An Interview with Bora Zivkovic of A Blog Around the Clock

This time around, we're talking to Bora Zivkovic of A Blog Around The Clock.

What's your name?
Bora Zivkovic, better known online as "Coturnix" (the Latin name of the genus of my favourite lab animal model).

What do you do when you're not blogging?
I am a stay-at-home Dad and also an adjunct biology teacher in adult college education. I am also writing my dissertation incredibly slowly. Sometimes I sleep, too.

What is your blog called?
A Blog Around the Clock

What's up with that name?
I am a chronobiologist so I often write about circadian clocks. I also write all the time and post at all times of day and night. The title also dates me and my music preferences. And it all comes together in the beautiful banner painted by Carel Pieter Brest van Kempen.

How long have you been blogging, anyway?
A little over two years on my own blog(s). A little longer on other people's blogs, campaign blogs, etc.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). I came to the USA, to North Carolina, one week before the wars broke out at home in 1991. I became a US citizen in 1998. I have lived in Raleigh for 11 years, in Cary for 9 months and in Chapel Hill (which I really love) for the past 3 plus years.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
I wish. I burned out as ABD after 10 years in grad school. It is hard for anyone to get postdocs and jobs these days, and it will be even harder for me with a two-year gap in my CV, but I'll do whatever it takes to get myself back into the lab as soon as possible.

Any educational experiences or degrees you'd like to mention?
Biochemistry and molecular biology major in high school in Yugoslavia. Unfinished vet school at University of Belgrade. MS in Zoology/Physiology at NCSU. School Of Hard Knocks.

What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
I have always tried to remain as broad as possible in my interest and research. While questions of biological timing are central, I try to approach them from as many angles and at as many levels as possible (i.e., the Integrative and Comparative approach), from molecules through development, neuroendocrinology and reproduction, to behavior, ecology and evolution. I also have interests in history, sociology and philosophy of biology.

The last book you read?
I tend to read several simultaneously, usually one academic science, one popular science, one current events/politics/society, one science-fiction. The very latest I finished today: Snooze...or Lose! by Helene Emsellem.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Not having to get up early. Nice weather to go outside and enjoy it with my family and friends. No need to get in a car. A day (a November 4) when a Democrat gets elected President will also be quite a perfect day. My Ph.D. defense day (if successful) will be the most perfect day.

What's your greatest habitual annoyance?
Authority demanded yet undeserved.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Sherlock Holmes. The Three Investigators. Hermione Grainger. Billy, the Galactic Hero.

Your favorite heroes in real life?
My wife - all those 12-hour night-shifts in the ICU....

What's your most marked characteristic?
Skinny. Big nose.

What's your principal defect?
I talk too much.

What quality do you admire most in a person?
Open-mindedness and humility.

Who are your favorite writers?
Mark Twain, Edgar Allan Poe, a number of SF writers, Stephen Jay Gould and some Yugoslavs you have probably never heard of...

What would you like to be?
25 again, but knowing what I know now.


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