And then the sky opened up
The best part about the ESOF conference earlier this month in Toulouse is that it reminded me on why I wanted to be a scientist in the first place: because the world is interesting, finding out new things is fun, and it is rewarding to do things that try to make the world a better place to live in (or at least minimize our damage on it). It literally feels to me like the sky opens up on these kind of moments. Like the little box I’ve been sitting in during my PhD suddenly opened at the top, and I realize… Oh my goodness there’s so many interesting and amazing things out there!
I care, you care, we all care
And it’s not just knowledge for knowledge (though, damn, the universe is fun and who knows when this knowledge will be useful for us?), it was also about things that I care about on a daily basis. So, things like avoiding plastic (though I’m still terrible at it), being vegetarian or vegan, or trying to help people who happen to be born in a war-torn country, are not just for hippies and people with an identity crisis trying to give meaning to their lives (I consider myself as one of those), but there’s actually serious research on this! I mean, I know that, but it’s so nice to see! 🙂
Research with a heart
Not just the scientific topics they talked about gave me the feeling of opening up, but also critically looking at the academic system, daring to question it and not just bitch about it (although that obviously happened too), but actually seeing how different stakeholders are trying to make it better. Yes, there was a session on how funding agencies can change the academic landscape and pressure to publish. Yes, there was a session on mental health problems in academia. Yes, there was a session on alternative career paths, hell, there were many of them! And yes, there were even more session about equality, be it gender imbalance in academia, influence of inequality on life expectancy, integrating refugees into higher education…. Again, thinking about the bigger picture! Wait, did I mention the keynote on reproducible research? Indeed!
Posts coming up!
So this post is basically a heads-up that Nina, who was there too, and I will be posting on some of the topics above, and more that I didn’t mention, but that were covered at ESOF 2018. The idea is for it to be a balance between career-related things and science. Let us know if any of these topics are of critical, immediate, super duper interest to you, so we can do an extra effort to make that one earlier rather than later 😉 You can already read about Nina’s arrival at ESOF 2018 in her previous post.
See you around!
Header image: Pixabay, https://pixabay.com/en/hands-heart-couple-woman-man-1150073/