Today the editors of the Scientific American Blog Network are announcing a new vision for the network, one with increased editorial oversight and more editorial curation of the subjects covered by network bloggers.
Pennywise and pound-foolish: misidentified cells and competitive pressures in scientific knowledge-building.
The overarching project of science is building reliable knowledge about the world, but the way this knowledge-building happens in our world is in the context of competition.
Twenty-five years ago today, on December 6, 1989, in Montreal, fourteen women were murdered for being women in what their murderer perceived to be a space that rightly belonged to men: Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student Barbara Daigneault (born [...]
James Watson, who shared a Nobel Prize in 1962 for discovering the double helix structure of DNA, is in the news, offering his Nobel Prize medal at auction.
This being the season, I’d like to take the opportunity to pause and give thanks. I’m thankful for parents who encouraged my curiosity and never labeled science as something it was inappropriate for me to explore or pursue.
Background I hate chopping onions. They make me cry within seconds, and those tears both hurt and obscure my view of onions, knife, and fingertips (which can lead to additional injuries).
This is a companion to the last post, focused more specifically on the the question of how men in science who don’t really get what the fuss over Rosetta mission Project Scientist Matt Taylor’s shirt was about could get a better understanding of the objections — and of why they might care.
Last week, the European Space Agency’s Spacecraft Rosetta put a washing machine-sized lander named Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Scientists mentoring trainees often work very hard to help their trainees grasp what they need to know not only to build new knowledge, but also to succeed in the context of a career landscape where score is kept and scarce resources are distributed on the basis of scorekeeping.
Today a judge in Maine ruled that quarantining nurse Kaci Hickox is not necessary to protect the public from Ebola. Hickox, who had been in Sierra Leone for a month helping to treat people infected with Ebola, had earlier been subject to a mandatory quarantine in New Jersey upon her return to the U.S., despite [...]
Regular readers will know that I view scientific misconduct as a serious harm to both the body of scientific knowledge and the scientific community involved in building that knowledge.
Teaching about the history of scientific research with human subjects bums me out. Indeed, I get fairly regular indications from students in my “Ethics in Science” course that reading about and discussing the Nazi medical experiments and the U.S.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I recently gave a talk at UC – Berkeley’s Science Leadership and Management (SLAM) seminar series.
In the previous post, I noted that scientists are not always directly engaged in the project of communicating about their scientific findings (or about the methods they used to produce those findings) to the public.
In posts of yore, we’ve had occasion to discuss the duties scientists may have to the non-scientists with whom they share a world. One of these is the duty to share the knowledge they’ve built with the public — especially if that knowledge is essential to the public’s ability to navigate pressing problems, or if [...]
Earlier this week, I was pleased to be an invited speaker at UC – Berkeley’s Science Leadership and Management (SLAM) seminar series.
A week ago, there was a 6.0 earthquake North of San Francisco. I didn’t feel it, because I was with my family in Santa Barbara that weekend.
The particular numbers on which I’m focused aren’t cool ones like pi, although I suspect they’re not entirely rational, either.
In the previous post I suggested that it’s a mistake to try to understand scientific activity (including misconduct and culpable mistakes) by focusing on individual scientists, individual choices, and individual responsibility without also considering the larger community of scientists and the social structures it creates and maintains.
Over many years of writing about ethics in the conduct of science, I’ve had occasion to consider many cases of scientific misconduct and misbehavior, instances of honest mistakes and culpable mistakes.