Category Archives: Science

My MA reading list

One of the great things about being an academic is sabbatical, or as we call in at my university, research and study leave. I’ve got six months of it this year, from May through October, and I’m looking forward to … Continue reading

Posted in Antarctic, Creative non-fiction, Kermadecs, Personal, Science, Travel, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A tribute to my father: Nigel Priestley (1943-2014)

First published in the Listener, issue 3898, 22 January 2015. One day, shortly before I started school, my father took me to his work at the Ministry of Works’ central laboratories, where he was head of structures. When his colleagues … Continue reading

Posted in Listener science, Personal, Science, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Particle Fever review

The thing that differentiates scientists,” says physicist Savas Dimopoulos in Particle Fever, “is purely an artistic ability to discern what is a good idea, what is a beautiful idea, what is worth spending time on and, most importantly, what is … Continue reading

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Kermadecs voyage #2: The mystery of the floating pumice

I was planning to write this personal blog at the same time as writing one for Scientific American, but I’m so busy circumnavigating islands in a RHIB, flying into volcanic craters in a Navy Seasprite, fishing for sharks off the … Continue reading

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Of noddies, humpbacks, tubeworms and sea mats

Late last year I wrote an essay about the science and history of the Kermadec Islands for a gorgeous new book, Kermadec. I was just getting an excerpt from it ready to post when I heard that a Department of … Continue reading

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Alice’s Antarctic diaries

On my recent trip to Antarctica, my fellow writer and near-constant companion was Wellington poet and all-round writer person Alice Miller. We shared a bunk room together, made each other many coffees, bought each other many drinks, and went on … Continue reading

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