Small World

Scientist on Assignment

Department of Physics Blogs
Published: August

Day one done.

It started off pretty slowly. I woke up early (for an academic) and caught the bus into London. While riding in, I wrote today’s first blog post and got to the FT with plenty of time to spare. I even sat in a cafe and did a bit of physics.

When I arrived in the newsroom, I was shuttled off to sign forms and and learn the content management system at the FT. This is a program that organizes the article submission and metadata. It’s all pretty cut-and-dry: it’s just html-like markup but journalists have to click buttons with a mouse in order to make the header, make an internal link, or anything else.

Going through this program seems to be journalists’ equivalent to doing a WHMIS exam for scientists: its basically common sense and you already vaguely know it all because it’s nearly the same as the household version but it’s important to that everyone does it.

Then things got busy and fun. I was dropped off on the newsroom floor and was immediately given a stack of background material on a company. In ten minutes, I had to be ready to accompany Clive Cookson on an interview. Luckily for me, a big part of the company’s R&D is focused on improving nutrient-uptake in agriculture, which is the same research that is done by the company that my Dad worked for while I was growing up. I wouldn’t be surprised if my Dad knew the CEO. In fact, the CEO is from and still farms in the small part of Canada where I was raised!

I felt completely at home. What a small world.