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TNDR fika!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 15:15 to 16:15

Long time no fika! Let's change that. There will be something to eat, like ice-cream or cookies, and there will be coffee and tea. See you there!

TNDR participated in IBG-session on "employment in Sweden"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 16:10 to 16:30
Zootissalen, Evolutionsmuseet

TNDR participated in the afternoon meeting on "employment in Sweden" organised by IBG for their master's degree students.

Master's students are a very important group for TNDR, and as such they should be correctly informed about their rights and obligations as applicants to grad school, and as possible later PhD students themselves.

If you have any questions about grad school at our faculty, feel free to use our Google+ or FB-page, or e-mail the board directly.

The presentation slides from TNDR's talk are now available. [pdf, 3 MB]

Student-union election time

on Tue, 2012-04-17 05:56

I initially intended to write a few lines promoting the Uppsala studentkår (the student-union) election which is currently on-going (vote here, by the way), but after voting myself I could not stop feeling annoyed about the poor design solutions on the voting landing-page and in the voting UI itself. Allow me to explain what I mean by that.

First, the election main landing page, which features a nice bullet-point list describing the voting procedure, lacks an English translation. Considering that 45% of all Ph.D. students at TEKNAT have another native language than Swedish, that's fail number 1...

The same page also features a button that takes the voter to the voting system itself. This button needs to be much larger, and needs to feature an English translation! Since the whole purpose of the landing page is to funnel users into the voting system, this constitutes fail number 2...

Last, once logged-in to the voting system (which is inside a popup-window, why?) the "log-out" button is, for some obscure reason, prominently featured right next to the "continue"-button. I mean, need I say more? Of course people are going to click on the log-out button by mistake, and once the user gets pissed off, it is usually really hard to get them back...

In any case, I do encourage all Ph.D. students to actually vote, irregardless of the peculiarities of the voting pages.

PS. The commenting system on this site is broken, sorry for that. Please use our Facebook page or Twitter feed to voice your comments!

Visa situation of the PhD students in Sweden

on Thu, 2012-04-12 13:58

SIGN THIS PETITION before the upcoming parliamentary debate on the 30th of May, 2012, to send a clear message to the Swedish Government that it is in the best interests of Sweden to provide International Doctoral Candidates with the right to permanent residency at the completion of their degree (after 4 years – like other migrant workers in Sweden).

This motion should be supported not only to provide opportunities for these highly-skilled individuals to contribute to Swedish society after their studies, but to also foster strong relationships with the home nations of these candidates; and further secure Sweden’s reputation as an internationally-supportive place of higher research studies.

Sign here - today:

Suggested weekend essay: "How to write like a scientist"

on Sat, 2012-03-31 16:54

From Science, a well-written essay on how (not?) to write like a scientist by Adam Ruben.
This should be required reading for all aspiring PhD's, really. Unless we want to write nothing but dry, lifeless articles for the rest of our careers (and read nothing but more of the same).

I didn’t know whether to take my Ph.D. adviser’s remark as a compliment. “You don’t write like a scientist,” he said, handing me back the progress report for a grant that I had written for him. In my dream world, tears would have come to his eyes, and he would have squealed, “You write like a poet!” In reality, though, he just frowned. He had meant it as a criticism. I don’t write like a scientist, and apparently that’s bad. I asked for an example, and he pointed to a sentence on the first page. “See that word?” he said. “Right there. That is not science.”

The word was “lone,” as in “PvPlm is the lone plasmepsin in the food vacuole of Plasmodium vivax.” It was a filthy word. A non-scientific word. A flowery word, a lyrical word, a word worthy of -- ugh -- an MFA student. I hadn’t meant the word to be poetic. I had just used the word “only” five or six times, and I didn’t want to use it again. But in his mind, “lone” must have conjured images of PvPlm perched on a cliff’s edge, staring into the empty chasm, weeping gently for its aspartic protease companions. Oh, the good times they shared. Afternoons spent cleaving scissile bonds. Lazy mornings decomposing foreign proteins into their constituent amino acids at a nice, acidic pH. Alas, lone plasmepsin, those days are gone. So I changed the word to “only.” And it hurt. Not because “lone” was some beautiful turn of phrase but because of the lesson I had learned: Any word beyond the expected set -- even a word as tame and innocuous as “lone” -- apparently doesn’t belong in science. I’m still fairly new at this science thing. I’m less than 4 years beyond the dark days of grad school and the adviser who wouldn’t tolerate “lone.” So forgive my naïveté when I ask: Why the hell not? Why can’t we write like other people write? Why can’t we tell our science in interesting, dynamic stories? Why must we write dryly? (Or, to rephrase that last sentence in the passive voice, as seems to be the scientific fashion, why must dryness be written by us?)

More here.