Thank you to Dr James Smith – before he fades back into the shadows

Merry New Year! Those of you who have been keeping up with us know most of the Real Scientists admin-types are based in Australia in different cities, where there tends to be a bit of a long shutdown over the Christmas-New Year period.  With the advent of the holidays season, we felt it would be unfair to schedule one of our curators on, so we decided to take on the tweeting ourselves – and Dr James Smith, one of our administrators, blog writers and our go-to graphics guy came to our rescue.  Which was terrific in many ways – not only did we get to know James a lot better, but we got some gold-class discussions on science, the false separation of science from humanities and where a science career can take you, to name just a few topics traversed.  


James love for evo-devo (evolution and development) came like a lightning bolt from the sky in the form of a skilled biology 101 lecturer. One lecture and he was hooked on it for life. Ending up with a molecular biology degree and moving to Queensland to pursue a PhD in an evo-devo lab, James met his wife and one of our former curators, Dr Meg Wilson there.  After some more wrestling with research, James ended up leaving the lab, to work with researchers in a non-laboratory role:


ImageThe course of a scientific career never runs smooth. But the some of the best discussions of the week – apart from some excellent primers on molecular biology and developmental biology, and how to think about your PhD (we’ll have the Storifys of these discussions up soon) came from James’ engagement with the humanities. Too often, the sciences and the humanities are regarded as twains that will never meet, but James’ own background and experiences show how the critical thinking and analytical skills applied in both fields of knowledge can feed into each other and enhance the way we think about our research, whatever field it’s in.  Hopefully, with the changing nature of science careers and the increasing engagement with the sciences will result in more discussion and unique work.  On that note, here is one of the beautiful sciencey books Dr Smith was putting together for his sons:


So thank you so much James, for the brilliant discussions, taking time out from your holidays to tweet for us (and thanks Dr Megs!) and sorry the internet connections in rural NSW were not friendly to you.  Hmm. Maybe we should have you on again sometime soon.


We here at Real Scientists would like to thank you for supporting us over the course of our first year in 2013. It’s been a blast – a privilege and a pleasure to run this site and to host so many fantastic curators.  We look forward to your support and engagement over 2014.


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