Episteme6 @ Mumbai: 2 presentations

This past December I was at the epiSTEME 6 conference in Mumbai. It was jointly  organized by the Homi Bhaba Center for Science Education, TIFR and the Interdisciplinary Program in Educational Technology, IIT Bombay. I presented two papers there, oneabout the work being done by the Deep-Play group in the area of aesthetics and learning in …

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STEM, Gender, and Leaky Pipelines

Some interesting longitudinal results on female persistence through graduate school in STEM. Post-PhD there could still be a problem, but apparently this varies strongly by discipline. These results suggest that, overall, it is undergraduate representation that will determine the future gender ratio of the STEM professoriate. The bachelor’s to Ph.D. STEM pipeline no longer leaks …

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Scientists are not that smart

This article I am describing is more of an opinion piece than a scientific study, but I think it does cover some important points head-on for why non-scientist members of the general public may have false assumptions about scientists being smarter than non-scientists. I have had people tell me before that I must be really …

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The Letter…

I wrote a few weeks back about my disgust that Scientific American would post articles which clearly do not value diversity. Given that Nature has also been called on the carpet for this, I find it refreshing and ironic that the Nature Publishing Group (parent to both of these publications) would now sponsor a diversity week this week. Whatever …

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STEM pays

Peak annual earnings for engineering graduates were even higher at $98k. Source: How Liberal Arts and Sciences Majors Fare in Employment: A Report on Earnings and Long-Term Career Paths. When I was a new faculty member at Oregon I was told with great earnestness by our President (a JD with limited understanding of STEM or …

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Two new books on evolution

Here are two new books on evolution. I wrote chapters for both :o Predicting Evolution and Visualizing High-Dimensional Fitness Landscapes Effects of Epistasis and Pleiotropy on Fitness Landscapes You can download the chapters via those links at least for a while. After that they can always be downloaded from the arXiv. Both chapters are about fitness …

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Including Girls in STEM Outreach

From my recent experience at the Gender Summit, years of science outreach, and discussions with colleagues on how to most effectively *do* outreach, I decided I should offer my two-cents on including girls in STEM outreach, particularly in outreach that is proclaimed and designed to “reach everyone”. Recognizing the need for diversity along all fronts …

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LP Cutting Planes in CPLEX

Cut generation, as used in what follows, refers to generating constraints for a mathematical program “on the fly” (based on intermediate solutions), rather than adding all relevant constraints at the outset of the problem. It is typically used when  there is an astronomical number of possible constraints, most of which will turn out not to …

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Project Einstein

I met Jonathan Rothberg, a real pioneer in genetic sequencing technology, at Scifoo back in 2008 (see Gene machines). Jonathan’s foundation is now backing an effort similar to the BGI Cognitive Genomics project. He may not remember, but we had a long conversation about this topic on the bus from the hotel to the Googleplex. …

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Number sense and math ability

This is consistent with my experience as a parent and educator: my guess is that number sense is a cognitive module, at least somewhat distinct from general intelligence, and somewhat hardwired. Number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in childhood (PNAS) Abstract: Human infants in the first year of life possess an intuitive sense of …

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Mr. Waters goes to Washington

On September 18th, I was a Congressional lobbyist. Before you tar and feather me, I was part of the Michigan State University “Rally for Research” team at Washington DC. This event brought together hundreds of researchers and advocates from 40 states to lobby Congress and the Senate in support of increasing funds for biomedical research. …

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STEM Crisis: Fact or Fiction?

After reading assorted articles about a looming crisis in the supply of qualified STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) graduates, today LinkedIn pointed me to an article on the IEEE Spectrum site titled “The STEM Crisis Is a Myth“. It seems to be cogent and fairly well researched, but I’m not sure I entirely buy the …

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