At a café not long ago, I overheard some students sitting by me complaining that their error analysis exercise for a physics lab class was  extremely boring (involving e.g. propagation of errors in measurements). Usually, when I hear griping about classes I have to restrain myself from throwing coffee cups, but in this case I … Continue reading Statistics!

Stop, thieves!

I spent much of the morning being livid, after stumbling on a paper. First, some background: In 2012, I published a paper in Nature Methods that introduced and described a new algorithm for rapidly and accurately determining the location of particles in images — something that’s very important to super-resolution microscopy, measuring fluid properties using … Continue reading Stop, thieves!


A theme shared by all the experiments in my lab is that images contain information about the physical properties of materials. One of my students gave a talk on Monday about his work exploring the fluid environment experienced by swimming microbes (see my earlier post on the microbiome). Planning it beforehand, we were thinking of … Continue reading Orbitz!

The future is here…

Admittedly we’re still awaiting jet packs and flying cars, but it does quite often strike me how many present-day things would have been wild science fiction in the past. This morning, I was drinking coffee at my kitchen table and watching on-line tutorial videos on custom gene synthesis services, with clicks of a button and … Continue reading The future is here…

Another one!

I just learned that my friend David Wacks, a professor in Romance Languages, has a blog — — on Medieval Iberian and Sephardic Culture.  Who knew?  Our conversations mostly involve graphic novels and keeping track of our kids on Saturday mornings at the public library, so we probably both are unaware of all sorts … Continue reading Another one!

Bees see *E*s

Perhaps my favorite thing about the fascinating recent report [1] that bees sense the electric field of flowers, and learn from these electrical cues what flowers to visit, is that reminds me that it’s still possible to do simple, elegant experiments. To test bees’ field recognition, the authors built “E-flowers” consisting of metal and epoxy … Continue reading Bees see *E*s