An Analogy for Science

I’m planning a series of posts on evaluating sources, especially after the recent Stanford study, but this aspect is a bit adjacent so I’ll write about it separately. In Korea, students have to focus on either sciences or humanities from high school onwards. I teach at a humanities-focused school, and …


The Atomic Priesthood and Other Opportunities for Cross-Campus Collaboration

Last month, I wrote about how the Sokal hoax was an opportunity for humanists and scientists to cross campus and start working together, and that one of the fruits of this collaboration is the relatively new field of ecocriticism. Peter C. van Wyck’s book Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and …

The cover of issue 127 of the journal Social Text
Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPublishingScience

Evaluating the Sokal Hoax Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in May 1996 (okay, twenty years and four months—sue me), Alan Sokal, a physicist at with appointments at the University College London and New York University, published a ground-breaking paper in the respected critical theory journal Social Text. The paper has been highly influential. I learned about …

Critical ThinkingPolitics

Why I like Donald Trump. Or, how can something so wrong feel so right?

I am a bit of a political junkie. Thus, I watched the first Republican debate even though it is about 99.99% likely that I’ll vote Democrat for president. However, since there is more than a 0.01 chance that the next president will be a Republican, it made me wonder which …

Higher EducationScience

Are English-only PhDs in the Sciences a Problem?

Following the general rule of headlines-posed-as-questions, you can probably guess my answer already: probably not. That said, this recent cri du cœur (ha!) in Vitae deserves a bit more attention than just one sentence, so I’d like to flesh out that ‘probably not’ with a more thorough look at the principal questions raised …

Critical ThinkingEducationPrimary EducationScience

Tackling Science Project Turmoil

Science Fairs can sometimes get a bad rap. As a recent viral image illustrates, these school projects are often met with dread by students, families, and yes – even teachers. But I’d like to propose that science projects – done properly – are a valuable tool in teaching children how …

Woman in front of mirror with towel on her head.
Critical ThinkingEducationPedagogy

Teaching Topless

I’d like to share a really nice presentation below by Valerie Otero, professor of science education, and Edd Taylor, assistant professor of math education, both with the University of Colorado at Boulder. And then I’ll bother you with some thoughts about it.   The unifying theme here is the pyramid …

EducationInformal EducationPrimary EducationSecondary Education

So You Want to Teach about Comets?

Last week, humanity took a huge leap forward in solar system exploration. If you’re a science teacher wanting to talk about comet science in your class, there are some great resources out there for doing that. First of all, if you can get your (gloved) hands on some dry ice, …


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. …


When Sexism is Subtle in Academia

We have a new journal club in our department where we cover lots of papers on topics about science and science education. We’re a pretty diverse group, and so I’m always learning and enjoying the discussions. Recently, we covered a paper called “Science faculty’s subtle gender biases favor male students” …