Education

Being a cancer surgeon and researcher, naturally I tend to write about cancer a lot more than other areas of medicine and science. It's what I know best. Also, cancer is a very common area for unscientific practices to insinuate themselves, something that's been true for a very long time. The ideas don't change very rapidly, either. Drop a cancer quack from 2014 into 1979, and he would probably be right at home. Of course, part of the reason is because the "elder statesmen" of cancer quackery today were just getting their starts in 1979. Still, the same ideas keep recurring even as far back…
I wrote last week about the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) created to invest in improving overall population health – with the hope that improved health will help slow the growth of healthcare costs. Another provision of the ACA that aims to reduce future healthcare costs is “Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Programs” (Section 2951). Three studies published in the latest supplemental issue of the American Journal of Public Health address this type of program. Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) programs send…
Sonya Kovalevsky – Russian-born Mathematician One of the world's best mathematicians of her era; established first major result in general theory of partial differential equations; first modern European woman appointed to full professorship; advocate of women's rights Sonya Kovalevsky (also known as Sofia Kowalevski) was born in Russia in 1850 and became a noted mathematician in spite of a father who "had a horror of learned women," according to historical accounts. As a young woman, she could study math and physics only in secret. She married a man she did not love just to get away from her…
One aspect of science-based medicine (SBM) that I perhaps don't spend enough time and effort on is the intersection of law and medicine for areas in medicine other than the infiltration of pseudomedicine like "complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) into academia and the never-ending quest of quacks like naturopaths to gain state licensure in states where such pseudomedicine is not licensed and to expand their scope of practice in states where it is. Instead, Instead, I'll look at something going on in my state, namely an effort to expand the scope of practice of a group of medical…
I admit it is hard to imagine a National Center for Science Education without Genie Scott; the NCSE was Genie, and Genie was the NCSE. But I think I know what Genie would say if she heard me say that. The NCSE will be fine without her, Ann Reid is going to do great, etc. etc. And, I'm sure that is all true, owing both to Ann Reid being an excellent choice of Executive Director, and because Genie and the other staff at NCSE have done an excellent job. Here's part of the announcement of the change in leadership, which happened yesterday: Ann Reid is joining NCSE as Executive Director,…
You are at university. Do you like stars, and stuff? We revisit old ruminations on career paths 'cause it is topical... Another rehashed blast from the past. Should you do astronomy as an undergrad? (the following is in part shamelessly cribbed from a colleague’s previous freshman seminar for our majors): Do you like stars and stuff? If not, you probably should look for an alternative to astronomy, on the general principle that at this stage of life you should at least try to do things you actually like. If you do, good for you. Now, do you have the aptitude? Professional astrophysics/…
So, now you’re at university, and you’re thinking about heading for grad school … A seasonal revisit of some old rumblings* *NB: this discussion should not be construed to be anything but hypothetical ramblings, they do not reflect in any way the official position of any academic institution, department or graduate program, especially not the one I am part of! So You Want To Be An Astrophysicist? Part 1.5: thinking about grad school Posted by Steinn Sigurðsson on January 16, 2012 (2) Share on email More » So, now you’re at university, and you’re thinking about heading for grad school … More…
  Chevron,  the global energy company known for its commitment to "finding newer, cleaner ways to power the world," has joined the USA Science & Engineering Festival as a major sponsor, bringing with it a proven history of hands-on corporate outreach initiatives that ignite student motivation and interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). And true to the company's innovative approach to outreach, students and others at the Festival Expo this April in Washington, D.C. can expect to experience a special Chevron exhibit that they won't soon forget: a smorgasbord of…
By Stacy JannisKavli Science Video Contest Manager The Kavli Science in Fiction Video Contest challenges Gr 6-12 students to examine the science in fiction, including science fiction movies, TV shows, and games. Our contest advisors include science educators , scientists, and Hollywood scifi visual effects experts. Follow #SciInSciFi on twitter to for contest updates.  Dr. Joanne Budzien is an Assistant Professor of Physics at MacMurray College. Dr. Budzien's research is in materials science simulation and she has been at Frostburg State University, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and…
And now for something completely different... Unfortunately, it's all too easy to find new woo-filled claims or dangerous, evidence-lacking trends to write about. Heck, I did it just last week. Examining certain other health-related issues from a science-based perspective is more difficult, but I feel obligated to do it from time to time, not just for a change of pace but to stimulate the synapses and educate myself—and, I hope, you as well—about areas outside of my usual expertise. As much as I enjoy bringing a science-based perspective to topics like cancer quackery, vaccines, and all…
It was a couple of weeks ago that I last provided an update on the case of Sarah Hershberger, the 11-year-old Amish girl from Medina County, Ohio with lymphoblastic lymphoma whose parents decided to stop her chemotherapy because of how sick it was making her. As I explained early on and on multiple occasions afterward, Sarah had about an 85% chance of long term survival with the chemotherapy regimen she was undergoing but a close to zero percent chance of surviving without it. In other words, her parents, Andy and Anna Hershberger, are committing gross medical neglect of their child. I…
By Stacy JannisKavli Science Video Contest Manager The Kavli Science in Fiction Video Contest challenges Gr 6-12 students to examine the science in fiction, including science fiction movies, TV shows, and games. Our contest advisors include science educators , scientists, and Hollywood scifi visual effects experts. Sebastian Alvarado is a postdoctoral fellow in the Dept. of Biology at Stanford, with a research focus on epigenetics, as well as co-founder of the video game science consultancy group, Thwacke! Consulting. Thwacke offers scientific insight from a diversity of disciplines to aid in…
What should a high school student do to get on a track to become an astrophysicist? Reworked from a rework from an oldie. Something prompted me to think it is time to lightly update and republish this series, possibly with added bonus parts! So, you're in high school wondering what to do with yourself, and you think: "hey, I could be an Astrophysicist!" So, what should YOU do, wanting to get into a good university and an astro/physics major? 1) Take all the math that is offered, and do well in it. The limiting factor for most students wanting to do astronomy or astrophysics is poor math…
Back in 2009, Chris Mooney, together with Sheril Kirshenbaum, wrote a book called Unscientific America. It purported to explain the origins of America's current antipathy toward science, and to make suggestions for what we might do about it. It created something of a stir in the science blogosphere. I was one of many folks who found the book disappointing, for reasons I explained in a lengthy, three part review (Part One, Part Two, Part Three). I pulled my punches somewhat, partly because at one time Mooney and Kirshenbaum were my colleagues here at ScienceBlogs, and partly because I was…
Fred Kavli – Physicist, innovator, entrepreneur and philanthropist He made millions manufacturing high-tech sensors for aircraft, cars and appliances; donated much of his fortune to establish the Kavli Foundation -- a philanthropy to benefit science, and which is also known for the Kavli Prizes in Astrophysics, Nanoscience and Neuroscience From the start, physicist Fred Kavli was a visionary and an innovator. He left his native Norway for California as a young man and later made millions manufacturing sensors for appliances, automobiles and aircraft. Then late in life he began donating much…
Chien Shiung-Wu -- Experimental Physicist One of the foremost physicists of the twentieth century, this Chinese-born American researcher was often called the "First Lady of Physics" for her pioneering work, which included radically changing scientific views on the behavior of nuclear particles Chien Shiung-Wu once said: "I sincerely doubt that any open-minded person really believes in the faulty notion that women have no intellectual capacity for science and technology. Nor do I believe that social and economic factors are the actual obstacles that prevent women's participation in the…
While I've been all tied up paying attention to the developments in the Stanislaw Burzynski case, it figures that President Obama would go and do something like nominating the next Surgeon General. Normally, this is not such a big deal, because there really hasn't been a Surgeon General who has really been particularly well-known or had much of an impact since Dr. C. Everett Koop, although back when President Obama first took office Dr. Sanjay Gupta's name was floated as a possibility for the position. Obviously, he didn't get it. (I'm guessing that being a neurosurgeon and CNN's chief…
You could call them child or teen prodigies – wunderkinds, who at remarkable young ages have already begun making their mark upon science and technology as innovators and visionaries. The USA Science & Engineering Festival not only applauds such young achievers, but is recruiting some of the best of them to serve on its new Youth Advisory Board. The achievements of these recently-appointed board members will not only help us further excite, inspire and reach out to more students during Festival 2014, but will also call attention to the impressive cadre of young talent that is on the…
I don't understand how this happens. You've got a good academic position. You're bringing in reasonable amounts of grant money. You're publishing in Nature Genetics and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. And you don't even understand the basic concepts in your field of study. For instance, here's a press release titled "Cause of genetic disorder found in 'dark matter' of DNA". For the first time, scientists have used new technology which analyses the whole genome to find the cause of a genetic disease in what was previously referred to as "junk DNA". Pancreatic agenesis results in…
X-STEM - presented by Northrop Grumman Foundation and MedImmune - is an Extreme STEM symposium for elementary through high school students featuring interactive presentations by an exclusive group of visionaries who aim to empower and inspire kids about careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). These top STEM role models and industry leaders are sure to ignite your students’ curiosity through storytelling and live demonstrations. Our spotlight on our X-STEM Speakers continues with Biochemist Dr. Robert Tjian from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Ask…