Web 2.0

I just read this lovely discussion of how a more open scientific culture (think open-access science) could improve the collective memory of science. This was on the Back Page of APS News (subscribers only) and here is the author Michael Nielsen’s blog post about the topic too, with some additional information. His basic premise is that we don’t exchange scientific information freely, in a sort of public scientific marketplace, because there’s a lack of trust like there is in the consumer marketplace. He writes:

In science, we’re so used to this situation that we take it for granted. But let’s compare to the apparently very different problem of buying shoes. Alice walks into a shoestore, with some money. Alice wants shoes more than she wants to keep her money, but Bob the shoestore owner wants the money more than he wants the shoes. As a result, Bob hands over the shoes, Alice hands over the money, and everyone walks away happier after just ten minutes. This rapid transaction takes place because there is a trust infrastructure of laws and enforcement in place that ensures that if either party cheats, they are likely to be caught and punished.

If shoestores operated like scientists trading ideas, first Alice and Bob would need to get to know one another, maybe go for a few beers in a nearby bar. Only then would Alice finally say “you know, I’m looking for some shoes”. After a pause, and a few more beers, Bob would say “You know what, I just happen to have some shoes I’m looking to sell”. Every working scientist recognizes this dance; I know scientists who worry less about selling their house than they do about exchanging scientific information.

I just loved this analogy. It’s absurd, yet understandable, how hard it is for scientists to collaborate. But there’s a ton of stuff being written now about open access and what it can do for science, on my blog and others.


Wow, I was just sent this information about a wonderful chance for teachers and students to connect (for FREE) with a really dynamic scientist, Michio Kaku.  You can see my previous post about a talk he gave on the Physics of the Impossible at AAPT last summer — he was an incredibly gifted speaker. Funny, interesting, and really tuned in to what teachers can use.

It’s next Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:00 pm EST and hosted by Discovery Education.

Register for the event here.

Michio Kaku is a best selling author, host of two national weekly science radio programs, and frequent guest on television shows including Larry King, 60 Minutes, 20/20 and many more. He has hosted numerous programs for the Science Channel and is currently increasing people’s Science IQ every Sunday night in the series “SciQ”. If you’ve ever seen Michio speak before, you know that he has a brilliant ability to break down incredibly complex theories and explain them in ways that anybody can understand. On on December 17th, he’ll be sharing his ideas directly with you and your students! This is your chance to connect your students to one of the most dynamic scientists on the planet, and even have him address their questions directly!

Michio Kaku’s website

Richard Hake has updated his ongoing list of education blogs.  You can now find over 60 of them on this quite long post from a physics listserv — several of which were donated by yours truly through my article in The Physics Teacher.

Woo!  I feel so famous…

Richard Hake (of Physics Education Research fame) has just posted a very nice list of 32 education blogs, fully annotated with useful descriptions of the content and author of each blogs. Includes blogs on eLearning, how people learn, mathematics education research, and more.

UPDATE 12.1.08  Hake has now posted an updated list of 60 education blogs.

Note my earlier post on a list of education blogs from the Nat’l Science Digital Library.

And also a list of 5 mistakes to avoid when using blogs with students.

And another post on Why let our students blog

I’ve been making up for my prolific posting during the National Association of Science Writers conference by not posting for days on end. Life is busy for geekgirls nowadays, what can I say? But this tidbit just came across my desk — a new website for young women interested in science that sounds really neat. It’ll have lots of links related to women and science, social networking, a blog, and more.  A lot of the site is still being populated with content, but this could be a great resource in the future.  The question for women scientists to answer this week is “What got you hooked on science?”  Soon there will be a wealth of great stories on this site, a really nice resource for girls interested in science.  When you register, you’re able to make connections with others on the site — sort of a LinkedIn for women in science.utm_headerleft

Here is the press release on the site:

The Women Writing Science project, a multi-faceted initiative to involve young women in science and to encourage them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), announces the launch of the website Underthemicroscope.com

Sponsored by and developed with IBM, Underthemicroscope.com offers a wealth of continually updated information, including input from visitors to the web site. Currently the site provides the opportunity to post personal stories, feature and guest blogging, news about science, and links to related resources. Within the year the site will include more social networking opportunities, tips on careers, tips for parents, expanded links to science-related sites, and mentoring. Ultimately the site will provide information about internships and scholarships as well as serialized chapters of Women Writing Science publications that can be downloaded free of charge and an online book club.

“Underthemicroscope.com with IBM’s help combines new technology, like social networking, with traditional publishing to better communicate with young women in science, develop new content for stories and serve as a place of learning and inspiration,” said Gloria Jacobs, Executive Director of the Feminist Press.

Initiated by The Feminist Press at The City University of New York with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Women Writing Science will publish books of biography, fiction, history, career profiles, and how-to-survive guides presenting women as both scientists and as writers about science. Women Writing Science will also provide free teacher guides describing lesson plans and strategies for using the books in science curricula. These materials will be easily downloaded from Underthemicroscope.com .

This just in from another blog (Discovering Biology in a Digital World): Researchblogging is a great resource for the classroom.

She writes:

How does this work?
Bloggers who write about scientific literature use a special icon to identify those posts. They also register at the Researchblogging web site with their credentials and favorite topics. When those bloggers write about a research paper, the information gets referenced in Researchblogging.

How would I use this in my class?
Send your students to Researchblogging.org. They can search for articles by keyword or by topic and get a set of links to blog articles on those topics. Each article will contain at least one link to a scientific paper.

Let’s say you have a student who’s interested in the genetics of Neanderthals. Your student could enter the phrase ‘genetics of Neanderthals’ in the search box, click the search link, and get a link to a very nice, informative, post on FOXP2 by Daniel Daza. Plus, you have all the links to the articles themselves (or at least abstracts) so the student can go look up the original work after they’ve used the blog post as a starting point.

In my classes, I used to assign Scientific American articles or the summaries from Nature or Science, as starting points, but I think students would probably prefer blog posts. I might be prejudiced, but I find bloggers are usually less stuffy and more fun to read.

Again, for you K-12 educators out there… did you know the NSDL and NSTA offers free web seminars on science topics? These are very nicely done workshops, I’ve been to one, with a live presenter and chance to simulchat with other participants.

Here’s the schedule

Web Seminar 1
Date: Thursday, September 25, 2008
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m. Eastern
Title: Celebrating Astronomy: A Star’s Story
Presenters: Susana Deustua and Cathy Ezrailson

Web Seminar 2
Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m. Eastern
Title: Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: Physical Science from the Poles
Presenters: Jessica Fries-Gaither and Dr. Carol Landis

Web Seminar 3
Date: Thursday, November 13, 2008
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m. Eastern
Title: Energy and the Polar Environment
Presenters: Jessica Fries-Gaither and Dr. Carol Landis

Web Seminar 4
Date: Tuesday, December 9, 200
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m. Eastern
Title: TBD
Presenters: NSDL or partner organization presenting team

You can also see the archived presentations from the past. Here’s the complete list!

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