Sunday, September 16, 2012

I hate cats: a mock scientific presentation

If you continually interact with scientists, you will someday end up in the fighting arena of the scientific world, the presentation.

I have heard that non-scientific presentations are completely different. Apparently, in business presentations, the audience actually listens to the whole talk and waits till the end to ask questions.

Scientific presentations are nothing like that.

Below is a fake transcript of a talk including interruptions entitled “I hate cats”. (Many of the fake audience members (AM) are based on real incidents.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Science is (Sometimes) Subjective!

Imagine eavesdropping on students in a science class, working on a problem set: “Do you know what the right answer is?” “Am I doing this right?” “How do I know if this is working?”

One of the main misconceptions about science is the existence of some mythical “right answer.” In fact, science is very similar to the issues you find in your day-to-day life. Two different groups reach the opposite conclusion with the same information (for examples, see everything the Republican or Democrat parties have ever said). 

 This is how people picture science working.                     What it’s actually like: confusion at every turn.
 All conclusions are categorically “right” or “wrong”.