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!
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
What do mice chasing crickets, particle accelerators, solid sponges for natural gas storage, and toddlers with cameras mounted on their heads have in common? All were the subjects of short talks at yesterday afternoon’s “Informal Symposium” on Machine Learning in the Sciences at the University of Oregon, that Teddy Hay, Gabriel Barello, and I co-organized. … Continue reading Machine Learning Mixer
NOTE: This will only be of interest to a subset of the very small number of people who calculate things related to two dimensional viscosity. For the rest of you, here’s a link to the previous post, on witchcraft! SYNOPSIS: I describe and provide MATLAB code (here) to calculate the hydrodynamic drag and diffusion coefficients … Continue reading Membrane Diffusion Software
A few months ago, I read parts of “Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande” (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1937). I like cultural anthropology, and I much prefer descriptions of the creative ways that humans have constructed societies to the more “scientific” anthropology that now seems more prevalent, and so it’s not surprising that I found Evans-Pritchard’s … Continue reading Witchcraft, Guts, and Statistics
Yesterday I spent over 3 hours reviewing a paper for a journal, capping off a jam-packed day of semi-improvised discussions with high school students, grant proposal writing, a very tiny bit of lab work, and more. A friend of mine, coincidentally, also spent several hours yesterday reviewing a paper. This morning, I read a blog … Continue reading Peer Review, and Lying Injured on the Sidewalk
The bio-science journal eLife is trying out an remarkable new approach to peer review: letting authors decide how, or even whether, to revise their manuscripts in response to reviewers. The well-written announcements are here and here. I’m glad to see experimentation with new scientific publishing methods, though I’m skeptical about this one. Fundamentally, the new … Continue reading eLife’s Peer Review Experiment