Clutter 2017 round-up: The guest posts

In February this year, Clutter leapt onto the web with all eight of its legs. Since then, we’ve featured blog posts from 10 lovely guests, on wide-ranging topics all the way from troublesome fellowship applications to science tabletop gaming.

Below is a round-up of this year’s fantastic guest posts. But we would love to have more for next year! Would you like to write for us in 2018? Please get in touch – we’d love to hear from you!


Viennese Whirls: The Bittersweet Flavour of Failure – Alex Evans

In this emotional and honest post, PhD student Alex discusses how a near-miss baking catastrophe caused him to open up about the struggles of day-to-day PhD life, and shares some tips on how to deal with these troubles.

Evolution and the floofs – Julie Blommaert

Think you know about evolution? Think again! Julie takes us back to the basics of the drivers of evolution, explaining in the form of the well-known cuddly creature, the floof.

Will we all turn into our supervisors one day? – Maria Afonso

PhD student Maria writes about her realisation that graduate students eventually become just as busy as their supervisors, despite initial naivety that this won’t ever happen.

The rise and fall of an academic dream – Billy Hinchen

Billy is a science writer and biologist. He started off down the traditional academic route of undergraduate degree, master’s degree, and then onto a PhD… when he was robbed and lost three years of data. Billy tells us about his subsequent transition into science writing, and the gradual waning of his yearnings to get back into the lab.

A brief history of an Early Career Researcher – Anthony Caravaggi

Many of us scientists got inspired at a young age and biologist Anthony is no exception – but he started his academic life studying at art college! In this post he gives us an insight into his personal science story.

Reflecting on the founding, growth and maturing of Overleaf – John Hammersley

Starting up a business is one avenue that scientists can pursue. John, co-founder of Overleaf, shares some thoughts and experiences of Overleaf’s journey, from the first demoralising interview to a recent successful collaboration with ShareLaTeX.

Am I too old to do a PhD? – James Bremner

“(Nearly) 40 year old” PhD student James discusses the factor of age in applying for, and reasons for doing a PhD. (TL;DR: No.)

Is Sulfur the “Bad Boy” of the Periodic Table? – Edward Randviir

In this post, applied chemist Edward champions the element sulfur as the most disruptive to our daily lives. He takes us through it’s place in history and it’s place in science.

The Fellowship Fallacy – Lewis Mackenzie

Applying for research fellowships can be frustrating, as many early career academics know. Here, Lewis, a postdoctoral researcher, highlights the obstacles that can impede progress on a fellowship proposal.

It’s all fun and games until someone learns something – Sam Illingworth

In 2017’s final guest post, Sam, with the rather wonderful job title of Senior Lecturer in Science Communication, enthuses about the role of tabletop games in opening conversations between scientists and non-scientists.


Thank you to all of our guest writers this year! Clutter is awesome because it has awesome people sharing their stories.

Michelle Reeve

Michelle is the host of Clutter, and a recovering spider scientist. She now does a whole bunch of science communication things, and still regularly wrangles arachnids.

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