Meeting with many Ph.D. candidates who fret about
not having accomplished a series of publications in
peer reviewed journals is confounding these days.
What is the criterion for being granted a degree?
Can you publish just anywhere, not just in high impact
Is peer review of a journal article a justifiable measure?
What do we do in controversial topic areas when bias
can enter into decisions?
What do we do in the digital era which has replaced
RESEARCH AND HALF LIFE OF FACTS
Further enlightenment about the pursuit of “truth” is
that, as Uri Alon
so elegantly described, research invites
a fruitful path. The write up glosses over the learning
by failure and describes the “obvious” positive direction,
showing how novel and precise the idea is.
Samuel Arbesman looks back on the search for “truth”
and finds most being only half-correct as time moves
So why is getting published in a journal so crucial?
I get it that graduate degrees are conferred by judging
work being of such quality meriting publication. Martin Paul Eve
nicely describes the fuzziness of this
criterion since it could be published just anywhere after
rejections. As we know, rejection
does not mean lack
of value either.
As we are into the third decade of the Internet era of
publication providing OA Open Access there are many
ways to both read and access articles and publish our
This raises questions about what is a valid way of
demonstrating the level of expertise for a degree, even
for granting tenure and promotion.
You know, I am a strong proponent that scientific professionals
have a strong understanding of working with statistics and
perceive the hazards in our environment, that have good and not
so good effects on humans.
So in our final class we talked about three features we should
look for in evaluating statistical data. [I am always amazed that
their relevance is not emphasized in classes.] variation, shape
and central tendency.
In our daily lives we are faced with statistics for nearly everything
and given “selective” interpretations to sell or convince us of various
- insure the data provides its sample size and range and variability
[small sample size, limited range, no measure of variation should
not be basis of a general position.]
- If the data is presented with many significant figures, it should
raise “red flags” in your mind. [10,234,511.39 ?]
- The shape of the distribution of measure reveals critical insight.
[power law, normal, bimodal, skewness…]
- What is the appropriate central tendency representation? Mean
if it is normal distribution…Other than that, questions are needed.
There are two radioactive species in our environment that we
should be aware of some things. One I encountered when I was asked
by a middle school student about a science project on radioassays.
That is when I learned about technetium. Technetium-99 is most
useful as a radioassay measure for imaging internal organs.
published a short factoid recently about this lightest, artificially
produced element. ”Technetium cows
” were developed by BNL
researchers and have been in use for more than 50 years in
medical diagnostics and research. In addition, technetium is a
by-product of U-235 decay and thus can be a valuable monitor
for nuclear reactor spent fuel rod decay and storage.
A second radioactive element is the gas, radon. Radon is naturally
occurring in the environment and is attributed to be an effector of
. Radon decays naturally producing alpha
of the prevalence of radon in the US point to where
it is. This should be a point of reference for us where we live
Many articles we find about requesting for salary
increments overlook the need to do three things–
* perform consistently well in meeting and exceeding your’s
and your team’s goals [time in grade is often insufficient],
* gather critical information about pay, time in grade and value
to the organization, and
* have a proposal for your continued growth plan and how it
contributes to the organization [it is helpful to have mentors
who are knowledgeable about the organization, policies and
- separate salary conversations from performance review meetings, so
that you demonstrate you are not focusing as being money-driven.
- know that a timely one-on-one can be helpful in supporting the
value you provide to the organization with a successful project
- ‘plant the seed’ for an increase before the organization’s budget
planning (article indicates 3-4 months, is that too early?)
- practice what you are going to say, plan for interruptions, and
have a back-up plan
Our Professional Development class is interesting because
we can use feedback from class members for future discussion
items and exercises in class.
One feedback card read: Could we engage in networking
conversations and elevator speeches from each person in class?
It is better than describing them.
>In subsequent classes we asked people to deliver elevator speeches
to their team mates [which should be done in all team situations].
Then when we brought in guest speakers, we asked each class
member to deliver an elevator pitch to the guests.
A couple of other situations that are intriguing. One class member
met privately and said she did not know what to do as her team
was unresponsive to requests to work together and complete tasks
on time. We talked about it and in class performed an exercise.
What can you do to work better as a team? There are many excuses:
too busy, lazy, procrastinate, think the assignment is dumb….
- plan ahead; discuss the work assignment
- know yourself; study your teammates behaviors, values, likes
- keep in touch; communicate, even over-communicate
- offer help if others have trouble understanding/solving the assignment
- Team formation usually follows easily recognizable stages, known as
“forming, storming, norming, and performing.”
YOU ARE EXPECTED TO GET TO NORMING QUICKLY
- learn about your team-mates: their values, behavior, goals, time lines,
honesty, promptness, caring; strength and weakness
- When do you report to higher Ups?
- Influence: consistency, scarcity, authority, trust worthiness,
- Work together, share ideas and don’t just divide up the work.
- Use people’s strengths and interests to produce something that
- Become familiar with due dates, put buffer between team
deadline and final deadline alert people in advance
- Givers succeed most, reciprocators are a close second
- Adam Grant’s book “Givers and Takers”
A second class exercise was inspired by an incident where a class
member forgot an attachment when sending an email. It happens to
all of us.
The class came up with several and discussion ensued about how
some recipients might feel it revealed lack of attention to detail or
how you perform under pressure. There are technological solutions
that we should know and use.