The U.S. National Science Foundation ran an interesting call for proposals recently called the “Idea Machine,” aiming to gather “Big Ideas” to shape the future of research. It was open not just to scientists, but to anyone interested in potentially identifying grand challenges and new directions. I expect that most of the submissions will be … Continue reading What’s the big idea? Science!
Which University of Oregon department saw its number of undergraduate degrees awarded per year plummet from 82 in 2004 to 22 in 2008, before rebounding to 85 in 2017? The answer is among many that can be gleaned from UO’s excellent Office of Institutional Research website. After conversations in my own department (Physics) about numbers … Continue reading Guess the Major! (A quiz)
One of the most interesting recent developments here at the University of Oregon is the creation of the new Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the result of a $500 Million gift from Phil and Penny Knight (of Nike fame). This new mini-campus will be focused on applied / translational research, predominantly related to life-sciences. … Continue reading The 500 million dollar question
When borrowing an elephant femur a few weeks ago I was reminded of the nascent Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, which we’re constructing at the University of Oregon as a center for translational or applied life-science research. The femur was for my Physics of Life class, as I’ve written about before [link]. In brief, … Continue reading On Elephants, Oregon, Science, and Art
Our visitation days for prospective Physics graduate students at the University of Oregon — people who have been admitted and are deciding whether or not to come — will occur this Friday and Saturday. There’s a poster session, and it occurred to me that we don’t have any posters from my lab that provide a … Continue reading A lab overview poster
All departments at the University of Oregon are being called upon to create metrics for evaluating our “scholarship quality.” We’re not unique; there’s a trend at universities to create quantitative metrics. I think this is neither necessary nor good — in brief, quality is better assessed by informed, narrative assessments of activity and accomplishments, and … Continue reading Cite this post! (On publication metrics)
In my last post I wrote about student course evaluations, with the suggestion that we’d glean more useful information from them if they occurred well after a course ended. With a delay, students could reflect on whether the course impacted their views of the world or provided skills that proved to be useful. Responses might … Continue reading Addendum on student teaching evaluations