After project managers, researchers also raise the issue of job insecurity

Over the last couple of years I have been raising the issue of the increasing reliance on short term contracts in the case of project managers. Reading today the Research Europe article “Short-term posts feed academic insecurity“, I was happy to see that the issue is raised again, this time for researchers! In this way, hopefully, Member States and the EU will improve their policies that are currently resulting in brain drain to other sectors and reduced levels of productivity, as Nobel prize winner Peter Higgs said this week.

The first women astronomers

I have never been one of these scientists that see themselves as women scientists rather than scientists. Similarly, I am not usually looking at women scientists’ lives because they are women, but because they are scientists. Some would disagree with me on that point, but this is an issue for a whole different post.Nevertheless, these women, the first modern day women astronomers, caught my interest while reading a popular physics book. Maybe this was because up to that point I kept reading only about men, so when I read about a woman, I paid extra attention. I know this is not directly related to the theme of this blog, but I thought I should write something, just in case you do not know about them.

Women entered astronomy – a mostly forbidden field up to then – thanks toone man and one woman. The man was Edward Charles Pickering who became director of the Harvard College Observatory in 1877. The woman was  Anna Mary Palmer, the wife of Henry Draper whose intention was to photograph the entire night sky. Henry Draper did not manage to do so before he died, so his wife donated money to the Harvard College Observatory after his death. Continue reading

Overload

I am already at a stage where I feel that either this will happen:

or this:
Free Clipart.
Maybe I have reached this stage BECAUSE I am at the beginning.
I started reading an article about science communication which lead me to the effectiveness of science blogging BUT also to the importance of peer review and how this is going to evolve AND also on whether science should be blogged, tweeted etc AND to the conclusion that there are a lot of interesting blogs out there, which have a LOT of comments to go through.
And I have not even started to look at science policy!!!!!!!
But fuelled with excitement I am running too fast I think. I have to pace myself: one aspect at a time. I have created a few posts on all of these subjects which I am hoping to be able to build on over the next few months.
I know this post is a bit pointless, but since this is in a way a diary of a journey I think I will need to write diary-entry-like posts every now and then. I hope you don’t mind… 🙂

Science Communication: one really needs those presentation skills!

Today I visited the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron Moussikis) to attend a talk by Marcus de Sautoy (website1, website2). I found out about it the last moment through twitter (twitter gets more and more useful everyday!!!).

An… introduction

Greekgirlinlondon was my internet name and I would like to advise whoever starts an internet presence to be careful which username they choose. I wish someone had told me so 5 years ago when for some reason, this name – one of the least viable in the long-term – seemed to me appropriate.

Why I am saying this? Because I am having problems because of it. Even though I have and always will – fortunately or unfortunately – remain a Greek person, I do not want to blog about “girly” stuff so much any more and I am not living in London either.

Rant over, time to introduce this blog.
I spent years trying to pretend that science was something that i accidentally fell into. Something that just happened to me. That i could have been an equally mediocre banker, lawyer, painter, architect, psychologist, builder, singer, etc. At the same time I kept thinking that science is something that I am not good enough for, passionate enough for, innovative enough for, smart enough for, etc etc.
And when I say years, I mean a decade. More than one-third of my life and the WHOLE of my adult life.
So for me it took a degree, an MSc, a PhD – admittedly all of them from the top 5 universities in the whole world -, 5 scientific papers (including one in Nature) and 2 years of soul-searching absence for me to say that “My name is Greekgirlinlondon and I am a scientist”.
I do not really feel a scientist of course – you do not immediately feel something just because you said it – but I thought that if I say out loud and if I try to pretend to be one, then one day I might feel like one, and all this wasteful soul-searching will – hopefully!!! – be over.
So this blog was created by me for me to say to myself: YOU ARE A SCIENTIST: DEAL WITH IT!
And because I am one of these people who having decided to do something, they want to do it properly and methodically and keep records and make something good and new and innovative out of it, and discuss with other people about it, and learn, and grow etc, I decided to take what I am – a… scientist – and make the best I can out of it.
I do not know where this is road will lead me, but I want to share this journey with you.
I have to apologise from the beginning: this journey is not going to be tidy. When has a scientist’s log book has ever been tidy anyway? I will make a lot of mistakes, I will ask a lot of questions that – for me – will lead to dead ends (they might not lead to dead ends for you though), I will go backwards and forwards, etc etc.
My goal at the moment is to find out what is out there in the world of science outside the lab. But who knows if my goal will be the same in a year’s time? Maybe by that time I will be back in the lab. Who knows?
This is how all scientific experiments begin – you have some thoughts on what might happen, but you do not know what will.
Lets begin!