Academia

Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Category archives for Academia

Be an Optimist, Do Some Science

Every now and then I do a Google News Search for topics I’m interested in to get good blog fodder (‘neuroscience’ and ‘parrots’ are of course perennial favorites). This time one of those searches popped up an interesting news piece in The Hindu newspaper which really resonated with me, tagged with a quote by David…

New Blog About Academic Interviews

The University of Michigan just started a new blog on the topic of how to handle the academic interview. What kinds of questions do you fear, and how should they be handled? How do you prepare for the interview? In general the four primary topical areas of any interview, especially early in the process, are…

To the West, the idea of a modern, gender-equal, progressive sort of academic environment seems incongruous with Saudi Arabia’s religious establishment. However, the current ruler, King Abdullah, is investing $12.5 billion in creating just such an environment–a graduate research institution where religious police will be barred and women and men will conduct research in collaboration.…

This year I am in charge of the UM Neuroscience program’s Spring Symposia, which is where students nominate and invite interesting scientists to come give a talk on their work. The students also get to have dinner and hang out with the speakers informally (read: bar). I’ve been mulling over names, and thought it would…

So, as I mentioned before, Dr. Irene Pepperberg is in Ann Arbor to deliver a lecture at the annual Neuroscience Spring Symposia today. Also giving talks is Dr. Steven Finkbeiner from UCSF (on neurodegeneration in Huntington’s) and Dr. Clifford Saper from Harvard/Deaconess (on hypothalamic regulation of sleep and circadian rhythms). But last night was the…

The Teacher Firing Flow Chart

Everybody’s talking about the firing of incompentent teachers today, and how difficult it can be due to union rigamarole. Take this flow chart for example, which outlines the steps that must be taken to fire a bad teacher in New York City. It was so huge that it wouldn’t fit on the page (below is…

Fool ‘Nature’ Twice, Shame on Who?

Scientists love good gossip as much as any ‘Us’-magazine reader, and we take the same car-wreck interest in seeing our lofty demagogues topple in disgrace. The ‘Huang stem cell scandal’s’ shame infected not only the fraudulent scientists involved, but also the journal that published his unsubstantiated work. A new scandal of a similar ilk involving…

Students: How Much Debt Are You In?

This generation of students will graduate with more student loans and debt than any previous to it (adjusted for inflation, of course). Rising school costs, living costs in college towns, and credit card debt may all be to blame. I came across a state-by-state interactive map over at USA Today, which breaks down the average…

By now, much of academia has heard about the goings-on at MIT. Susumu Tonegawa, head of the prestigious Picowar Institute at MIT and Nobel Laureate, is stepping down from his position following a university review which found he “behaved inappropriately when he tried to discourage a young female scholar from accepting a job offer from…

Today has been an exciting day for me! First of all, although Steven Pinker had to decline my invitation to speak at UM (during the Neuroscience Spring Symposium), he did agree to do an interview here on Retrospectacle. So, similar to the Q’s and A’s I posted for review for Irene Pepperberg, I will post…