The full-body NO

After a short ride in a huge pickup truck we arrived at a small and seemingly deserted harbour. It was freezing cold, and rain drizzled down upon us, which did not make us feel any warmer. It was a Thursday afternoon in early June 2019. Although it was almost summer, it was hard to recognizeContinue reading “The full-body NO”

Charging the batteries

“Are you a battery type of person, or a generator type of person?” he asked me, with that typical grin on his face. It’s the grin that always shows up when he asks me cryptic questions like this one. He likes to confuse me sometimes, I think. I told my therapist I often feel exhausted,Continue reading “Charging the batteries”

Impact and its impact

What is it with science these days that it is such a quest for impact? Has it always been this way? The first thing my new employer said when I started working for him and we had briefly discussed some experimental ideas that I had was ‘This will be great, I think it has NatureContinue reading “Impact and its impact”

Time will tell

The start of my postdoc position at TUM was not really as I had expected it to be. Most postdoc positions that I was aware of at the time were project positions. In such positions the goals were usually quite clear and I thought that this was somewhat similar to what I was walking into.Continue reading “Time will tell”

The Covid-19 hiring hassle…

This pandemic has had a huge impact on many lives over the past year. So many people, including some people close to me, have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. I am in the lucky position to have reasonable job security – at least for the coming few years. My livelihood and family situation areContinue reading “The Covid-19 hiring hassle…”

You have to find pleasure where there is none…

Alright, I’m just gonna say it. Grading student exams sucks donkey balls. It is probably one of my least favourite things to do out of all things academic. It is of course a necessary evil, and therefore it needs to be done, and needs to be done with care and attention. The switch to onlineContinue reading “You have to find pleasure where there is none…”

Three and counting…*

One thing that I have noticed lately is how keen Germans are to switching the conversation back to German, as soon as an opportunity to do so arises. I thought my level of English would get me through my scientific career, but I was pretty wrong about that. At the moment, my English is slowlyContinue reading “Three and counting…*”

… and I hate games!

It is all one big stupid game, isn’t it? Academia. There are these moments where you think you almost feel quite comfortable. But then you can’t. You always need to be on the lookout for ‘something’, always on the move, always running. Otherwise, you’re out. I thought I was in a good place when IContinue reading “… and I hate games!”

It’s out of our hands now…

You know what scares the shit out of me? New things… or stuff that I don’t feel like I’m particularly skilled at. They freak me out big time. Our university now enforces online exams for groups that exceed forty students and this was all communicated at short notice. This included all courses I teach. OurContinue reading “It’s out of our hands now…”

Celebrate the victories!

I feel absolutely exhausted today – but in a good way! We harvested an experiment that my team has worked on over the past months. Our abiotic treatments included a soil moisture gradient and an heatwave. To maintain the moisture gradient our plants were watered on a balance every day. All 320 of them. WeContinue reading “Celebrate the victories!”