Worshiping False Metrics (not what you think)

I’ve been ploughing through research data lately in several different formats and I’m forcing myself to take great care with certain types of data. Most notably this is grade data, particularly between cohorts. It’s one of the key differences between carrying out pedagogical research and chemistry research. If I run the same sample (preparing it to […]

Helicopter Lecturers

I’m sure you’ve heard of helicopter parents. The possibly semi-mythological, ever-present parents who speak for their kids, show up everywhere and are generally an effective means of ensuring their offspring don’t say that much (nor appear to have opinions of their own).  But what of the helicopter lecturers? The academics who simply do not trust […]

Science Friction

REPOST: This was first posted in February 2009. This semester ends with a ‘Chemistry of Science Fiction’ lecture-workshop so it seems appropriate. Perhaps science fiction is to blame for science’s image. Yes, I know you’re rolling your eyes thinking ‘but I loved science fiction and now look at me, the scientist’. Did you ever consider […]

We all make mistakes…

There’s a storm in a beaker today about the Chemistry blogosphere and twitter regarding a paper in which a comment in the supplementary information seems to imply that a student ‘just make up’ some data. You can read about it over at ChemBark who first reported the comment, and who intends to update the post […]

What’s in a name?

One of the most confusing things about the sciences (and I’m sure that there are other academic areas with equal or greater complexity) is the diversity of names for various sub-sections.  Take, for example, the commonly used description ‘physical sciences’.  What are the physical sciences? Wikipedia defines it: Physical Science is an encompassing term for […]