Tuesday, 28 August 2007
Friday, 24 August 2007
Why are there not more women in academic positions? Having discussed this very question with friends and colleagues, there doesn’t appear to be a simple answer. It seems that many women are put off by the competitive environment and the aggressiveness that is needed to be successful in academia. Others feel that there is a lack of acceptance of female scientists, making it even harder for them to gain the recognition they deserve. Another common deterrent is the limited child-care facilities and support for women who want to have children and work full-time. For many women, there just doesn’t seem to be enough incentive to follow an academic career.
Universities are acknowledging these issues and making more of an effort to support and encourage female scientists and engineers in their education and vocation. At Delft University of Technology, the Delft Women in Science (DEWIS) network was established to provide mentoring and coaching as well as professional and personal development lectures and workshops to female students and staff members. With funding agencies such as NWO offering subsidies for female scientists and engineers, there is clearly an effort to provide more opportunities and better working conditions for female academics. It will be interesting to see if more women take advantage of such opportunities in the coming years.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Tuesday, 14 August 2007
For the chocolate meringue base:
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, sieved
1 teaspoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
50g dark chocolate, finely chopped
For the topping:
500ml double cream
2-3 tablespoons coarsely grated dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Beat the egg whites until satiny peaks form, and then beat in the sugar a spoonful at a time until the meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over the cocoa and vinegar, and the chopped chocolate. Then gently fold everything until the cocoa is thoroughly mixed in. Mound on to a baking sheet in a fat circle approximately 23cm in diameter, smoothing the sides and top. Place in the oven, then immediately turn the temperature down to 150 degrees Celsius and cook for about one to one and a quarter hours. When it's ready it should look crisp around the edges and on the sides and be dry on top, but when you touch the centre you should feel slightly soft. Turn off the oven and open the door slightly, and let the chocolate meringue cool completely.
When you are ready to serve, place on to a large, flat-bottomed plate. Whisk the cream till thick but still soft and pile it on top of the meringue, then scatter over the raspberries. Coarsely grate the chocolate into curls and sprinkle over the top.