Tag Archives: research

“I’m writing a book no one will read” and other reasons the PhD can get you down

“I’m writing a book no one will read” and other reasons the PhD can get you down

The other day I received an email from a stranger. A final year PhD student wrote to my to thank me for the piece on PhD “survival strategies” that I wrote recently for the Guardian and to which many others contributed. I have to admit that this kind of feedback, as well as the comments […] … learn more→

At sea in a deluge of data

At sea in a deluge of data

This spring, more college students than ever received baccalaureate degrees, and their career prospects are brighter than they were for last year’s graduates. Employers responding to this year’s National Association of Colleges and Employers’ “Job Outlook 2014 Survey” said they planned to increase entry-level hiring by almost 8 percent. But what they may not realize […] … learn more→

‘Quackademics’ under fire as critical voices targeted

‘Quackademics’ under fire as critical voices targeted

With independent journalism increasingly under threat, will academics be the next set of critical voices to be targeted? A report calling for research and evidence to have a reduced role in public policy, issued yesterday by a right-wing think-tank, suggests this process is already under way. These criticisms come after successive governments have sought to […] … learn more→

The multibillion-dollar threat to research Universities

The multibillion-dollar threat to research Universities

With each day, the so-called fiscal cliff looms larger as Congress and President Obama work to come to agreement on a federal-deficit compromise, which so far has proven elusive. Absent such an agreement by year’s end, far-reaching spending cuts will be triggered as result of the Budget Control Act of 2011, through a mechanism called […] … learn more→

Researchers engineer light-activated skeletal muscle

Researchers engineer light-activated skeletal muscle

Many robotic designs take nature as their muse: sticking to walls like geckos, swimming through water like tuna, sprinting across terrain like cheetahs. Such designs borrow properties from nature, using engineered materials and hardware to mimic animals’ behavior. Now, scientists at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania are taking more than inspiration from nature — […] … learn more→

Do we need to write and publish so much theory?

Do we need to write and publish so much theory?

In addition to novels, I always bring a stack of scholarly books on our annual summer vacation. I bring books in my field, books not in my field, books in fields I might be ready to explore, books I might like to teach and books that I read so that I will be a better […] … learn more→

The ‘impact’ of research carries weight (but ripples matter more)

The ‘impact’ of research carries weight (but ripples matter more)

What has been the impact of the invention of the telescope? What has been the impact of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, or the splitting of the atom? Yes, that’s right: the idea of measuring the “impact” of research is back in a big way. Within the research community and within government, plenty of people […] … learn more→

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

A question universities need to answer: why do we research?

Fundamentally, there are two big motives for research. On the on hand there is intellectual ambition: the desire to know and understand the word, to appreciate the best that has been said and thought on the topics that grip our imaginations. In one of C.P. Snow’s Cambridge novels there’s an elderly character who looks back […] … learn more→

Uplifting news in the world of geology

Uplifting news in the world of geology

The huge changes in the earth’s crust that shaped the face of the African continent are being re-defined according to research published in Nature Geoscience. The Great Rift Valley of East Africa – the birthplace of the human species – may have taken much longer to develop than previously believed. Lead author Dr Eric Roberts, […] … learn more→

Crocodiles rock the treadmill for research

Crocodiles rock the treadmill for research

Crocodiles have been put through their paces on a treadmill as part of a James Cook University research project to help determine which muscles they use to breathe. Led by the Townsville-based Dr Suzy Munns, the research was conducted on five young estuarine crocodiles to test the role of the diaphragmaticus muscle, also known as […] … learn more→