Friday, September 24, 2010

The power of the pen

The Physics department is going to publish my blog.

Well, not absolutely exactly but near enough for me to be highly entertained. Possibly for weeks.

This rather unlikely scenario was triggered when I saw that the University of Florida had started a department blog. They included news from their research groups, awards and achievements of department members and details of other projects that people were involved in. All in all, it was a great idea and I therefore decided to STEAL IT INSTANTLY AND MAKE IT MY OWN.

So, armed with the Florida blog as a template, an example entry I'd drafted for my own research group and a suggested plan for future posts, I went to see our outreach coordinator.

"I like it," she said, nodding. "But I'm thinking it might be more memorable as a personal perspective on the department. Especially if it were coming from a postdoc, since we don't often hear much from them."

"So ....," I said slowly. "You mean .... like my blog?"

"You keep a blog?"

I emailed her the URL. It transpired to be exactly what she had in mind, although with a focus more on physics and less on stylish footwear for your favourite bovine. I have no idea why.

Walking back upstairs, I joined my research group for our weekly meeting.

"I am going to do a personal blog for the department," I announced as I poured hot water into my tea cup.

"You could write all sorts of things about the faculty!" someone pointed out.

This immediately provoked a discussion that was engaging, entertaining and ended abruptly by me, least my adviser see the folly of the situation and cut the idea dead in the water.

"Oh, I wouldn't do that," he said in a relaxed tone. "I would just read it and if you had written anything unsuitable ... I'd cut your funding."

I stopped with my mug half-way to my mouth.

"You could write good things about the department!" one of my friends cut in with a swift attempt at damage control.

"Yes, that's true," my adviser picked up on the idea. "I could suggest topics I wanted to be covered."

".... and my funding...?" I inquired, delicately.

".... could be negotiated."

Well, it might not be BBC prime time but apparently I have ratings.


  1. Haha, I love your anecdotes. You have a wicked wit. I don't know you personally (I stumbled upon your blog randomly), but being in academia (my field is applied math), I find myself relating very much to the topics you blog about.

    I suppose you could think of me as a secret admirer (though not in a creepy sort of way).

  2. Wow! Thank you, Paul!

    I had no idea my blog has an audience apart from the friends whose browser home page I've locked to this site :D

    I find that quite disproportionally exciting~