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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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07/29/19
Hot buttons. 5. Where do you get reliable data, information and conclusions?
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 1:56 pm

It is just as hard now, as it was in the past, to assess reports
of data.  In the past, one would have to wait until there was
enough sample size using the specific question.  So often
now we need to assess the bias inherent in the source.

.
[If data is published in peer reviewed journals by a variety
of established authors, it is likely worth using the results and
conclusions.   What must be factored in is that publications support
awarding of grants and promotions.  Publications represent
a time-honored path.  Things can be proven wrong, but rarely
do these kinds of results find the light of day.]
.
Think about business news or about scientific data, hypotheses
and conclusions in “news.”  So much is hampered by bias from
various sources.  In science, we speak about the importance of
controls or control charts and sample size.  The logic of
conclusions and validity of models also play essential roles.
.
There is an equivalence in the non-scientific world of looking
at ‘news cycles’ and marketing of ideas.  In addition, we are 
encouraged to realize the emotional content and repeat frequency
with catchy easy phrases that sway human thinking when there
is not an equally persuasive rebuttal.
.
There was a time when audiences believed that there was an
editor and fact checker for what is reported in media.  It seems
like this is no longer the case as the money driven enterprises
seek ready-viewers and ready-readers.  So common now
summaries of habits miss that dimension.
.
Example:  A key ingredient of the lead or initial paragraph
states the interpretation of polls .  Polls represent timely, novel,
 and 
conflict-ridden, meeting standards of newsworthiness.
Nonetheless, polls depend on the question raised, options of
answers, the sample size and variety, timing and context.  
They are of a different “reality.”
.
Readers should be encouraged to use our science tools
to report, consume and believe the news we pay attention to.
It is of high value to highlight journalism best practices 
using the scientific method.
1 comment
07/25/19
Legal Issues. Provisional and Utility patent applications and C-i-p,
Filed under: Recent Posts, First Year on Job, Legal matters, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 7:03 pm

Realizing most scientists and engineers receive little
specific training in grad school or their careers related
to patent applications.  It is instructive to see the next
in the series of contributions  by
Taylor Jennings and Maria Inman.

.
Their summary reveals the significant content:  contains a 
synopsis of the discovery of Lithium - LiMPO4 materials
followed by (1) filing provisional patent applications, (2)
filing of utility patent application, and (3) filing continuation -
in - part patent applications,  
.
The strong article clarifies differences  between the two
kinds of applications and the requirements to maintain 
filing date.  
Provisional Patent application
  -claims NOT required
  -will not be examined and not issued as a patent
  -cannot claim domestic or foreign priority
  -21 year term if nonprovisional is filed in 12 months.
(utility is a nonprovisional patent application)
The Jennings and Inman series of Interface articles is
essential reading.  
comments (0)
07/22/19
Hot buttons. 4. Stress in Grad School, Post-doc, and Career Positions
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 2:17 pm

Debilitating illness related to stress may not happen to you
for a long time.  It happened to me, a Ph.D. after 3 1/2 years
of grad school with 3 hot offers a month after my defense and
a meaningful 44 year career in three major fields and an
unbelievable post career retirement.  

.
Working out at a gym on an elliptical machine, I fainted (medical
term syncope) because blood did not get to my brain due to
blocked arteries.  Ends up a cardiac cathetarization found
blockage in my main artery in the heart leading to open heart
triple bypass surgery.  That was a year ago and resulted in a
major life change.  Back to near normal again, thankfully.
.
What did I learn?
.
Take care of yourself.  Manage your diet, weight, physical exercise,
annual physical.  Even that is not enough, for I did that.  There are
genetic contributions but it is occurring more and more frequently
as we live longer.
.
Family and friendships make all the difference.  I believe it is
part of taking care of yourself by looking after others in your
close circle.  The stresses I see grad students point out are real.  It
is important to factor that element into your career path choice. 
 [Credit UC-Davis for recognizing this.]
.
Time management and organization.  To me it seems to start with
goal setting and prioritization.  Whether it is in grad school, post-
doc, or ina part time or full time career path position, figure out what
it is you wish to attain or grow or benefit from your effort. 
Recognize any significant goal requires effort.  The higher the goal,
can say something to others about you.
Work hard to develop strong personal relations with your adviser,
supervisor and mentors.  Your success is part of what they wish for
as well.  Share your goals with them and ask for advice.  You will
be surprised by how you can be helped.  Then when it is your turn,
pay it forward to others.
.
Stress is a root cause of diseases.  WebMD points our eight stress
inducing medical issues:
  •   Heart disease. …
  •   Asthma. …
  •   Diabetes. …
  •   Headaches. …
  •   Depression and anxiety. …
  •   Gastrointestinal problems. …
  •   Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Other conditions related to stress include:
  •   The common cold. …
  •   Weight gain. …
  •   Slower healing. …
  •   Sleep dysfunction. …
  •   Depression. …
  •   Ulcers and other stomach problems. …
  •   Back, neck and shoulder pain.
Don’t take things for granted.!   Recognize subtle things
happen when you are stressed and it may not happen 
instantly.
1 comment
07/11/19
Hot Buttons. 3. Women in Scientific Leadership Roles
Filed under: Recent Posts, Mentoring, Leadership, Mature professionals, Observ. Trends, Alternate Career Paths
Posted by: site admin @ 10:12 am

In the days in mid-20th century, women were a smaller
fraction of class members in math, geology, chemistry,
and physics
classes in many departments.  This population
dynamic resulted in fewer women in scientific leadership
(decision-making) roles.

.
Implementation of programs to reach more representative
fraction of balance in leadership can benefit from thoughtful
attention, like Melinda Gates book 
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women
Changes the World
She argues that there are unseen benefits by broadening
the equality balance.  While many organizations feel it is
nice to do but do not sense the “pipeline” permits more of
the perceived minority.  In fact it is quite analogous to people
of non-Americans natives in emerging industries– their
different approaches and perspectives offers great benefits. 
It often starts with men and men in families.
.
Ms. Gates writes about how Bill Gates driving his children
to school a couple of days a week moved other families
to share the transportation task in their families as well.
1 comment