Sunday, April 26, 2009

Women in Science

While women’s rights have lead to amazing strides for women in science, unfortunately, those who do choose the field may still have to put up with chauvinism and exclusionary attitudes.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Humorous Aside: Job Satisfaction

I did a quick job satisfaction survey, check out the plot below.

Humorous Aside: The significance of beer and statistics

Did you know that scientists regularly require each other to show that their experiments are ‘significant’? This is typically done with a particular test (nerd alert! the t-test) that was developed over 100 years ago in a Guinness beer factory. The test was created long before computers but everyone still uses it despite the fact that if you collect many more samples than you could have by hand, the test will almost certainly give you the ‘significance’ that you’re looking for in your experiments.

Humorous Aside: Slow peer review

A colleague of mine made an important point on peer review: it takes so long for a typical peer-reviewed journal paper to get published that by the time it reaches publication, state-of-the-art research is often no longer state-of-the-art. As my colleague points out this long turn around time also forces many researches to repeat the same work of others simply because they don’t have access to the other researcher’s work!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Peer Review

One of my main complaints with the world of science is that to advance one’s career, one must accumulate peer-reviewed journal publications. While having research articles reviewed by fellow specialist scientists clearly helps maintain a higher level of research paper quality, the present peer-review system is severely biased. 

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Humorous Aside: Career training vs. pay

For this site's first tidbit of the funnier side of science I provide for you a carefully researched and crafted plot of how much education/job training is needed compared with the pay for a variety of jobs. Note the awkward position scientists take: the gargantuan amounts of job training is not matched by a corresponding rise in pay – this didn’t bother me in the least when I signed up for graduate school, but now that I’m burdened down with debts I’ve got a bit of a different perspective.