Papers are the currency of the academic world. All academics know that they must “publish or perish” in an environment where resources are slim and competition is fierce. But that doesn’t stop us from having some fun with our papers. Entertaining titles, jokes, hidden surprises, and even the occasional hoax can be found in just … Continue reading Hoaxes, humour, and haggis – the weird world of publish or perish
One of the paybacks of being a scientist is that if you create some new thing or discover a new phenomenon, you get to name it. Biologists can name a new species after friends or family, experimenters enjoy finding clever acronyms to call their equipment, and astronomers have the opportunity to etch their choices into … Continue reading What’s in a name?
There is an old adage in the performing arts that you should never work with animals or children, though as a rule of thumb it seems to apply equally well to just about any profession. As an experimental physicist, I thought I had managed to steer clear of the troubles that working with animals and … Continue reading Natural anomalies: when animals get in the way of science
Units are important. Units are how we measure things. They are how we know whether a cop is going to write us a speeding ticket, whether we need to try harder at that diet we’ve supposedly been on since New Year, or whether the bloke who owns the petrol station has pulled a fast one … Continue reading More Favourite Units
30 things astronauts are not allowed to do in space. Inspired by the infamous Skippy List. I can only hope that one day I may have the opportunity to break any of these rules. 1. I am not allowed to fly around the cabin like Superman when I am supposed to be working. 2. The correct hull … Continue reading 30 Rules for Astronauts