Archive for the 'science' Category

Wanted: Technical Women


“Evidence continues to mount that capable women in technical fields have less confidence than men that they will be successful. Researchers at Stanford University recently published new findings that women engineering students perform as well as men, but are more likely than men to switch to a different major. These women switch because they don’t believe that their skills are good enough and they don’t feel like they “fit” in engineering.

Unfortunately, many of these women are wrong. They could succeed in engineering or computing, and it is in our interest that they do.”

in US News


MIT Will Offer Certificates to Outside Students Who Take Its Online Courses


“Millions of learners have enjoyed the free lecture videos and other course materials published online through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s OpenCourseWare project. Now MIT plans to release a fresh batch of open online courses—and, for the first time, to offer certificates to outside students who complete them.”

in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Why Science Majors Change Their Minds (It’s Just So Darn Hard)


“Professor Chang says that rather than losing mainly students from disadvantaged backgrounds or with lackluster records, the attrition rate can be higher at the most selective schools, where he believes the competition overwhelms even well-qualified students.

“You’d like to think that since these institutions are getting the best students, the students who go there would have the best chances to succeed,” he says. “But if you take two students who have the same high school grade-point average and SAT scores, and you put one in a highly selective school like Berkeley and the other in a school with lower average scores like Cal State, that Berkeley student is at least 13 percent less likely than the one at Cal State to finish a STEM degree.””

in The New York Times

Interview with a 9-year-old skeptic


“When atheists and “freethinkers” gathered in Houston this month to hear noted atheist and author Christopher Hitchens speak, Mason Crumpacker of McKinney, who just turned 9, drew international attention by asking Hitchens a question about what books she should read. Points recently caught up with Mason and her parents to ask some questions of our own. Note: This is a longer version of the Q&A in the Oct. 30, 2011, Points section of The Dallas Morning News.”


What’s the Most Important Lesson You Learned from a Teacher?


The Magic of Reality by Richard Dawkins – review


“Myths and fables are the first Just So stories; they tell us what we would like to know. Science tells us what we may know, along with why and how we may know it. Myths endure because, at their best, they are great stories. The narrative of science is always incomplete, continuously under revision, and seldom delivers a neat ending or a consoling moral. Even so, as Richard Dawkins confirms again and again in this book – his first for “a family audience” – science composes stories as thrilling as Homer, as profound as Job, and as entertaining as anything by Kipling.”


Scientific Process Rage




Is There a Special Formula For Successful STEM Schools?


“With all the attention to poor U.S. student achievement in math and science, the questions that Congress put to the National Science Foundation (NSF) 18 months ago tackles the problem from the opposite direction: What is the United States doing right in precollege science and math education? And what can the rest of the country learn from the schools that do it best?

This week an expert panel, convened by the National Academies’ National Research Council to answer those questions put to NSF, held a workshop in Washington, D.C., to explore “successful STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] education in K-12 schools.” Although the panel’s report won’t be out for another month or so, the overriding message from workshop participants seemed clear—and perhaps not surprising: A successful science and math school is a successful school first, with skilled, knowledgeable teachers who address the needs of all students in a supportive, resource-rich environment. Anything that dilutes those ingredients—budget cuts, poor teacher preparation and professional development, a disregard for low-achieving students, to name three factors—will lower the chances of success. And none of the elements is enough to make a difference by itself.”


Computer models of the devastating earthquake that struck Japan Friday


“Seismologists are putting together some impressive computer models of the devastating earthquake that struck Japan Friday. As the tragedy continues to unfold, it’s pretty breathtaking to see the Earth’s destructive power in action.”


Evolution Made Us All


Evolution Made Us All from Ben Hillman on Vimeo.