World's Fair

Vince LiCata

It’s time again for John Bohannon’s annual “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest. This year, in my opinion, there are even more high quality entries than in previous years! (I was one of the judges who did the first round of choices…the “winners” were then chosen by a panel that includes several professional dancers (for several years it has…

I have a small part in a show called SACRED WASTE which was created by LSU Ph.D. student Bonny McDonald – which is playing in the upcoming New Orleans Fringe Fest.  The show involves dance, poetry, ritual, elaborate costumes (made of 100% recycled plastic), and explores many aspects of the relationship between humans and plastic…

Our lab has a paper called: “Enthalpic Switch-Points and Temperature Dependencies of DNA binding and Nucleotide Incorporation by Pol I DNA Polymerases” that was just published in BBA (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta): Proteins and Proteomics. The study follows up on an observation and prediction we had made some years ago in a different paper. The study…

Science Outreach Assessment?

This summer I am working with a student on trying to start to get some reasonable assessment of one of our ongoing oddball-ish outreach projects.  Working with a local videographer, we’ve been making 2 minute mini-profiles of astrobiologists who work here at LSU (Louisiana State University) – two minute summaries of who they are, what…

I was discussing SciArt on several occasions with different people recently and was fishing for a way to classify different SciArt in order to make a particular point – the point being that the type of SciArt I find most interesting and valuable is in the minority. Basically, it seems there are 3 (or maybe…

I recently spent a week in Lithuania visiting biophysical laboratories and giving a couple of seminars. My host was Daumantas Matulis of the Institute of Biotechnology at Vilnius University, where they have an EU grant that includes funds for bringing in visiting scientists from other countries (thank you EU!). Although my sampling of the science…

I recently saw the beautiful (and beautifully ugly) National Theatre production of Frankenstein – written by Nick Dear and directed by Danny Boyle, and projected into cinemas around the world (just like opera simulcasts). Here is a review of the play, written as an open letter to Dr. Frankenstein: Dear Victor, I just saw the…

Science Consulting for the Movies

I recently read David Kirby’s new book on science film consulting. This book is an absolute must-read for anyone even remotely or subconsciously interested in being a science consultant for the next Iron Man or Transformers, or smaller budget real-life dramas with real-life science in them. His book is both easy and interesting to read…

Hands Off Introductory Biology

A news story in ScienceNOW this week describes how City University of New York is planning to rearrange its “General Education” requirements so that non-majors who take science don’t have to take lab courses anymore. Scientists at CUNY are, predictably, annoyed and upset. Even non-majors should get to muck around in lab with their own…

Yanling Yang, who just graduated with a Ph.D. from my lab, has a paper in the just published November issue of Biophysical Chemistry. The entire issue of the journal celebrates the 25th Anniversary of a conference called “The Gibbs Conference on Biothermodynamics”, and each of the papers is from the laboratory of one of the…