Review articles — papers that summarize a topic or a technique, assessing our present state of understanding and our hopes for the future — are useful and often enjoyable to read. In Physics, these are well respected but rather rare. In Biology, it sometimes seems like the ratio of primary articles to review articles isn’t … Continue reading The Once and Future Light Sheet
Last week we had another successful run of our Physics & Human Physiology “SAIL” outreach day camp for high school students. I just realized that this is the 10th year I’ve co-run a SAIL camp, which means I should probably offer some grand assessment of it. Instead, I’ll just jot a few notes, post a … Continue reading SAIL Recap 2017
In my “Physics of Energy and the Environment” class , we try to construct estimates of how much energy is required by various aspects of modern civilization. Transportation is the main focus — it’s important, energetically costly, and the physics underlying it can be grasped by non-science-major undergrads in a few weeks . Teaching this … Continue reading A pound of flesh — a puzzle about estimates, energy, and life
A few weeks ago, I came across a fascinating review article in Science with the instantly compelling title, Poor human olfaction is a 19th-century myth . Like most people, I’ve been told that compared to many other animals, humans aren’t very good at smelling. Apparently this isn’t true, and stems more from 19th century notions of … Continue reading You smell fine
I wrote this piece on grant proposals about 6 months ago, which I remembered since I’m on a National Science Foundation review panel today! The panel lunch break is a good time to finally post it… There’s abundant advice out there about writing scientific grant proposals. Reading and reviewing a lot of proposals, however, I realize that … Continue reading How to annoy your grant reviewer, in 5 easy steps!
The problem This term I’m teaching The Physics of Energy and the Environment. A few weeks ago, I flew to France for a 3-day meeting. Obviously, there is a tension between these statements. How can I reconcile them, not only to counter the (ostensible) hypocrisy of caring about climate change while contributing more to it … Continue reading Climate change, travel, and teaching
The University of Oregon (UO) recently announced that it will increase undergraduate tuition by about $1000 per year, from $10,762 to $11,707 for in state students and $33,442 to $34,387 for out-of-state students. This isn’t an aberration: as is the case that most US universities, tuition has skyrocketed over the last decade or two. Here’s … Continue reading How I learned to stop worrying and love tuition increases. (Not really.)