About this site

“I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere”

Jarvis Cocker (1995) Sorted for Es and Wizz

I want to start by saying this site is a sideways look at the world through scientific eyes but all I hear is the voice of a colleague who would read that and say ‘yes but what do you mean by scientific eyes?’ And that would be a very good question and one that I will try and answer at a later date. Maybe it’s better to start instead by just listing what I want to include. Mainly that’s cartoons, some as standalone jokes, some as variations on a theme and some that are cartoons in style but try to convey or explain a serious concept. I don’t get paid to draw cartoons (at least not enough to pay the mortgage) and so I also want to include topics from my proper day job which is medical education.

What separates all this from some trivial vanity project? On one level, nothing really. On the other hand I’m not writing this for fame, the blogs – but more especially the cartoons – are a release and a form of expression. I’m going to draw them anyway and the thoughts are in my head anyway so why not stick them somewhere that someone might find them useful or amusing. This is certainly the motivation behind contributing to open source projects like SciDraw. I’ve benefitted greatly from the skills and offerings of others, on Stack Overflow, Wikipedia etc., and I don’t think it naive to hope that the internet can be a force for good when people share. It’s also why I put my particularly geeky cartoons on here and the more accessible science ones, plus lots of general ones, on my other website Drawntothesea.com If I didn’t, then they’d only sit in a drawer. I still get a little thrill every time I sell some merchandise but I’m just as chuffed when someone asks if they can use my cartoons in their presentation.

The same goes for medical education. I don’t claim to be an expert but I’ve been teaching for a long time and have gained a lot from working with many talented colleagues over the years, many of whom are featured here. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that there isn’t one approach that is always the best and everyone is different in how they deliver and respond to teaching. So it would be ridiculous for me then to claim to know what’s best. I have opinions and experiences, we all do, feel free to agree, disagree or ignore them.

Thank you for reading this far, I hope you enjoy the rest of the site. If that wasn’t enough about me, you can find out more about how axonology came to be in the Prehistory of Axonology.