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Stories by Janet D. Stemwedel

Heroes, human “foibles”, and science outreach.

Heroes, human “foibles”, and science outreach.

“Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.” – Richard Feynman There is a tendency sometimes to treat human beings as if they were resultant vectors arrived at by adding lots and lots of particular [...]..

July 13, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Put Yourself in the Cheater's Shoes

Could seeing the world through the eyes of the scientist who behaves unethically be a valuable tool for those trying to behave ethically? Last semester, I asked my “Ethics in Science” students to review an online ethics training module of the sort that many institutions use to address responsible conduct of research with their students [...]..

July 9, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Resistance to ethics instruction: considering the hypothesis that moral character is fixed.

Resistance to ethics instruction: considering the hypothesis that moral character is fixed.

This week I’ve been blogging about the resistance to required ethics coursework one sometimes sees in STEM* disciplines. As one reason for this resistance is the hunch that you can’t teach a person to be ethical once they’re past a certain (pre-college) age, my previous post noted that there’s a sizable body of research that [...]..

May 29, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Pub-Style Science: exclusion, inclusion, and methodological disputes.

Pub-Style Science: exclusion, inclusion, and methodological disputes.

This is the second part of my transcript of the Pub-Style Science discussion about how (if at all) philosophy can (or should) inform scientific knowledge-building, wherein we discuss methodological disputes, who gets included or excluded in scientific knowledge-building, and ways the exclusion or inclusion might matter...

April 16, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel

What is philosophy of science (and should scientists care)?

Just about 20 years ago, I abandoned a career as a physical chemist to become a philosopher science. For most of those 20 years, people (especially scientists) have been asking me what the heck the philosophy of science is, and whether scientists have any need of it...

April 7, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
Brief thoughts on uncertainty.

Brief thoughts on uncertainty.

For context, these thoughts follow upon a very good session at ScienceOnline Together 2014 on “How to communicate uncertainty with the brevity that online communication requires.&..

March 30, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel

Engagement with science needs more than heroes

Narratives about the heroic scientist are not what got me interested in science. It was (and still is) hard for me to connect with a larger-than-life figure when my own aspirations have always been pretty life-sized...

March 20, 2014 — Janet D. Stemwedel
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The Essential Guide to the Modern World

The Essential Guide to the Modern World