Merope Tsimilli-Michael, after giving a talk at a conference in honor of George Papageorgiou, where John Allen also participated, asked his opinion on her presentation. In turn, John introduced me to Merope a few months later, while in Mexico (through Skype). I read with interest what she and Pierre Haldimann had to say.
For more than twenty years we have witnessed worrying changes in science… The first symptom was that a number of publications contained serious flaws… the frequency of low quality publications has steadily increased.
Simon Gaskell has announced with an email to all staff his retirement. This is good news for the College, although it will be challenging to find a successor to reverse such decline witnessed in the past few years. Together with the departures of Matthew Evans and Jeremy Kilburn, none of the culprits of the destruction of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences remains in post. As I put it to Gaskell in November 2011:
Simon Gaskell should reinstate John Allen to his post at Queen Mary. It is the right thing to do after the Employment Tribunal’s findings that John’s dismissal was unfair. The Tribunal found that removing the whole of the John’s pre-sabbatical work was such a serious breach of contract that, taken together with the failure to deal with his grievance in a reasonable time, it would have justified resignation and a constructive dismissal claim. (more…)
Internet is changing some aspects of the world we live in. Faster and easier verbal communication between individuals with more dialogues appearing intentionally in the public domain. In separate conversations, I engaged today with Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Bioethics in the Department of Law at Queen Mary University of London and with Anne Marie Cunningham, General Practicioner and Clinical Lecturer in Cardiff University, Wales, UK, neither of whom have I met in person. My “good friend and colleague” also blogged over the use of words in misuse of power, in reply to last night’s tweet from Mexico City! The conversations follow below and can be independently accessed via our respective twitter accounts; I have assumed twitter users don’t mind the reproduction.
Reposting published items on John’s dismissal written by others.
“Now they have got around to sacking John as well, on what has all the appearance of being a trumped-up charge (failing to obey an order from the Head of School)… If you appoint independent thinkers (as surely any university worthy of the name must do), you should not be surprised when they think independently.”
Summary – here I continue a previous comment on the same subject with a new twist to the story. Introducing 400 students to a major subject in biology during a full term is a significant task, especially if their education is to be at a higher level. It took me three years of guided preparation before I was asked to teach the full Cell Biology module single-handedly at Queen Mary University of London. I was then sacked because I opposed dubious management practice so someone else (sadly with fewer qualifications) was recruited and asked to perform this teaching instead. The student body protested in their evaluation forms and the newly recruited lecturer didn’t get her contract renewed. Here I summarise what followed her departure.