Sharing the load (science and parenting)

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It’s a scenario that’s all-too-familiar to many scientists. Your career – be it in academia, industry, publishing, communication, or something else – is gradually progressing when you and your partner decide to start a family.

But what do you do once the new addition has arrived? And what impact will the arrangement have on your career, and that of your partner? TIR has collected some accounts from science parents around the world:

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A small milestone (thanks for reading!)


Last week, Total Internal Reflection clocked its 1,000th visitor – much, much faster than I envisaged when starting this around 6 months ago.

A big thanks to everyone who’s been following the blog, don’t forget to click on the “follow” tab to get notifications of future postings, and keep in touch!

Comments, corrections, and suggestions for future postings are all very welcome – it’s about starting a conversation rather than having the last word. Cheers, B.

Ticket to Ride

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Science counts as one of the very few truly international careers out there – not simply being in an office somewhere else in the world, but actually working alongside people of all nationalities, races, and creeds. The current lingua franca for publications and conferences may be English, but the average scientific institute or department is a Babel of different tongues depending on who’s talking to who and when.

What do you get from going abroad? Some opportunities are the same as would come from relocation within your own country – a chance to learn new techniques, and bring something new to the group that you join. In that sense then, if you originate from a research powerhouse like the USA, Germany, UK, or France then in theory there’s little reason to cross the border and seek your fortune somewhere else.

Or is there? Continue reading

Through a lens, accurately


Total Internal Reflection is a big fan of the films of Wes Anderson. Whether it’s the European Gothic of The Grand Budapest Hotel, the quixotic romance of Moonrise Kingdom, or the chamber/hotel drama of The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson’s work has established him as an original and highly distinctive voice in the world of cinema.

But for scientists, there’s one of his films that should stand out amongst all others – The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. If ever a non-scientist wished to understand the vagaries and vicissitudes of the academic life, they could do a lot worse than sitting down to digest this film. Continue reading