Chemistry Seminar - Science 2.0
Time: Tuesdays 2:00 - 2:50 P.M
Location: 322 Jordan Hall of Science
Professor: Dan Gezelter
phone: 631-7595
office: 258 Stepan Chemistry
Office hours: By appointment
Web page:
Overview: This seminar will deal with some "big picture" topics in modern science. There are approximately 13 topics that we’ll discuss (roughly one per week), and 13 "stakeholder" roles of the scientific enterprise. Each of you will be responsible for a short (15 minute) presentation to the rest of the class on one of these topics. The order of assigned presentations was chosen at random. You can swap topics with one of your classmates, but please keep me informed of any swaps. The day before your assigned presentation, you’ll be expected to email a brief (1 page) abstract to the rest of the class. Following each of the presentations, we’ll each assume a different role and will discuss how that topic bears on the work and interests of each of the stakeholders. The roles have also been passed out at random, but you should each have each of the roles only once this semester.Your grades for this course will be based on the quality of your presentation (30%) as well as your contributions to the discussions of other topics (70%).
  • What is Science? How is Science different from Research? What makes an explanation Scientific? Is science predictive? Is science "right" or just self-correcting? Why does it work so well? Why is reproducibility a good standard? Reproducible by whom?
  • Publish or Perish: What goes in to a scientific publication? What doesn't go in? What goes in supporting materials? What are the stages of publication? Why submit to one journal instead of another? Is it OK to use a paper as a chapter of your thesis? What is scooping?
  • Supporting science: Grants, Funding models, industrial research and sustainability. Is popular science necessarily good science? Why were there so many Hydrogen storage grants? How is a grant different from a contract? What happened to Bell Labs? What is overhead?
  • Scholarly metrics (h-index, citation count, publication count, journal impact factors). Can you measure quality of science, or just quantity? Who calculates impact factors? What is the formula?
  • Open Access Publishing (PLoS, PubMed Central). Copyright issues and The Journals vs. The Public. Who owns a scientific paper? Why don’t more scientists put their papers in PubMed Central?
  • Peer review, preprint services (arXiv, Nature Precedings), and post-publication peer review. The following equation is demonstrably true on youtube comment streams: (Normal person + anonymity + audience) = bad behavior. Is it necessarily true for scientific papers? How do you get honest feedback without anonymity?
  • The "third leg" of science: simulations, informatics, and "omics". Do computers change anything about science? What does a simulation actually test? What can you learn from the statistics of large data sets?
  • Open Source scientific software: licenses, advantages, disadvantages. Should you cite your plotting program? Should you trust your plotting program? Should you trust your quantum chemistry program? Who owns scientific code?
  • Open Data: public science databases / accession IDs, data licenses, Does scientific data have copyright protection? What is CC0? Who owns scientific data? Machine readability & searching, Hierarchies vs. Annotation & Tagging.
  • Open Notebook Science: Making yourself vulnerable to scooping or sharing your science? Lab wikis, open protocols, exposing scientific dirty laundry.
  • Researcher Tracking: Is your name enough? Orcid, ResearcherID, OpenID, blogging, annotating, post-publication reviewing, wikipedia.
  • Conferences. What are they for? What goes into a conference presentation? What goes in to a poster? The danger of out-of-band conference communications. Examples of good talks. Examples of bad talks.
  • Social networking for collaborative science. Going beyond SETI @ home. Why would a ΄Facebook for Science‘ be a good idea? Why would it be a bad idea?
  • Principal Investigator (PI)
  • Competing PI
  • Skeptical reviewer
  • Funding Agency
  • Interested member of the public
  • Professional Society journal editor
  • For-profit publisher
  • Graduate student in competing group
  • Future graduate student in the same group
  • Amateur / Public scientist
  • University administrator
  • Pharma or specialty chemicals researcher
Helpful / Provocative Reading:
  • What is Science?
  • Publish or Perish
  • Supporting science
  • Scholarly metrics
  • Open Access Publishing
  • Peer review
  • The "third leg" of science
  • Open Source
  • Open Data
  • Open Notebook Science
  • Researcher Tracking
  • Conferences
  • Social networking for collaborative science