20 long reads to #StayAtHome

A while ago I wrote a post with 10 long reads to make you think, some on the perks of having curiosity, freedom, and ignorance as the pillars of science, some on the scientific publishing industry and the reproducibility crisis, and others on gender bias, career progression, and other topics we don’t openly talk about enough. Since then I’ve continued to slowly populate a bookmark folder with several more articles of this sort. Some I’ve come across on twitter, others I’ve been sent by friends and colleagues, and none of them talk about Covid-19 nor exponentials. All the pieces that end up in this particular bookmark folder tend to be longer than usual, tend to make me think harder than usual, and tend to be thoroughly enjoyable. After finishing them I find myself having learned something new, changed my mind on something I thought I knew, or simply had a great time reading and thinking about something I usually don’t read or think about much. Given that they’ve been sitting in the online void of a bookmark folder for longer than I can remember, I thought now was as good time as any to share them with you. As last time, skip to the end for the list of titles and links. Stay safe everyone!

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Fantastic creatures III: masters of escape

What would you do if someone (or something) came at you with the unashamedly obvious intention of eating you? Would you try to outwit it by dressing up and becoming part of the scenery? Would you make use of your ninja skills and kick it in the face before running away? Or would you keep it cool and wait until this someone (or something) suddenly realised it doesn’t actually have the guts to digest you? Whatever imaginary stratagem your mind is plotting right now has the potential to be vastly overshadowed by what you are about to read. Welcome to the 2019 edition of Fantastic Creatures.

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Preparing for PhD interviews

Your name is up. You are nearly the last one to be called. For the last four hours you have been sitting in a seminar room with a dozen other applicants that all seem much more confident and much less nerve-racked than you feel. The excitement of getting offered an interview has long past, and you attempt to go over everything you have prepared during the last two weeks in a split of a second. You take one last sip of water, dry your hands on your trousers, and make sure you still remember your opening sentence. You turn your head, take a deep breath, and swallow your nerves. “That’s me”, you reply, standing up and shaking the hand of Professor Interviewer #1. You smile. “It is nice to meet you”. PI#1 smiles back – “Let’s do this” – and starts walking towards the room where the interviews are being held. 

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Letters from my PhD (II)

It’s funny how ideas work. Sometimes a bunch of them come to you at once, and although you may manage to write some down, you usually end up forgetting most of them. Once in a while you are able to turn one of these ideas into a post, and sometimes you even think it might become something regular, like a series. Then two years later you read that post again and you smile at how naively optimist you were. But then you decide to give it a second chance. One and a half months into my PhD at UCL I wrote what I thought would “start a new section in my blog: a place where once a month(ish) I’ll try to write about how this PhD thingy is going”. Two years later, it is time for part two.

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The 2018 UCL Neuroscience Symposium

For the second year in a row I’ve had the chance to attend and write about the UCL Neuroscience Symposium. Whether you just came back from FENS and are struggling to remember what did even happen during the symposium or whether you simply would like a glance on what it is like when a big portion of the neuroscience community in London gathers in the same hall, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for my take on this year’s event or, if you are feeling nostalgic, check out the 2017 UCL Neuroscience Symposium.

On Friday 22nd of June, just under 800 researchers gathered at the Institute of Education to celebrate the 9th edition of the UCL Neuroscience Symposium. With two fantastic keynote speakers, six talks by UCL group leaders, and 129 posters spread across three sessions, the event was once again a big success that marked the culmination of another impressive year for the UCL Neuroscience Domain.

Daniel Wolpert

 

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10 long reads to make you think

Chances are that if you are a human being that has survived the lingering festive period you will be either patting your back after coming up with a remarkably-self-embettering-yet-very-much-achievable brief list of New Year’s Resolutions, or struggling to stick to them. You are not alone.

Let us assume, for the sake of the argument, that you have resolved to read more this year. Let us assume, just because it is a New Year’s Resolution, that you want this reading to be meaningful, to teach you something. Let us assume, just follow me on this one, that you want 10 long reads to make you think. What a marvellous coincidence, my digital friend! For I was just thinking of writing *precisely* about that.

[Full disclosure: if patience is neither your forte nor an item in your list of resolutions, you can find the links to the reads at the end of the article.]

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