Communicating Science

I am a big fan of John Oliver and his HBO show ‘Last Week Tonight.’  Last night the show covered a topic near and dear to me, the publication of science and how it is communicated to the layperson. He raises very important points about how scientists are motivated to produce exciting new research for grants and tenure, rather than replicating existing studies to prove or disprove them.  He also talks about how science is portrayed in the media, and how studies are interpreted without context or fine details. We need science communicators.  People who are scientifically literate and can communicate complex...

Motivation Monday: Fail Better

We’re more than a week into the new year, and I’m sure some of you have already given up on your new year’s resolutions and goals.  It happens, so don’t beat yourself up, especially since I consider failure part of the process.  In fact, failure is a necessary step to reaching success. So often we see failure as the end, the stopping point in our goal, so we have to bring our effort to a halt and start again.  But if there is one important lesson I’ve learned in the last few years, it’s that failure can’t stop anyone from succeeding. ...

X-Ray Vision

If you actually had the ability to see X-Rays, the world around you would look pretty boring.  Actually it would be invisible, since nothing around you gives off X-rays.  You might be able to see an imaging device if you live or work near a medical office, but that’s about it.  If you looked at the night sky, you would see many interesting sources of X-Ray light, mostly from active black holes in our own galaxy and beyond.  Recently a high-resolution scan of the Andromeda Galaxy revealed a plethora of sources, showing where black holes and neutron stars are feeding...

Motivation Monday: Learning to Learn

There is no question that student debt is increasing.  Since 2000, student debt in North America has grown by over 500%.  Tuition goes up, cost of living goes up, and students end up with more debt.  This wouldn’t be a huge problem if wages and salaries increased proportionately, but they don’t.  There are also less jobs available for students when they graduate.  So basically the cost of everything is going up, and when you finish school you have little hope of getting a good job in your field, and even if you do, you certainly won’t be paid an appropriate...