Links for 2012-03-07

  • Luis Alvarez: the ideas man - CERN Courier

    Luis Alvarez - one of the greatest experimental physicists of the 20th century - combined the interests of a scientist, an inventor, a detective and an explorer. He left his mark on areas that ranged from radar through to cosmic rays, nuclear physics, particle accelerators, detectors and large-scale data analysis, as well as particles and astrophysics. On 19 November, some 200 people gathered at Berkeley to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. Alumni of the Alvarez group - among them physicists, engineers, programmers and bubble-chamber film scanners - were joined by his collaborators, family, present-day students and admirers, as well as scientists whose professional lineage traces back to him. Hosted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the University of California at Berkeley, the symposium reviewed his long career and lasting legacy.

  • How to Read Departmental Webpages (And How to Make Them Readable) | Easily Distracted

    So today I turned my attention to a bit of institutional homework I was assigned, to find out how some of Swarthmore's peer institutions approach neuroscience, whether it's a department or a program, how many positions are dedicated to it, etcetera. Let's talk about how someone who knows relatively little about academia might view such a page. Let's say it was a 16-year old high school student who was absolutely certain they wanted to study neuroscience and also absolutely certain they wanted to attend a small liberal-arts college.

  • nanoscale views: NSF - proposal compliance

    As part of a new policy, starting this past fall, DMR is taking basically a zero-tolerance approach regarding compliance with the Grant Proposal Guide. That means, for example, that any letter of collaboration included with a proposal can only say, in effect, "I agree to do the tasks listed in the Project Description". Anything more (e.g., context about what the collaborator's expertise is, or mentioning that this continues an existing collaboration) is no longer allowed, and would be cause for either deletion of the letter or outright rejection of the proposal without review. This new policy also means, and this is scary, that your references have to be perfectly formatted - leaving out titles, or leaving out the second page number, or using "et al." instead of long author lists - all of these can lead to a proposal being rejected without review. I heard this first hand from a program officer


More like this

As research for the work-in-progress, I recently read Luis Alvarez's autobiography, Alvarez: Adventures of a Physicist, which contains a passage that I was reminded of last night while reading another book, that seems like an amusing follow-up to yesterday's rant about theory and experiment. This…
Here are some more unsung heroes of research: scanners (the human kind). In the 1950s, Donald Glaser invented the bubble chamber – a way to track infinitesimally small quantum particles as they winked in and out of existence. The idea – which may or may not have been tested in beer – was to create…
In 1967, a team of scientists hauled a big pile of gear-- electronics, particle detectors, a giant slab of iron-- into the burial chamber at the base of one of the pyramids at Giza. This sounds like a scene from a science fiction or fantasy novel-- throw in the fact that their first attempt was…
This is the 5th of the test essays in preparation for comps.  This question was posed by my advisor.  I opened it and went, "wow." It's sort of like the perfect storm of question.  When I first finished it, I thought I did really well, but now it seems less than completely satisfying.  So here's…