Category Archives: Science

Photographs of 2020

My computer tells me that I took over 2,400 photographs in 2020. Here are my favourites. I’m afraid I have failed to whittle them down to fewer than seventy-five. Click on the first image, taken on a winter walk on … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Comments Off on Photographs of 2020

No, DeepMind has not solved protein folding

(Please note that this post was updated on 12th Dec 2020 – see below) This week DeepMind has announced that, using artificial intelligence (AI), it has solved the 50-year old problem of ‘protein folding’. The announcement was made as the … Continue reading

Posted in Protein Crystallography, Science | 23 Comments

Nature’s new open access option – a few first thoughts

A news article published online in Nature this morning discusses the announcement of new open access options in the Nature family of journals. The details are in the article, but the basic story (written by Holly Else) is that authors … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Comments Off on Nature’s new open access option – a few first thoughts

Teaching online: how to use an iPad as a whiteboard

Last week I gave my first online tutorials in which I needed to scribble on a whiteboard and show the students their exam scripts from last term, which had been posted to my home. To solve both of these problems, … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 5 Comments

The Flattened Curve

The lockdown might have flattened the curve of infection and death, but it has also flattened the curve and swell of life. Existence has shrunk to fit within four walls; life ‘outside’ has largely been compressed within the flat rectangles of … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Comments Off on The Flattened Curve

Three weeks

Just three weeks ago, on eve of the weekend, my wife and I met an old friend for dinner at a restaurant in Southwark. Even then, the most normal things in the world were beginning to feel risky. Our friend … Continue reading

Posted in Science | 2 Comments

My carbon bootprint

What was your carbon footprint for 2019? Mine was more of a bootprint, almost entirely because of flying. International travel has long been considered one of the perks of academic life, something that lifted the job out of the ordinary … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Scientific Life, Travel | 10 Comments

Time for reflection

I think of Sunday as the last day of the week, not the first. Today, at the end of a hard week on political and personal fronts (though why the political and personal should be seen as separate I am … Continue reading

Posted in Science, Science & Politics, Scientific Life | 1 Comment

Berlin Debate – Who owns science?

Yesterday I had the privilege of participating in the 14th Berlin Debate on Science and Science Policy, which is hosted by the Robert Bosch Foundation. This year the invited participants discussed “Who owns science? Reshaping the Scientific Value Chain in … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Comments Off on Berlin Debate – Who owns science?

First impressions: the DORA-HHMI meeting on research assessment reform

My feet have hardly touched the ground since I got back from the DORA-HHMI meeting on “Driving Institutional Change for Research Assessment Reform” in Washington DC last week, but I wanted to log a few first impressions. I can’t hope … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Comments Off on First impressions: the DORA-HHMI meeting on research assessment reform

How to value what cannot be measured?

This post is a transcript of my opening remarks at the a Great Debate held earlier today at the European Geosciences Union 2019 meeting in Vienna. The debate asked us to consider the question: What value should we place on contributions … Continue reading

Posted in Academic publishing, Open Access, Science, Science & Politics | 2 Comments

Thinking globally about research evaluation – LIS-Bibliometrics talk

Last Tuesday I attended the 2019 LIS-Bibliometrics meeting which focused on open metrics and measuring openness. I was part of a panel that discussed the topic “Thinking globally about research evaluation: common challenges, common solutions”. Chaired by Lizzie Gadd from Loughborough University, … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Comments Off on Thinking globally about research evaluation – LIS-Bibliometrics talk