- Jean-Claude Bradley
It wasn’t so long ago that the big discussion about scientists blogging was whether or not it would hurt your career. Granted, some the examples used involved personal content that would have been problematic on any platform. Still, many scientists chose to blog anonymously, even for the most uncontroversial scientific musings.
Recently I have noticed a change in the tone. The question doesn’t seem to be “Is blogging bad?” anymore but rather “Is blogging a waste of time?”. Often this involves the rather ironic situation of naysayers using a blog to express their opinion that blogging is a waste of time. There are many examples of this but a particularly controversial discussion took place on Nature Network recently.
- Lisa Green
Today Rita Levi-Montalcini becomes the first Nobel Laureate to reach 100 years of age. Her scientific career is a source of inspiration for many people, scientist and non-scientists alike.
Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini is a fighter. As a young woman she fought against the Victorian gender stereotypes dictating that women were only suited for domestic roles and should not be permitted to participate in higher education. After graduating from medical school in Turin, she fought against the anti-Semitic laws that barred her from working in a university or a public institution. Working in a makeshift laboratory in her home she did experiments and actively published until Hitler invaded Italy.
- Jean-Claude Bradley
I have just finished reading the fascinating book “The Emperor of Scent” by Chandler Burr. It starts off describing the world of perfume with a focus on Luca Turin, a man with the unusual talent of being able to review perfumes with great eloquence, conjuring up beautiful metaphors of experiencing their scent.
The book then takes an unexpected turn into the description of Turin’s theory about the mechanism of olfaction. There is some truly interesting science there, such as Turin’s discovery of a binding site for NADPH and another for zinc on a protein thought to mediate smell. This supports his hypothesis that the protein functions as an electron tunneling spectroscope detecting differences in vibrational modes. Further evidence is provided by comparing the different smells of deuterated molecules like acetophenone and the similarity of the stench of boranes with thiols, which share similar IR spectral bands. This idea is at odds with the conventional view that molecular shape is responsible for the activity of odorants. (For a summary of Turin’s theory I would suggest watching his recent TED talk “The Science of Scent” and his Wikipedia entry).
- Hope Leman
It is 5:10 a.m. I am working on a netbook in a hotel room in San Francisco. I am attending the Web 2.0 Expo and covering it for the blog AltSearchEngines. While I am attending that event, I have been invited to a dinner sponsored by Microsoft Live Search. Yesterday I attended sessions about Web site monitoring and about how to build online social communities.
All of these activities tie into the world of Science 2.0 and Open Science. For example, the presenter on the online social communities asked what we would leave disappointed about if it were not addressed. I immediately shouted out, “FriendFeed!” because the Science 2.0 and Life Scientists rooms of FriendFeed are fascinating venues for those of us interested in how science is being conducted in the age of Web 2.0.
- Lisa Green
We are very pleased to announce the recipients of the NextBio travel grant!
We received numerous outstanding essays and it was quite difficult to select just three winners.After much deliberation the following students were selected:
Bryan is a chemistry graduate student at the University of California Berkeley who studies neural stem cells and is interested in NADPH-oxidase (NOX) proteins.Bryan’s essay describes how he used NextBio to find relevant information in the publicly available experimental data.