Science songs – why so silly?

By | 0 Comments

Why are songs about science often so silly? You know what I mean. They try to fit long words in the lyrics for the sake of scientific accuracy, they’re reductionist and literal, and they’re often parodies of existing songs with the words changed to be about science. Some of them are really popular. These days, Tom Lehrer’s Elements song is…

Read More »

Pantographs and the magic of words

By | 0 Comments

“Drivers! Don’t forget to drop the pantograph!” I don’t know what it means, but this sign at London’s Farringdon Station sounds important and magical. It’s a large white sign at the end of the platform, just before the train enters the tunnel towards City Thameslink station. I don’t want to look up what a pantograph is or why it needs…

Read More »

LinkedOut

By | 0 Comments

I’ve had a productive Saturday: I spent two hours in a bookstore, I replaced three violin strings, and I deleted my LinkedIn profile. The latter might seem surprising for someone who runs a website featuring career stories of science graduates, so I thought I’d explain why it was time for me to leave LinkedIn behind. It doesn’t properly show my…

Read More »

Science Kombat

By | 0 Comments

Who would win in a fight: Nikola Tesla or Marie Curie? Now you can find out, in the game Science Kombat. It’s only available online at the moment, and in Portuguese, but a mobile game is in the works. Below some screen shots of Tesla fighting Stephen Hawking, Tesla fighting Pythagoras, and Marie Curie fighting Einstein.  

Read More »

Coffee (3 Scientists)

By | 2 Comments

The conference Stroking the screen of his smartphone, he scrolled past tweets that succinctly summarized the words of the man on the podium. The speaker’s unfunny jokes made even less amusing when amplified by a stream of identical tweets and retweets. The core of the message – if there was one – lost in a sea of digital chatter. The…

Read More »

The pizza ploy

By | 0 Comments

In early 2002, Guyang Huang’s career was not going in the direction he expected. A year earlier, his work at the Beijing Genomics Institute earned him a spot in the author list of the high profile Nature paper publishing the draft of the human genome. Huang was author 149 of 249, somewhere in the middle of a massive list. After…

Read More »

Science Lab Furniture

By | 0 Comments

This is a scene from the latest Portlandia episode, mocking the trend for lab glassware as housewares. (Video available on Facebook, or on the IFC YouTube channel if you’re in the USA)   I hope real scientists are exempt from mocking, because I have a test tube spice rack, erlenmeyer flash measuring glass, and test tube miniature vases. None of…

Read More »

Image origins: That walking molecule

By | 1 Comment

Suddenly it’s everywhere: a gif of a molecule stepping along, carrying a big load. It’s currently going viral online, with text suggesting that it’s a myosin molecule carrying endorphins in the brain. It’s none of that. First of all, it’s not a myosin molecule, but kinesin. They’re both motor proteins and some of the myosin proteins have a very similar…

Read More »

New beginnings

By | 1 Comment

It’s been a bit quiet here, partly because I had to fix some technical issues with the blog, but also because I started a new job and a new course a few weeks ago. Everything is different now! Over the last year I had somehow ended up in a place I didn’t want to be (the marketing department of a…

Read More »

Conference name badges

By | 5 Comments

I tidied my desk area this weekend, and thought it was time to go through my collection of conference name badges. I may have a problem: There were badges for conferences about stem cells, worm genetics, biochemistry, ecology, science journalism, microbiology, signalling networks, art/science, and local graduate student meetings at universities in five different countries. According to the ribbons on…

Read More »