"As scientists, we are trained to recognize the limitations that might undermine our own conclusions, and it often feels very uncomfortable to present a simplified message. Furthermore, many non-scientists seem uneasy when the language and concepts get too ‘scientific' and complicated, and seem to prefer ending the conversation to asking for clarification. Movement needs to come from both directions to bridge these gaps. In the long run, we desperately need a more educated and literate public. However, because many factions of our society benefit from the ignorance of our populace, there will be both individual and systematic resistance to these attempts. I remain optimistic, in part because of the expectation the internet has created for available, reliable information." This is a spot-on excerpt from Vivian Siegel's editorial from the Jan/Feb 2009 issue of a relatively new journal - Disease Models and Mechanisms - from the Company of Biologists. For those of you who have not seen this journal, definitely check out the link provided here. Also, please read the editorial I have quoted - you can read it here. One way to engage the public is through science cafes - check this url to find one near you and get involved! The taxpayer has the ability to dictate how many dollars can go for research and if we inform them and demystify science and make it accessible, it will be a lot easier to get their support. If you would like to start a science cafe, e-mail me and I'd be happy to tell you how I went about it. It's not hard, but does indeed take a lot of time - time well spent in my opinion.
The NYT has an article that tries to address the issues facing women who work with and for women. After reading the article yesterday, I had a look at some of the comments from readers. The gender of the commenters is not indicated, but the consensus seems to be that working with and for women is harder than it is for a man. While I concur with some of the comments, I take umbrage to this and am beside myself in trying to figure out how to change these dynamics to more favorable ones. It also seems that as with the increasing pace of life, these issues become even more flagrant. Oh and since I am not a psychologist, can someone explain what I have observed many times and can't understand: when two women are arguing and it slowly becomes clear one argument seems more solid than the other, the woman whose argument is losing ground more often than not says to the other - "why are you being confrontational"; or better stil, "stop getting defensive." Now the same women, when arguing with a male colleague will either concede the argument for what it is worth, or else decide it is not worth spending anymore time on it and walk away! Can anyone explain this or is it simply not worth dwelling on?
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This is a figure from the most recent issue of Science, depicting how the $18 B will be divvied up.
you should. The opening page is focused on women in science. Please check it out - and pass it on to as many people as you can.
Happy International Women's Day to all! To those who are unfamiliar with the history behind March 8, do check http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp. The link is full of very interesting information.