My Personal Plans for 2009

The end of the year is always a time to think about the past and the future. Even more so if you also have your birthday (FemaleScienceProfessor calls it Christmas Time Birthdays). Below are some of my plans for the next year. The general theme: more overlap of science blogging with my daytime job as physician treating cancer patients and doing cancer research.

Meet fellow science bloggers
I'm looking forward to ScienceOnline'09 in January. Please contact me by email if you have an interesting idea for the session Providing public health and medical information to all. Cromer is so Bracing in February will be very different, maybe something like conversations at the fireplace? And I hope we repeat Science Blogging 2008: London.

Start a new job
If everything works out as expected, I will start a new job next year. It will still be at my institution and will in fact be very similar, but will present new challenges and opportunities. One of these new opportunities is science communication, or how to communicate our efforts in cancer research and treating cancer patients both within our institution and to the public.

Blog more about research
Science blogging means many different things to different people. Blogging about research (your own or that of other people) is one important part of it. In 2008 I have written only a few blog posts about research (e.g. this one), but I want to do more of it in 2009. Blogs and Research Blogging are great tools to find blogging about research, and I hope the broken integration of Nature Network blog posts with Research Blogging will soon be fixed.

Start a new blog
Related to the last two topics, I might start a new blog. This would be a German-language blog and would be an official blog of our institution. But first I have to convince a few people that such a blog is a good idea. I might ask Ed Yong for advice, as he writes for Cancer Research UK.

Find good papers
The Good Paper Journal Club is a Nature Network Forum to promote good scientific writing. It is a good idea and the forum has over 200 members and some very intresting discussions, but it is very time-consuming to find good examples of well-written papers. The best approach would be regular contributions by a large number of people, but the incentives for doing so are probably not there. But it is possible to pick well-written papers from a journal I read anyway, so I will try to do that for Nature in regular intervals in 2009. And in January I will give my first seminar on science writing.

Collaborate with fellow science bloggers
We constantly have many interesting and (sometimes) important discussions. Why shouldn't more of these discussions turn into formal projects, e.g. a paper or a presentation at a science conference? Science bloggers are a very diverse mix of people, and this could lead to some very interesting approaches.

Spend more time cooking
I think it is important to also do stuff not related to science. Some fellow Nature Network bloggers write books (Jennifer Rohn, Henry Gee), write about books (Maxine Clarke), write about music (Eva Amsen), write about food (Anna Kushnir) or write about their favorite city (Matt Brown). I like cooking. I don't write about it, but I hope to do more cooking in 2009. Preparing good food is not only tasty and fun, but also a good distraction from the daytime work. And reading a good cookbook (for example Culinary Artistry) can be as entertaining as reading a good novel.

Go to a warm place in the summer
This year's summer vacation was basically a trip to London for a long weekend. Next year I need a longer summer vacation, and also a place with more sun. We have almost finished planning our trip to this place:

Flickr Picture by Scott Ingram

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18 Responses to My Personal Plans for 2009

  1. steffi suhr says:

    Martin, I’m excited about your idea of collaborating more formally on some projects – I wholeheartedly agree that it would be worthwhile! And I’m curious: where are you giving the science writing seminar?
    All the best to you for the new year, and may your summer vacation to Utah be fantastic – it’s an absolutely magical place!!

  2. Martin Fenner says:

    the science writing seminar is for our graduate students at Hanover Medical School. And Utah (especially Moab, close to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks) is one of our favorite places – this will be my 4th time there. And I’m open for all kinds of collaborative ideas.

  3. steffi suhr says:

    We lived ‘just’ six hours away from Moab… and now we’re so much further, it’s difficult to say when we’ll go there next! Aaargh, why can’t one have everything, always.

  4. Stephen Curry says:

    That’s an impressive list of new year’s resolutions – good luck! And, happy birthday?

  5. Martin Fenner says:

    Steve, I wouldn’t call it resolutions… And thanks, my birthday was yesterday. We went out for a fantastic dinner.
    Steffi, just think of all the places you can reach in 6 hours from Lüneburg.

  6. steffi suhr says:

    Point taken. And happy birthday! (That Curry character pays so much more attention.)

  7. Katherine Haxton says:

    Happy Birthday, Season’s Greetings! I’m looking forward to ScienceOnline09 too. Nice to ‘get out of town’ for a few days in the dark days of January, and meet up with some bloggers I’ve been reading for the last few years.
    Would be great if there was a repeat of the Science Blogging conference in London – it was very interesting.

  8. Eva Amsen says:

    If there was a repeat of the Science Blogging conference in London, I’d probably come.
    Also, happy belated birthday, and see you at ScienceOnline09! It’s so soon! (It’s my tenth day at a new job, but I already had the ticket to Raleigh when they offered me the job, and it’s non-refundable, so I _have_ to go!)

  9. Richard P. Grant says:

    _If there was a repeat of the Science Blogging conference in London, I’d probably come._
    Seeing as I’ll _be_ in London…

  10. Katherine Haxton says:

    Sounds like Richard’s offering to help organize something…

  11. Richard P. Grant says:

    Barbecues. I’ll organize the barbecue.

  12. Mike Fowler says:

    From photos of last years London event, I assumed Richard was in charge of the babycham.

  13. Katherine Haxton says:

    I just read _babycham_ as *babycharm*. Best stick with BBQs

  14. Kristi Vogel says:

    Happy New Year Martin, and a belated Happy Birthday as well. Arches NP is a wonderful place, as you well know. Have you been to Bryce and Zion yet? I went on a trail ride at Zion NP, and one of the guides rode a mule, rather than a horse. He kept making jokes about his ass.
    I’d like to spend more time cooking in 2009 as well, hopefully with more local and organic ingredients, and with more vegetarian and low-carb recipes. I also signed up for this “Health and Fitness Initiative”:, which a friend and I were laughing about yesterday because it’s ridiculously easy to meet the weekly goal. I already exceed the goal just walking the dog every night; that, plus an hour of horseback riding/polocrosse practice yesterday, and 45 minutes of swimming today, has put me over my weekly goal in just two days.
    Oh, well, it’s for the greater glory of the university system, and we have a serious problem in this country with obesity and lack of physical activity. Texans have a particularly bad record, so maybe I should try to encourage some of my co-workers.

  15. Martin Fenner says:

    Kristi, I’ve been to Bryce Canyon and Zion, two other wonderful places in Utah that can be visited more than once. But it will be the first time I visit Sedona, Mesa Verde National Park and Silverton.

  16. Heather Etchevers says:

    Hi Martin – a great set of resolutions. But now I feel guilty about the Good Paper Journal Club. To try to buy back your esteem, our Christmas dinner first course was seared foie gras and scallops with roe, served with spiced mango chutney over baby greens. It’s painfully easy, though expensive, if you can get the primary ingredients.
    Kristi – thanks for the link! One needs to think about what is considered to be activity, though – do you remember that article that discussed how hotel cleaning women who were overweight were compared to a similar group of women who knew that they were burning calories from running the vacuum and doing all their other tasks, and how the latter group lost more weight? I can’t remember where I came across that. Anyhow, I am working off the foie gras on the stairs at work :-)

  17. Henry Gee says:

    Martin – I’m very much looking forward to welcoming you (and everyone else) to “Cromer Is So Bracing ’09″: Yes, it’ll be more of a fireside chat kind of thing, with healthful walks on the beach, fish and chips and so on and so forth.

  18. Martin Fenner says:

    Heather, your christmas dinner sounds very tasty. I love scallops, but they are difficult to get and expensive where I live. Interestingly, the authors of the *Culinary Artistry* cookbook also read this blog post and send me a nice note via email.
    Henry, I’m looking forward to Cromer beach. I will bring sunscreen and towel.