Thursday, February 20, 2014

Productivity Tools For the Nascent Scientists

 This post previously appeared in the Mayo Clinic Diversity in Education Blog on Feb. 13th, 2014.

75% of graduate students in a recent survey have reported dealing with stress in the past year. The main source of stress is the pressure to produce. And why not? With deadlines, classes, experiments, and presentations, graduate students are under a lot of pressure to produce. There are three ideas for increasing productivity that I use regularly and maybe they can help you as well. I didn't come up with these ideas, I learned them (see the embedded links in the text), and below I will provide an example of their utility in a scientific research environment. But before I do, there are two things you should already have:

1. FOCUS (a goal, a thesis, a dream)
2. A documentation system (i.e. a pencil, a laptop, a smart phone, or a stone tablet).
You can't produce anything without a focus and you can't achieve results without a system to measure progress. Now that you have a thesis and a pencil, let’s get going.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Laboratory problems- a look at a book from 1924

1924 edition
I picked up this book, Elements of General Science Laboratory Problems by Cadwell, Eikenberry, and Glenn, at an estate sale.  It looks like it was meant for high school students to learn basic science.  But its copyright date of 1924; 'new edition,' may suggest that this was as good as science got for most people, at least those not going into science.  My favorite lessons were called, "How does the telephone operate?," "How do yeast plants live and grow?," and "How do molds live and grow?"