Archive by date | August 2007

Online symposia and groups to develop students’ skills

In an Essay, “Look who’s talking too: graduates developing skills through communication” in the September issue of Nature Reviews Genetics (Nat. Rev. Genet. 8, 724-726; 2007), Eleni M. Tomazou & Gareth T. Powell of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, write that “greater opportunities for young scientists to present their doctoral research to large general audiences will encourage development of transferable skills and involvement in the scientific community.” In their article, they describe how students communicate their research and explore the benefits of student-led meetings.  Read more

Recommended bioinformatics blogs

Nodalpoint has recently updated its list of high-quality computational biology and related weblogs. If you have a bioinformatics or related blog and want to be included, or if you want to suggest a blog for inclusion, please go to the Nodalpoint link above and submit your suggestion via the weblinks form. And if you don’t have a blog and wonder why a scientist should want to blog, I borrow from a 2005 Nodalpoint post a quote from physicist Sean Carroll, who blogs at Cosmic Variance:  … Read more

Pros and cons of the embargo system

In an article entitled Science reporting’s dark secret , David Whitehouse (a former BBC science correspondent) writes in the Independent newspaper about his growing feeling that the embargo system is a thing of the past. According to Mr Whitehouse, the embargo system encourages bland, indistinguishable science coverage across newspapers; forces Sunday newspapers to publish “daft” science stories; acts as a marketing tool for the journals; and is disliked by scientists. Read his stimulating article (at the link above) for more details of this indictment.  Read more

Finding the humour in puns

Two contrasting views on puns in science reporting are expressed in Nature‘s Correspondence pages. First, Jeff Craig of the Royal Children’s Hospital, Victoria, Australia (Nature448, 864-865; 2007) writes: I beg to differ with Renée M. Ned and Lisa N. Steele’s Correspondence ’Slang’s not so slick when you remember its origins’ (Nature 447, 775; 2007) about the use of the word ‘pimp’ in a News Feature headline (‘Pimp my antibody’ Nature 446, 964–966; 2007).  Read more

Promoting peace through science

In 2002, a bold initiative—the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization (IPSO)—was launched to bring together scientists from both sides to pursue common projects. Unlike other ventures, IPSO is administered jointly by Palestinians and Israelis, and grants awarded under its auspices require Palestinian-Israeli partnership. In its mission statement , IPSO proposes to build an infrastructure that creates and sustains development, collaboration and education between the communities through the universal language of science. Scientific research endeavors involving people working together as equal partners would produce practical results and would likewise engender personal trust and friendship between people living in the two communities.  Read more

Raw deal for young biology researchers

It’s official: biology postgraduates in the United States face greater competition for tenure than ever before. A wealth of data released this month will reopen discussions about employment and training in the US biomedical system, writes Erika Check in a Nature news report (Nature 448, 848-849; 2007). According to data collected by FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) from several sources, the number of biology students in graduate programmes has increased steadily since 1966, but the number of biomedical PhDs with tenure has remained constant (See the Nature news report for a graph.)  … Read more

Rhetoric in scientific writing

Steven Shapin of the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University, discusses the art of persuasion in scientific writing in his review of the book The Scientific Literature: A Guided Tour, edited by Joseph E. Harmon and Alan G. Gross (University of Chicago Press). From his review:  … Read more