The Intersection

Paradigm Sheep


That’s the title of my latest Science Progress column….even though the column itself is not entirely about sheep. Rather, it’s a recounting of the Mooney-Nisbet science communication “boot camp” at Caltech….but, well, sheep came up, and believe it or not, it was in a pretty profound way.

Insofar as that’s possible.

For more, read the column.

P.S.: Did anyone else notice Sheril subbing for me at Science Progress last week and writing a pretty profound column on the plight of postdocs? Even if you did notice, you may not know that this is her first piece of freelance science writing, and a very successful one at that…which calls for some applause, no?


  1. #1 Caleb
    July 2, 2008

    We’re sheep? Could be. Will the workshop go on the road?

    Sheril’s postdoc piece hit home. I’m in year 5 of my postdoc after a 6 yr PhD. She did great on the article and I hope to see more lengthy contributions from her in the future. You both have a lot behind what you say in more ways than a blog does justice.

  2. #2 Steve
    July 2, 2008

    Thus the problem with pure tech schools (MIT/CalTech/RPI), the students, future scientists (and to some extent the engineers), have limited to no interaction with the rest of the world, the “liberal arts majors” as scientists/engineers like to sneer. So they end up being surrounded by people with a basic minimum level of science understanding and never interact on an intellectual level with said “libarts” folks. Start mingling the two groups and they’ll realize that there are a whole slew of people that have little to no interest in their deep scientific pursuits and while not totally lacking in that basic understanding, don’t put the same 2+2 together and need a little more help in that area. Journalists just happen to be the ones they have to teach the most so that the Journalist can further make the connections for the rest of the populace.

    At least that’s what I learned after knowing many people from the above schools (having gone to one), and people of the liberal arts world (having dated many, lived with a good number, and growing up in a richly mixed world of the two). My “libarts” friends are all fascinated by the stuff, but not able to cleanly make the connections we take for granted. Step them through how their prior knowledge links to these new discoveries, etc. and they gain a much greater respect for what they learned and what new research is being done.

    It’s the non-gender version of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus…

  3. #3 Anna K.
    July 3, 2008

    Conversely, scientists with little to no humanities education can come off to “libarts folks” as astoundingly naive when it comes to evaluating ideas which cannot be analyzed using scientific methodologies.

  4. #4 Wes Rolley
    July 5, 2008

    I found a good new reference case for you and Matthew, as if you needed more. This one is from Stephen Smoliar at The Rehearsal Studio and it his comments on Academics and the Media.

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