After years of becoming more and more deeply convinced by the idea that we humans need to disturb nature less, to consume less, to stop pursuing growth and to take heed of our ‘environmental limits’, I have recently stumbled upon some quite surprising literature which claims “No! Stop! It’s not about LESS – it has to be about MORE!” Admittedly, this literature stems from a decade or so ago and I am behind the times in discovering it, but its arguments have struck me because they are, I think, important and yet still, 10 years on, largely absent from mainstream ‘environmentalism’ as far as I can tell. Continue reading
Part 2: writing
Professor Simon Peyton Jones’s (SPJ) lecture is specifically about a) how to write good research papers and b) in computer science. Neither of these are relevant to me at the moment (in the case of the former) and, I can only assume, never will be (in the case of the latter), but I think that what he has to say about writing clearly and concisely is valuable to anyone writing in academia, whatever discipline and for whatever publication. I won’t write a huge long post about what he says because it’s much more fun to watch it for yourself, but I’ve picked out a few key points. Continue reading
“Most days you think ‘I am a worm’. This is the natural state of the researcher”. With these words Professor Simon Peyton Jones, in his brilliant and comforting lecture about how to write well in academia, lifted a weight from my newbie-PhD shoulders which had been severely hampering my enthusiasm to put fingers to keyboard and actually start writing – rather than just reading – stuff. I breathed a sigh of relief that I am not alone in my feelings of awe and lowliness in the vast lawn (permaculture?) of academia, or in my fear of being eaten alive by blackbirds….
In this 2-part blog post I hope to impart a few nuggets from Professor Peyton Jones and others about writing and thinking for a PhD that I have found useful. They proved mini eureka moments for me and have helped me to go about my wormly burrowing and decomposing with a little more confidence! Continue reading