World's Fair

Vince LiCata

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…

Dance Your Ph.D. -2011

The “Dance Your Ph.D.” contest is on again for 2011. This unusual and highly interesting experiment in science outreach continues to be shepherded by John Bohannon, and continues to attract new sponsors — this years sponsor is TEDx Brussels. So what is this? Basically: you create an interpretive dance that “explains” your Ph.D. research and…

Even in the small theater where I saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes, it was clear that this is, to some degree, a father and son movie – there were several father and son pairs in the audience – more than I’ve seen in any other movie. “Yes, son, now you will see…

Reblogitation (pronounced with a “j” sound for the “g”, of course): the blogospheric phenomenon of reposting, and re-reposting, and re-re-reposting the information from the “apparent first” or “most snarky” report (or blog post) about a news item. Mother-post: the “apparent first” or “most snarky” report of an item, that then provides “the facts” for most…

SciArt on the Bayou

The chair of the Theatre Dept. here at LSU and I have begun co-producing a new “SciArt Conversation Series” here at LSU — where we get scientists and artists on stage together at the same time for informal presentations of their work. We are trying to pick combinations that have some sort of real or…

A physicist friend of mine recently lent me a copy of Harry Frankfurt’s “On Bullshit“, which purports to be the only ever philosophical analysis of “bullshit”. This former essay turned teeny tiny hardback book reaches such profound conclusions as: 1) bullshit is sort of like humbug, only more excremental; 2) bullshit is worse than lying,…