SAIL Recap 2017

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

You smell fine

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 [1]. 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

How to annoy your grant reviewer, in 5 easy steps!

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!

Fight the power (pose)

Why is science communication difficult? For subjects like vaccination, climate change, genetic modification, and more, there are rifts between the views of scientists and the views of large segments of the US population, rifts that seem driven not only by a lack of understanding of scientific concepts, but also by a lack of understanding of … Continue reading Fight the power (pose)

You may not be interested in noise, but noise is interested in you

[Edit, Sept. 25, 2016: In retrospect, this is a confusing post. The overall point is fine, but my contrived illustration is not a good one.] At an otherwise excellent talk some time ago, the speaker put up a graph like this (look below — not the cheetah)… …and said that the two sets of data points, … Continue reading You may not be interested in noise, but noise is interested in you

Science Pub 2016

A few evenings ago I gave a “science pub” talk — part of a long-running series of public presentations that the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry runs at several sites in the state. (This was at a local pizza place, so thankfully I could just bike to it.) I called the talk “Glimpses of … Continue reading Science Pub 2016