Stories

De zonde der onzichtbaarheid

by Dirk van Miert, Associate Professor of Early Modern Cultural History at Utrecht University, specialized in the history of knowledge “Ze mag wel wat zichtbaarder zijn.” Het was een veelgehoord zinnetje in een recente ronde gesprekken tussen afdelingshoofden en departementale bestuursleden over de wetenschappelijke medewerkers van het departement. Zichtbaarheid is een belangrijke deugd voor academici. Als anderen binnen en buiten de organisatie je naam vaak tegenkomen, dan is dat een… Read More »De zonde der onzichtbaarheid

Hypercriticism, or the spectre of Momus

by Arnoud Visser, Professor of Textual Culture in the Renaissance in the Department of Languages, Literature and Communication of Utrecht University In the history of knowledge the gadfly, at first sight a rather wretched animal, plays a remarkably intriguing, symbolic role. Known as an insect with the annoying habit of biting cattle and humans alike (in order to drink their victims’ blood), producing painful stings, the animal was also famously… Read More »Hypercriticism, or the spectre of Momus

Cool heads and open minds: dealing with the potentially vanilla S-wave superconductor Sr2RuO4

by Remko Fermin, third year PhD candidate at Leiden University working on correlated electron matter with a focus on unconventional superconductivity Last year, Andrew Mackenzie, section director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, published ‘A personal perspective on the Unconventional Superconductivity in Sr2RuO4’[1], which for me contains two important virtues of the natural sciences. In order to explain these properly, first a small introduction… Read More »Cool heads and open minds: dealing with the potentially vanilla S-wave superconductor Sr2RuO4

The ‘search’ in ‘research’

by Edurne de Wilde, PhD candidate at Scholarly Vices: A Longue Durée History I recently came across an intriguing essay by Joost de Vries, titled Echte pretentie (‘True pretension’).[1] De Vries closely examines the notion of pretension by discussing a variety of contexts in which it can be encountered, ranging from wine to politics. While De Vries admits that pretension is mostly considered to be a reproach, he keeps an… Read More »The ‘search’ in ‘research’

Sociability on the spectrum between academic virtue and vice

by Anne Por, PhD candidate at Scholarly Vices: A Longue Durée History It is widely agreed that it is good to be social. Social people supposedly create a good working atmosphere, and it is clearly beneficial to have a good network. Vacancies generally list requirements dealing with social conduct and applicants are expected to elaborate on their social competences. Grants are awarded to those who are seen as capable of… Read More »Sociability on the spectrum between academic virtue and vice

21st-century virtues and vices: collecting stories from the field

How are academics molded by the institutions in which they work? What do teaching and mentoring do with the kind of persons we are? How does competition for money or status affect our mental habits? What kind of conduct do 21st-century universities encourage (e.g., by rewarding it) or discourage? In short, what are typically 21st-century academic virtues and vices? These are central questions for a series of guest columns on… Read More »21st-century virtues and vices: collecting stories from the field