You picked Imperial to become a scientist, engineer or a medical doctor. What do these careers have in common? You’ll need to write a lot: scientific papers, grant applications, lecture notes, popular science articles. Unfortunately, university curricula lack writing courses, so we end up with thousands of unreadable scientific papers. In my research I’ve chosen some mathematical methods just because the authors made them easy to understand; nobody has time or energy to look for interesting science hiding behind word clutter.
I’m a mathematician, not a writer, and my writing is far from perfect. Let me share five tips to improve your writing so that you can learn on my mistakes.
Let’s face it: doing a PhD isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. The process can be painful and annoying, and at some point you’re probably going to get completely stuck. If you’ve ever done any research, you definitely know what I’m talking about.
There’s something you need to do, usually some task that was supposed to be easy – a toy example, an almost standard code, a “quick” experiment to check your hypothesis. And here you are, spending long hours, days, weeks, even months, not even closer to solving your problem. You’ve tried everything, used all possible sources you could find, but this devil isn’t giving up.
March arrives and it’s time for the annual Natural History Museum (NHM) Student Conference! I am on the student committee and so help with the organisation. There’s a lot to do organising a conference but we learnt from last year and with new members on the team it seemed a lot less stressful this year! Despite the stress and extra work being part of a committee and helping organising a conference is a great opportunity to learn useful skills and make contacts, so I highly recommend getting involved with one if you can.
Talks are compulsory for 3rd year PhD students like me so although I had spoken at the two previous years’ conferences (I need the practice :\ ) I was yet again up on stage.
The two NERC Doctoral Training Programmes based in London – London NERC DTP and my own Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP held a joint conference for students on the 1st and 2nd September at King’s College London.
I recently published my first ever paper, here is its story
Ah the Christmas and New Year break – the season for writing guilt…
After two poster presentations last week, this week’s #throwbackthursday is a timely look back at the first event I presented at, back in November 2013.
I’ve attended two conferences this week, with different audiences and it’s been tiring! On Tuesday I was the Wildlife Gardening Forum Conference held at the Natural History Museum where I presented a poster on my forthcoming Citizen Science project Earthworm Watch. This conference was a celebration of 10 years of the Wildlife Gardening Forum, a charity for people and organisations interested in wildlife gardening. The next day I was off to Reading University presenting the same poster at the Healthy Soils for a Healthy Life event held by the Soil Research Centre. This event consisted of talks, networking and workshops on the theme of healthy soils – including how we define healthy soils and what indicators we can use.
The day after the PREDICTS Symposium it was the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) DTP Conference 2015, in the same venue at the Natural History Museum! I got up early to help set up at the Museum and welcome delegates. This Conference was for members of the DTP and showcased our work with talks, a three minute thesis competition and poster session. The three minute thesis competition was a challenge to explain our theses to the audience in just three minutes using one static slide with a prize for the audience and judges’ favourite.
Check the Grantham Institute’s Storify for more Tweets from the event: SSCP DTP Conference
One of the research groups I am connected too – Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (PREDICTS) has just come to the end of its first three years. To mark the occasion a one day symposium was held at the Natural History Museum with talks on overviews of what the project has achieved, the latest results, and a look ahead. I was invited to do a 15 minute talk on my PhD work researching human effects on soil biodiversity which use the PREDICTS framework. The Symposium was webcast live on YouTube and attended by many PREDICTS researchers past and present so I was rather anxious!