The Italian Job

The idea of working abroad–immersing myself in another culture and coming to grips with life in another country–had always appealed to me. So, halfway through my Ph.D., I decided to take the bull by the horns and secure a foreign posting. Working in scientific res...

Back on Track: Encouraging Words from a Tech Spec

PEERING INTO HIS OWN FUTURE FROM HIS LAB BENCH IN THE NORTHEASTERN U.S., LARRY, A FINAL-YEAR GRADUATE STUDENT, IS PRETTY SURE HE KNOWS WHAT HE WANTS TO DO WITH HIS Ph.D. BUT DO YOU? A wise career choice requires consideration of both the positive and negative aspects of a par...

A Curator in the New Millenium

BACK TO THE FEATURE INDEX For as long as I can recall, I have wanted to be a museum curator. Blessed or cursed, I have the “collecting gene.” After I completed my B.A., I interviewed with a potential graduate adviser, Alan Leviton, a renowned herpetology curator...

Careers in Zoos and Museums: The Art and Science of Conserving Music

BACK TO THE FEATURE INDEX Chemistry and classical music might seem like strange bedfellows, but they are not. For the past couple of years, the music of Germany’s great composers, such as Ludwig van Beethoven and Johann Sebastian Bach, has kept a few chemists very bus...

Secret Garden

BACK TO THE FEATURE INDEX If the job title “plant taxonomist” brings to mind crusty Victorian naturalists plundering the environment for curiosities, you need to update your ideas. Tropical botanists Toby Pennington and Colin Pendry, two of the 50 or so scientis...

My Experiences as a Scientist at the National Zoo

BACK TO THE FEATURE INDEX Currently, I am a research geneticist at the Molecular Genetics Laboratory, a research group directed by Robert Fleischer within the Department of Conservation Biology at the National Zoological Park (NZP). The lab is dedicated to molecular genetic...

Conservation Scientist in the National Gallery: A Day in My Life

BACK TO THE FEATURE INDEX My first task of the day is to take some samples from a painting that is undergoing restoration, so I head off to the conservation department, down the corridor from our laboratory. The conservator is removing the darkened varnish and old discolour...

Back to the Roots: Returning to Europe From the States

M any young European scientists move to the United States, carry out successful research, and never return. How can this “brain drain” be reversed and translated into a European “brain gain”? Patrick Cramer, who recently returned to Germany from the U...

The All-Important Research Talk: Learning How to Do It Better

Few people like to get up in front of a room full of people and speak. In fact, surveys have shown that people fear public speaking more than death, which leads comedian Jerry Seinfeld to quip that the average person at a funeral would be better off in the casket than giving the eulo...

Movin’ On Up or Movin’ On Out?

Underrepresentation of women in European science prevents the realisation of the European Research Area’s dream of improving co-ordination of research efforts to effectively challenge the dominance of the United States, concludes a new report from the women and science unit of ...
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