Varoufakis side of the story

It was a pleasure and an honour to host John Allen for a seminar series in Mexico. During two weeks in the spring of 2016, we found time to discuss many issues beyond science or academic slavery in British universities: in a typical Sanborns café in Coyoacan we also discussed the upcoming referendum that would recommend on whether the United Kingdom (UK) should severe ties with the European Union (EU). Sharing internationalist values, but also valuing sovereignity, democracy, social justice, education, the call was not obvious. John had recently read a Guardian article by Yanis Varoufakis and was keen to hear my views on him. So I tried to summarize the turbulent first half of 2015…

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Το γλυκό κρασί της Σάμου και άλλα καλοκαιρινά αναγνώσματα

Το άλλο πρωΐ πήγα στην πλατεία του Γκύζη για το κούρεμά μου. Είχε 1-2 ανθρώπους πριν από μένα, γι’ αυτό και πέρασα πρώτα από ένα μικρό βιβλιοπωλείο, οπού προμηθεύτηκα τους παρακάτω τίτλους.

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The Jungle | Upton Sinclair Jr.

“A SERIES of breeding experiments with the common pomace-fly, Drosophila ampelophila Loew., conducted during the past five years principally by my pupils and still in progress, has yielded certain results which it is the purpose of this note to summarize” starts his 1906 Science paper, William Ernest Castle, who had already put to practice advice by Charles William Woodworth that Drosophila was an ideal organism to study genetics.  “Low productiveness is inherited after the manner of a Mendelian recessive character in certain of the crosses made, skipping a generation and then reappearing…” is one of the conclusions. Low productiveness referred to a low number of offspring produced by single parent matings. (more…)

wrong direction

After being dismissed ‘on grounds of redundancy’, Babis Magoulas and I took Queen Mary University of London at independent Employment Tribunals. Judge Foxwell heard the two cases and dismissed both. We then appealed, but only my appeal was upheld. I wrote 3 posts (here) criticising the Judgments in Magoulas v QMUL that, in my view, failed to serve justice. For a summary see “academic position, age discrimination and social justice“. I won’t rehearse again all arguments, but I was reminded today only of this one. In a piece where I claim that generating large surpluses at public Universities is wrong, I also suggested the Law should become clearer in demanding that Employers effecting dismissals should first demonstrate that their whole institution is in need of cost-cutting, since in the case of Babis, Queen Mary was operating on a surplus of £9-17M, claiming that its Medical School was £2M in deficit that justified the compulsory redundancies. I mention the above, because the new Head of School in my former department (who replaced this one) announced that the new Principal (who replaced this one) has made it clear he wants to increase the present £30M surplus to £50M…

The toxic environment has spread to many UK universities. Such spreading does not make it right. Colleagues need to organise, resist and revolt. (more…)

Για τον Φώτη Καφάτο

Πρώτη φορά γνώρισα τον Φώτη Καφάτο στο γραφείο του Ηλία Κούβελα, καθηγητή νευροφυσιολογίας (κάπου στο 1996 ή 1997), συναδέλφου της μητέρας μου στο τμήμα Ιατρικής του Πανεπιστημίου Πατρών. Ο Φώτης ήταν ήδη ιδιαίτερα γνωστός ως “ο νεότερος επιστήμονας στην ιστορία του Harvard που είχε λάβει τον τίτλο του καθηγητή” και ως ο πρώτος διευθυντής του Ινστιτούτου Μοριακής Βιολογίας και Βιοτεχνολογίας στο Ηράκλειο της Κρήτης. Ερχόταν όμως στην Πάτρα από τη Χαϊδελβέργη, όπου είχε αναλάβει τη διοίκηση του Ευρωπαϊκού Εργαστηρίου Μοριακής Βιολογίας (EMBL)!

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