalist Matthew Parris, who on Saturday opined: I’m encountering what for me is an … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic bliss, Gardening, Staring into the abyss, The profession of science, Work/life balance | 6 Comments