Critical ThinkingCultureEducationScience

Communicating science

This morning, the main site’s quickies had a link to how science stories are often illustrated with some attention grabbers that misrepresent the actual content of the study being described.  This reminded me of an incident when a new faculty member in our Communication department was introducing herself to the …

CultureEducationHigher EducationScience

Dashing hopes and dreams

It’s that time of year again, when the grades are shaping up to the point students are panicking if they are going to pass.  The drop deadline is looming.  What to do… Many of the incoming students to our classes have aspirations of being doctors.  These students have attached some …


Open access or open wallet academic publishing?

One of the expected duties of an academic career is to publish one’s work. This involves, of course, careful preparation and execution. The last major step is (or used to be the last one!) to submit a finished manuscript to a reputable journal to be carefully vetted by one’s peers. …

A kindle book on top of a paper book
Higher EducationScience

Writing in the digital age

As a college professor who requires students to do at least some writing in class, I have long despaired of the writing ability of them young’uns.  There seems to be no end to the bad grammar, poor construction, out right plagiarism, and of course the desire to sound “sciency” by …

MRI Scan Image

How much of educational achievement is genetic?

A new study published in PNAS used a twin studies approach of UK students to examine the heritability of a wide range of traits associated with educational achievement. Observations: Heritability measures the degree to which a trait’s variation is determined by genes vs the environmental influences on a population level. …

EducationHigher EducationPedagogyPop QuizScience

Pop Quiz: The Horror of Math

The bulk of the classes I teach are general science courses that are not math heavy. Even though these courses do not rely on math like a Physics class would there is still a small math component to each course. I am really not sure how to do science without …

A person in a tyvek suit and mask

I am fascinated by Infectious Disease

When I grow up I want to become an epidemiologist. Don’t get me wrong I love teaching. I find change from year to year challenging and exciting, but there is something about disease that tickles my fancy.  Now I know this is not the most common of interests, and at first …

Higher EducationPrimary EducationScience

Inquiry First, Talk Later

The first week of classes are in the bag at my university where I’m currently teaching a class called “Foundations of Science: Physics, Earth Science, and Inquiry based Projects.” I’m teaching K-8 physics and earth science concepts primarily to education majors, but in a way that neither they nor I …

Critical ThinkingReligionScience

Can evolution and God coexist? Yes.

The Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, really exists. But what about the namesake? Well Higgs certainly exists, but does God? This, my last in a series on evolutionary science and religion, is not going to answer that to anyone’s satisfaction. Instead, it begins as an indulgence to briefly become …

Critical ThinkingScience

A Schema for Science Literacy

For those who are fans of Blooms’s Taxonomy, you may like this schema for science literacy presented by Chris Impey at the 126th Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. This was included in a plenary session that touched on many, many aspects of science literacy and how it …