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.)
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)
This past term I again taught “The Physics of Life,” my biophysics-for-non-science-majors course. It went fairly well, but I was less happy with it than I’ve been in the past. Why? And what can I do about this in the future, especially this coming term, when I’m again teaching a (different) general-education class for non-science … Continue reading Five graphs about the past term’s teaching
As in 2015, I’ll write a quick post about my favorite books and movies that I read or watched in 2016. Like last year, there’s (almost) nothing in this list relevant to the blog’s usual themes of science and academia — I’ve got two posts on grant writing and teaching half-written, though, so we’ll be … Continue reading Books, books, and movies, 2016