These are certainly complicated times for early career researchers (ECRs) in all domains of science. To begin with, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has slowed, when not ground to a halt, a significant fraction of all research activities, and has affected in particular laboratory-based work. These COVID-related restrictions will inevitably cause important delays in the ECR… Continue reading Should I stay or should I go (after the PhD)? Some reflections on the post-PhD life in particle physics.
My parents always liked to tell me about their time as university students, in the Faculty of Law in Barcelona in the 1970s. Those were interesting times, towards the end of General Franco's dictatorship, when students could be found more often than not trying to get away from the political police after one of the… Continue reading Blended learning and the future of university teaching
On Wednesday the Dutch government announced a further softening of the corona-prevention measures. From secondary schools to cinemas, gym centers, cannabis cafes, and sex clubs, there is not a more or less clear roadmap for their calendar towards reopening and trying to recover part of their pre-corona activities. This said of course most the safety… Continue reading HigherEd in the anderhalvemetersamenleving era
Let me introduce you to Rebecca (not a real name). She is an engineer, more precisely a vehicle engineer: someone, an expert, who has been trained to develop and build cars. Today is a very exciting day for Rebecca. After a long search and many disappointing refusals, she has finally landed her dream job: she… Continue reading Rebecca’s induction day: Some thoughts on the academic research funding model I
Disclaimer: the following post is going to be a rather dry one about some recent controversies concerning the funding of the higher education system in The Netherlands. Moreover, it is probably going to be incomplete and not fully accurate, both since the discussion is quite complex and also since my understanding of the overall situation… Continue reading What is this mess about the Van Rijn commission?
Despite the title, I have never seen a single Game of Thrones episode. I read the first of the books though some time ago, and while the book was interesting and catchy, everyone there was very but very bad and miserable, so I was not really motivated to proceed further. This said, I remember that… Continue reading A game of colliders: is CLIC the Tyrion Lannister of the future collider wars?
As I discussed in a previous post, the precision mapping of the properties of the Higgs boson should be, without the shade of a doubt, one of the main scientific drivers of any future high-energy collider that might operate in the post-LHC era. Powerful as the LHC is, and despite remarkable breakthroughs both from the… Continue reading The lepton collider battles (only one can remain?)
Some relatives of mine have always been obsessed with the details of my work schedule. They were not really interested in the actual content of my research, but kept asking every time we met at what time I was expected to start working in the mornings, when was I allowed to leave work in the… Continue reading Is being a workaholic a condition for success in science?
When discussing about the various options concerning the future of particle physics, in particular in the context of the Update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, the Higgs boson plays certainly a most important role. The Higgs is truly a unique beast, whose mysterious properties we have just started to unveil. Therefore, also motivated… Continue reading It’s all about that Higgs, that Higgs, ….
Universities, the temples of higher education, are supposed to deliver excellent, flawless teaching. University professors should always be, at least according to PR leaflets and websites, inspiring, motivated teachers, and devoted mentors that guide their students through the fascinating adventure of learning. However, while there are of course a large number of outstanding university professors… Continue reading Who teaches the teachers?