Sam Ireland


Here I write about anything interesting that might happen, or about uninteresting things that happen if I feel like I've gone too long without putting anything here. I've been keeping this since 2014.

June 30, 2019


This month I set up a company called Goodwright with my friend Alex. There's a few different things we plan for Goodwright to do, but initially at least we will be making websites for scientists and their own labs, so that they can show off their research to the ...

April 1, 2019

18 Months

Given that my PhD project started in October 2017, and given that it will (presumably) end in September 2020, the weekend just gone marks the exact halfway point of the project - 18 months in, 18 months to go.

This doesn’t feel as intimidating as I might have expected, or ...

Dec. 16, 2018


Had my upgrade viva this week, and passed - so I finally have official PhD student status, and am on the way to project completion - which is still 21 months (and one week, and one day) away in September 2020. Exciting! If it goes as quickly as the previous two years ...

Sept. 28, 2018


28 now. Was 27 yesterday and now I'm 28. Planning on remaining 28 for about a year I think.

April 29, 2018


This weekend I went to visit Ypres in Flanders, Belgium. The First World War is something I’ve always liked reading about, so in the centennary year I really wanted to finally go and see some of the places where it took place.

Ypres itself is a very attractive place ...

Jan. 25, 2018


Rebuilt the website from scratch again - seems to be a bit of a habit now. I'm pretty happy with the incarnation now though. And for once it actually has content everywhere where there is supposed to be content.

I'm four months into my PhD project now, and still ...

Oct. 11, 2017

New Lab

I have now officially started my PhD. As of last week, and for the next three years, I will be working on software for the cataloging, detecting, predicting and analysing of zinc binding sites.

Three years is the longest I will ever have spent on a single project, and the ...

July 11, 2017

PhD Project

It's been a while since I posted, as I recently rebuilt the website from scratch and never really got around to re-adding the blog until now. I'm going to re-add the old posts eventually though, because I know how much mankind depends on those being accessible.

After nearly ...

Jan. 28, 2017

Abingdon and Edinburgh

Spent the week in various places. In the first half of the week I was in Abingdon on a training course for some molecular dynamics tools. It was the first meeting/conference style event that I've been to for the PhD, and it was a nice experience.

Abingdon itself ...

Dec. 26, 2016


Merry Christmas.

Dec. 5, 2016

December in London

The end of the year is approaching, and so is Christmas. This will be my first Christmas time in London since I was 19.

I often feel like I don't really make the most of living in London - never more so than when I do venture out to do ...

Nov. 3, 2016


It's November. It's dark. It's cold.

Started my first rotation, modelling antibodies from X-ray scattering data. I'm quite liking it so far.

London feels like less of a novelty by now, though it wasn't exactly a new city to me so maybe that's to ...

Oct. 1, 2016

PhD Induction

Had the first week of the PhD now - mostly induction events and meeting new people. Feels good to be back, although the tour of UCL was very surreal. I had the exact same tour seven years ago when I was starting as a medical student, and it was almost like ...

Sept. 24, 2016


So I've been in London for almost two weeks now. I've moved in (I now live in Walthamstow), unpacked, got everything set up, and am generally feeling less like a tourist.

I found I missed Edinburgh more that I thought I would in the first few days, but ...

Sept. 10, 2016

Leaving Edinburgh

I moved to Edinburgh five years ago today, to start my degree. Tomorrow I'll be moving to London.

It took a long time for Edinburgh to really feel like home, but at this point it very much does and it will be very sad to leave - regardless of what ...

July 18, 2016

Interesting Times

We had a little referendum here about three weeks ago, on whether the UK should leave the European Union. You may have heard of this.

Anyway, the UK's ever wise and sensible population voted narrowly to leave, and chaos has broken out. No one really seems to know what ...

May 2, 2016


It's been a long time since I last posted, as I've been working for a while now on recreating as a django web application. And here it is! It doesn't look too much different on the front, aside from better mobile display and more responsiveness ...

Feb. 15, 2016


From October of this year, I will officially (1) be a PhD student, and (2) be a Londoner again.

I went down to London at the start of the month to interview and, happily, was offered the place on the Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology programme – very happily in fact ...

Dec. 23, 2015


I am in the middle of a sort of tour of the North. I spent the start of the week in Blackpool, seeing some old friends and generally enjoying being 'home' (wherever that is), and am currently in Bacup, where I'll be spending Christmas itself. I lived in Bacup ...

Oct. 14, 2015


I've been back in Edinburgh for a month now - moved into a new flat, and things are beginning to settle back down to normality.

Starting to think about what I want to do when my current project ends. I've been looking at some PhDs down South that look ...

Sept. 13, 2015

New Job

I am back in Edinburgh. As of tomorrow I will be a Research Fellow at the Centre for Integrative Physiology, working on their enormous drug/receptor database. Very exciting times. The project will last a year, so my residence in Edinburgh (I'm now an employee of the University of ...

Aug. 4, 2015


Three weeks into my exile in Arnside. It has improved a little now that there's an actual internet connection.

Still, I've been pretty busy. I've released my first Python library - PyChats - into the wild. It's now available for download via PyPI. I'm pretty pleased with ...

July 17, 2015


I have left Edinburgh, and am now in Arnside. Not much here to be honest.

Nice views though.

July 5, 2015

Graduation Week

I officially graduated from the University of Edinburgh on Monday - I am now Sam Ireland, B.Sc. (Hons.). I won't be updating my website's domain name.

Still pretty busy, to say I'm unemployed and no longer studying. Currently learning Java as quickly as I can, and hoping ...

June 4, 2015

First Class

The University of Edinburgh has seen fit to award me a First Class degree, so today I'm pretty happy. Four years has flown by, but at least I've finished it with a pretty decent score!

Not much else to report - I've started publishing my projects, and I ...

May 15, 2015

The End

It's over, it's complete. After four years at Edinburgh, and after twenty years of being some sort of student or other, I have finished. The last exam is done and, as of yesterday, my dissertation is complete, bound, and submitted.

Now I have to decide what to do ...

April 22, 2015

Digital Ocean has moved, and now lives on my very own Virtual Private Server from the great guys over at Digital Ocean. The site will be exactly the same (so don't worry Brazilian bots who use my site) but it does mean I should be able to start building ...

Feb. 14, 2015


Almost halfway through the first semester. It's been pretty quiet so far.

Mostly I've just been working on my Honours Project, a virtual screening thing, and it's only recently started to pick up any real steam. Other than that things are much quieter and peaceable than they ...

Jan. 9, 2015


It's 2015. The world has turned.

I'm back in Edinburgh, getting geared up for the dissertation that will make up most of semester eight of eight, which starts on Monday. Once that's over, I have to do... something else I guess. Really should work out what that ...

Dec. 26, 2014


I survived the exams (in the sense that I'm alive anyway) and now I'm here in Blackpool.

Christmas has been pleasant enough - seen friends from home, and family, and I haven't had to be woken up by an alarm in days.

I have had to start work ...

Dec. 12, 2014

Exams, Doom, Gloom

It's December. It's cold. It's exam time. Times are bleak.

It's been ages since I wrote anything here because there's been no time, and nothing has happened really. There was an essay to do. It was about sewage, wastewater treatment, and 'activated sludge.' No one ...

Nov. 10, 2014


It’s been a pretty eventful week or so.

The presentation, so long in the making, was given on Friday 31st. The room was more packed than I had predicted, but it actually went pretty well. There were no hitches, all four of us were pretty good, and even the ...

Oct. 30, 2014


I am in Boston.

We (the iGEM team) arrived yesterday afternoon. I've been pretty much spending all the time since marvelling at the fact that I'm in America.

Hasn't been that much time for tourism though - the big presentation is tomorrow. Having spent the whole Summer working ...

Oct. 8, 2014

New Site Design

I grew quite bored of the old design for the site, and so I have crafted a new one. I am quite pleased with the result, though of course incremental changes will continue to be made. Mobile CSS is last on the list, so it might be about a week ...

Sept. 28, 2014


Happy birthday to me...

Sept. 25, 2014

Referendum and hills

It has been a most eventful week.

The first week back at university was very busy, forcing me to deprive the good citizens of the internet of any posts on here. There were lectures to get used to again and try and learn, a looming project selection deadline which we ...

Sept. 14, 2014

Fourth Year

Got back from London on Tuesday, after my flight on Monday was cancelled because of a bomb scare in the airport. It was a great week - got to see London, some friends, and experience the thrill of a cancelled flight. Hope the next trip down South won't be as ...

Sept. 1, 2014

London Presentation

The team gave their presentation before the other UK iGEM teams today, and I was responsible for talking about the lab stuff. It was a practice run really, for the real deal in Boston. We learned a lot, I think. It went well anyway.

This is part of the two ...

Aug. 28, 2014


Exciting times today, as my new logitech iPad keyboard arrived. I can tell it's going to have a huge effect already - it's made the iPad into essentially a laptop. I uploaded this entry directly as FTP from it! That and Microsoft Office on it mean that I probably ...

July 28, 2014

July End

Nearly August now. Five weeks left until the iGEM project ends, seven until the final year of my degree begins, twenty-two until the year ends. As far as the project goes, progress is picking up, but things won't come together until the end now.

I'm trying to plan ...

July 11, 2014

Moving Day

Now in a new flat! Moved down the road to Sciennes, so spent the day dragging suitcases across Edinburgh. Quite pleased with the end result.

Feels like much less than 11 months since I moved into Marchmont, and no doubt this year will flit by even faster. The world turns ...

June 30, 2014


Been a busy week. The nutri-whatever website version two is pretty much finished, and should be up for tomorrow. I've also made a film for the iGEM project, which was surprisingly time consuming but also quite satisfying.

There is now a cat in the flat. My flatmate has bought ...

June 22, 2014

July Rush

Tomorrow marks the start of week 5 of the iGEM project, and the time remaining is starting to feel a bit less... season length. I think we're making good progress (though there was a setback on Friday), but once July starts the pressure will start to get really pronounced ...

June 10, 2014

SULSA Conference

A fortnight or so since the iGEM competition really started for our team, and we've been attending the SULSA Synthetic Biology conference today and yesterday. It was my first Scientific conference, so I was particularly curious to see how it all proceeded.

It's been a good couple of ...