Yesterday’s post about science careers generated more interest that any post of mine has done for quite some time. It wasn’t a huge surprise as I knew I had linked in to various others blogs about the same subject so expected some interest. I do find, however, the interest a little unsettling. I quite enjoy writing about various things, but am also quite comfortable with very few people reading what I write. I think I am partly concerned that I’ll say something particularly stupid (which isn’t that difficult) or that what I write will be mis-interpreted. Given that I write research papers for a living this may seem a little odd, but I think this also influences how I write research papers. I don’t mind being controversial but I do try very hard to ensure that what I write is, to the best of my knowledge, correct (or as correct as it can be given the assumptions that need to be made when doing research). This may seem like an obvious thing to do but it’s not that difficult, when you’re trying to be on the cutting edge of research, to make some silly mistakes. This is especially true if there is a lot of pressure to get things published.
Anyway, the really big news of yesterday was the appointment of John Womersley as the new CEO of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), replacing (a little earlier than expected) the heavily criticised current CEO, Keith Mason. I did write a post a couple of years ago criticising something John Womersley had written but, in general, I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen of him. Others have already written in more detail about the new appointment, so I won’t say more other than to wish him all the best for what will presumably be quite a difficult and challenging job.