One of the many things lacking in most media coverage of science is the actual process of how science gets done. Unfortunately, the whole concept of being a graduate student is foreign to most people who haven't been in research themselves. I can't count how many well meaning relatives have asked me how my classes are going or wondered how I can not know precisely when I'm going to graduate. Given the woeful state of obscurity in which most of us are working, I was excited this afternoon to read the first in a series of articles at Ars Technica by a Dutch physicist who plans to blog the entire process of building his research program as an assistant professor. The first post discusses the challenges of building a balanced portfolio of research questions that will allow him to both meet the short-term needs of his graduate students and the long-term expectations of his tenure committee.
This first post, at least, is well written, casually disarming, and full of insight into the basic process of creating science from the raw material of ideas and idealistic students. I'm looking forward to the next post, and can't wait for the spin-off reality tv show.