:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-07-2014
The National Eye Institute at the NIH recently released a kids video series called “Ask a Scientist.” In this series, children who are curious about science, ask “bonafide” scientists their burning questions about science. In one video, a child asks Dr. Chris Thomas, a science writer, how to become a scientist. Dr. Thomas responds by saying that becoming a scientist “is easy” and all that kids need to do is to love nature and be curious about how things work. He also says that kids can hone their scientific skills by taking either science or art classes.
Putting aside the fact that the target audience for this video is young, school-aged children, do you feel that Chris’ response is an oversimplification of reality? Is science really all about nature and curiosity?
While I happen to agree with Dr. Thomas that curiosity lies at the heart of what it takes to become interested in science, I believe that hard work and perseverance are tantamount to scientific success. Think about all of those times that you’ve had to repeat experiments over and over just to get your p values to a publishable level!
Have a look at Chris’ video below and let us know what you think.
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-25-2014
What’s the strangest thing you have ever dissected?
:: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 03-03-2014
The ability to duplicate an experiment and its results is a central tenet of the scientific method, but recent research has shown an alarming number of peer-reviewed papers are irreproducible.
A team of math and statistics professors has proposed a way to address one root of that problem by teaching reproducibility to aspiring scientists, using software that makes the concept feel logical rather than cumbersome.
Researchers from Smith College, Duke University and Amherst College looked at how introductory statistics students responded to a curriculum modified to stress reproducibility. Their work is detailed in a paper published Feb. 25 in the journal Technological Innovations in Statistics Education.
In 2013, on the heels of several retraction scandals and studies showing reproducibility rates as low as 10 percent for peer-reviewed articles, the prominent scientific journal Nature dedicated a special issue to the concerns over irreproducibility.
Nature’s editors announced measures to address the problem in its own pages, and encouraged the science community and funders to direct their attention to better training of young scientists.
“Too few biologists receive adequate training in statistics and other quantitative aspects of their subject,” the editors wrote. “Mentoring of young scientists on matters of rigour and transparency is inconsistent at best.”
The authors of the present study thus looked to their own classrooms for ways to incorporate the idea of reproducibility.