Monday, 30 September 2013


Today is my first day of officially being a PhD student. This blog will, I hope, chronicle my adventures into the deeper world of science. As well as blogging about themes related to my project, I will detail other things affecting my career and my work.

I hope that this blog will be of some use to those students considering undertaking a PhD; I know there is a lot of confusing and often frightening information out there about what a PhD entails. Most of it seems to be pretty accurate, judging by what my friends have been through, but as a relentless optimist I hope to show the brighter side of academia while remaining honest about its darker side.

In addition to its usefulness for other potential students, I hope my writing will appeal to a wider audience. I will not use jargon without explaining it, and will do my best to give an honest but light-hearted representation of my subject and the world of science. It should also be illuminating to those who are interested in spiders (or even those who are afraid of them!), as my project concerns trapdoor spiders in the genus Cantuaria. If you are a Miss Muffet (arachnophobe), please do not let my subject put you off. The more you learn about something, the more you understand it, and the less you fear it. Trapdoor spiders are harmless, chunky, sedate spiders who spend their whole time in their burrows and generally do not venture into human habitation (except for the males, who wander when they are looking for love). They do not have long legs, they are not aggressive and they do not bite unless you try very hard to annoy them (and even then they give you a warning).

Finally, I hope to use this blog to gain ideas and advice from other scientists. If you see in my writing that I have done something badly, wrongly or inefficiently, please do not hesitate to say so; I thrive on criticism. If you have ideas, experiences, questions, or similar, please post them or contact me.