Leaping from chemistry to biology

I’m fairly comfortable with chemistry. Molecules randomly get together and if there’s enough energy, they might do something. Even in ‘dirty’ situations like soils and soil solutions, you can trust that chemistry is, at its heart, just applied physics. Biology though. Goodness. I’ve been watching Prof. Racaniello’s lecture series on virology and the more I …

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Swamps, bogs, and backwaters

I will happily tell anyone that my favourite environment is the desert. Dry air, knee-high shrubbery, rocks. Though to be fair, remarkably little soil. My second favourite environment are wetlands (from one extreme to the other I guess). Though again, I prefer meadows, bogs and seeps to swamp forests and heavily treed places. Wetlands are …

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Thoughts on workplace safety

I often straddle the divide between us (scientist; me) and the various professional persons concerned about workplace injuries (administration; sometimes me). The two sides have perfectly valid feelings of annoyance with the other. From the scientists: excessive administrative burden stymies productivity; and from the administration: employees get up to some seriously dumb things if you …

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Starting a new international job in Academic Soil Science – part one

I have officially started my Postdoctoral Fellowship at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China and let me say, it’s been a long winded and multi-stepped process. Here I offer some sage advice as a Western citizen with Western degrees on the processes involved in working as a postdoc in a Chinese Scientific Institution. Firstly, you will …

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