Off Piste


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Off Piste - Beetlemania

Nicolas Gompel explains how his pet obsession has inspired his investigations into biological diversity

Off Piste – Drawing inspiration

Austin Williams on the possibilities and limitations of ‘taking a line for a walk’

Off Piste - Hammer-time blues

Chris Hackley on his moment of sporting triumph

Off Piste - Learning how to keep ducks

Helen Bynum on the rewards, delight and egg-citement of dabbling in duck-keeping

Off Piste - Unfamiliar territory

To many in the West, Central Asia is a bewildering array of indistinguishable nations. But if you take the time to get to know them, argues David Mould, the ‘stans’ are fascinating individuals

Off Piste - The sea, the sea

A childhood spent near the coast sparked Frances Ashcroft’s lifelong passion for biology. It also meant she caught the sailing bug early on, and she has been captivated - and frequently capsized - ever since

Off Piste - Is it really so strange?

A young Nick Hillman chose Manchester less for the university’s eminent historians than for the city’s glorious music scene - and despite the latter’s loathing for his Conservative heroine

Off Piste - Vicious cycle

With cycling enjoying huge popularity after the successes of Bradley Wiggins and other Olympians, Thomas Docherty explores how the pain, endurance and concentration demanded by the sport’s premier event, the Tour de France, find parallels in academic life

Off Piste - Hive talking

Can useful parallels be drawn between apiculture and running a university? Ruth Farwell does both and isn’t sure, but one thing’s for certain: in both pursuits, losing your cool can sting

Off Piste - Heart and Seoul

Scholarly links introduced R.C. Richardson to the Republic of Korea. His sole regret, in an ensuing 30-year love affair with its land, culture and people, is that so few of his fellow Britons choose it as a travel destination

Off Piste - And he stoned me

The ebb and flow of time has served only to deepen Ray Dolan’s passion for Van Morrison’s restless musical journey into the mystic

Off Piste - Pools of Thought

Valerie Sanders has overcome her fear of water - as long as it's the indoor, chlorinated variety - to discover a love of swimming that brings out the worst and the best in her

Off Piste - Lesser Spotted - Well, that's just the professors

Physicist Athene Donald's pleasure in people-watching may owe something to a childhood spent observing birds of all kinds as they soared over city heaths and icy coastal mudflats

Off Piste - Long walks to freedom

Jeremy Black extols the physical - and psychological - benefits of a country stroll

Off Piste - Ticket to glide

Circling hilltop castles and seeking out thermals, occasionally shadowed by a sociable buzzard - Paul Nurse attests to the joys of taking to the skies on the slenderest of wings

Off Piste - The Anarchic view from the hutch

When an anthropologist and her partner were arrested on the eve of the royal wedding for planning an anti-monarchy mock execution, the incident ended up on YouTube - and the footage revealed concern over who would feed Flopsy, their pet rabbit. Here, Camilla Power explains that our long-eared friends are not just cuddly, they're cat-taming, fox-outwitting, police-baiting natural born rebels, too

Off Piste - A touch of class amid the asters and arias

Helen Fulton is unrepentant about her addiction to Glyndebourne, where high-end opera meets country-house garden to the delight of those of the English bourgeoisie who have secured tickets

Off Piste - A Connecticut Yankee in King Alan's court

Thom Brooks is living the American Dream, not in the US itself but among the Geordies. And unlike Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee, coming to the UK feels like a journey to the future, not the past...

Off Piste - Fascinating rhythm

A Dance to the Music of Time offers profound insights into life's contingencies and the nature of Englishness in the 20th century, writes Vernon Bogdanor

Off Piste: Truths, lies and Gallic shrugs

Martin Cohen, a long-term resident of Normandy, presents a gourmet repast of his 11 favourite myths about the French, from barefaced fibs to insouciant self-deception and charming vérité

Most Viewed

Academy Award-winning actress visits archives and old laboratories where the famous British scientist worked

  • Foot about to step on banana peel

Kevin Haggerty and Aaron Doyle offer tips on making postgraduate study even tougher (which students could also use to avoid pitfalls if they prefer)

  • Harvard University statue

China continues to advance, but Japan dips in Shanghai Jiao Tong ranking based on research strength

  • Man lying beneath rugby pile-up

Six academics share their experiences before delivering a verdict on the system

There are some important dos and don’ts to bear in mind when choosing someone to oversee your doctoral thesis, advises Tara Brabazon