I might be leaving academia, but I’ve no regrets about staying as long as I did.Continue reading
Lecturing is not about knowing everything, it’s about being good at learning. And science’s shamans are the best at it.Continue reading
Funding scientific ecosystem services
Shouldn’t be we funding scientists as well as researchers?Continue reading
Mentoring the next generation
My lab might be closing soon because of insufficient research productivity. Is it really because I supervised too many undergraduate students? And if so, should I regret it? Continue reading
A life of service
Prince Philip, husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II of England, died on 9th April 2021. The obituaries and epitaphs, of which there have been many, have been united in noting and praising his life of service. There is however something curious about a person who was born into royalty and spent the majority of his life living in pampered opulence being celebrated for selflessness. Continue reading
Forks in the road (a short guide to career options in science)
There are many different careers to be had in science, of which academia only encompasses a fraction. Here’s an overview of the whole spectrum. Continue reading
The best ticket in town
The end of a semester is a cause for pride and rejoicing. Continue reading
The selfish case for teaching
Scientists have more to gain from teaching than they often realise. Continue reading
Do universities offer a service or a product?
This, at heart, is the existential crisis that’s been afflicting the university system over the last decade or so, maybe longer. The answer has varied from one country to another, and often in an unexpected way. Continue reading
How’s your legacy?
Like it or not, most of us are doomed to be rapidly forgotten.
There’s a great moment in Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”, in which the brooding protagonist has been scouring the Earth for the oldest of the immortals. He finds his man in Paris, but is stunned to discover that the world’s oldest vampire is a relative juvenile of just a few hundred years’ age. Armand, the vampire in question, breaks it to him gently – although vampires can theoretically live forever, in practice they tend to fade away after a couple of centuries.
It’s an uncomfortable parable for any scientist, given that an oft-cited lure of the job is that tantalising chance of immortality. Continue reading