Science Online Advice: Blogging as a Scientist

I ended up feeling that my most valuable contribution to the Science Online meeting (other than boosting the income of the Marriott’s bartenders) was providing experienced commentary and advice from a slightly different angle than a lot of the other participants. A bunch of this got tweeted out by other people in the sessions, but […]

Genre Fiction and the Real Problem With Philosophy of Science

There’s been a bunch of discussion recently about philosophy of science and whether it adds anything to science. Most of this was prompted by Lawrence Krauss’s decision to become the Nth case study for “Why authors should never respond directly to bad reviews,” with some snide comments in an interview in response to a negative […]

Always Write the Introduction Last

Here are some excerpts from the introductory sections of the very first drafts of some book chapters: [BLAH, BLAH, BLAHBITTY BLAH] and [Introductory blather goes here] and Blah, blah, stuff, blather. There’s a good reason for this, based on the basics of scientific writing, namely that the Introduction should give the reader a rough guide […]

An Experiment in Teaching Writing: A Look Inside the Sausage Factory

As I’ve said a bazillion times already this term, I’m teaching a class that is about research and writing, with a big final paper due at the end of the term. Because iterative feedback is key to learning to write, they also have to turn in a complete rough draft, which I will mark up […]

Why So Many Theorists?

When I was looking over the Great Discoveries series titles for writing yesterday’s Quantum Man review, I was struck again by how the Rutherford biography by Richard Reeves is an oddity. Not only is Rutherford a relatively happy fellow– the book is really lacking in the salacious gossip that is usually a staple of biography, […]

Entangled in Sports Analogies

Having written in defense of analogies in physics yesterday, I should note that not all of the analogies that are brought out in an attempt to clarify physics concepts are good. For example, there’s this incredibly strained opening to a Science News article on entanglement: If the Manning brothers were quantum physicists as well as […]