The U.S. National Science Foundation ran an interesting call for proposals recently called the “Idea Machine,” aiming to gather “Big Ideas” to shape the future of research. It was open not just to scientists, but to anyone interested in potentially identifying grand challenges and new directions. I expect that most of the submissions will be … Continue reading What’s the big idea? Science!
Which University of Oregon department saw its number of undergraduate degrees awarded per year plummet from 82 in 2004 to 22 in 2008, before rebounding to 85 in 2017? The answer is among many that can be gleaned from UO’s excellent Office of Institutional Research website. After conversations in my own department (Physics) about numbers … Continue reading Guess the Major! (A quiz)
One of the most interesting recent developments here at the University of Oregon is the creation of the new Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the result of a $500 Million gift from Phil and Penny Knight (of Nike fame). This new mini-campus will be focused on applied / translational research, predominantly related to life-sciences. … Continue reading The 500 million dollar question
What do mice chasing crickets, particle accelerators, solid sponges for natural gas storage, and toddlers with cameras mounted on their heads have in common? All were the subjects of short talks at yesterday afternoon’s “Informal Symposium” on Machine Learning in the Sciences at the University of Oregon, that Teddy Hay, Gabriel Barello, and I co-organized. … Continue reading Machine Learning Mixer
Nothing about science today, and not even a drawing or painting — just a photo I took while biking home yesterday that reminded me that I have one of the best commutes on the planet. It rained yesterday, perhaps marking the start of the wet season in Eugene and the end of the typically dry, … Continue reading Yesterday’s traffic report
NOTE: This will only be of interest to a subset of the very small number of people who calculate things related to two dimensional viscosity. For the rest of you, here’s a link to the previous post, on witchcraft! SYNOPSIS: I describe and provide MATLAB code (here) to calculate the hydrodynamic drag and diffusion coefficients … Continue reading Membrane Diffusion Software
A few months ago, I read parts of “Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande” (E.E. Evans-Pritchard, 1937). I like cultural anthropology, and I much prefer descriptions of the creative ways that humans have constructed societies to the more “scientific” anthropology that now seems more prevalent, and so it’s not surprising that I found Evans-Pritchard’s … Continue reading Witchcraft, Guts, and Statistics