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  #441  
Old 19.12.2007, 15:02
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Re: Ask a Scientist

what ever happened to white dog poo ?
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  #442  
Old 19.12.2007, 15:02
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Re: Ask a Scientist

**love it**
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  #443  
Old 19.12.2007, 15:21
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I probably shouldn't admit to this but after I finished actually writing my thesis and was in the process of formatting it into the insanely annoying format required by the graduate school (blech, 400 pages) I just began drinking Prosecco at around noonish, most days.
Well, right now I'm having kind of a debate--I have to convince my supervisor to let me use LaTeX to write the diss (since there is already a nice template with good graphics support)--he likes to make all those corrections with Word, so I have to convince him he can do the same with LaTeX or the PDF file it churns out.

And plus, if I write in LaTeX, I get all sorts of Ph.D. street cred.

But if it doesn't work, I do have that canned Prosecco to fall back on....if Paris Hilton likes it, it must be great!
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  #444  
Old 19.12.2007, 15:29
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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But when it comes to getting a job, or further along in your career people can figure out pretty quickly if you actually know what you are talking about or not.
In my field there is a to-remain-nameless prof that is known for getting by by surrounding himself with clever postdocs, and manipulating people who hate each other (two good scientists who totally disagree) to write papers together. So yes, he's "successful," by the usual benchmarks, tenure, publications, books, yet no one thinks he knows what he's talking about.
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  #445  
Old 19.12.2007, 16:01
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Thi sis quite common practice in a number of fields, deliberately bring extremes of talent together that will compete furiously, and the clash brings out the strongest arguments.

1st class managers recruit 1st class people. 2nd class managers recruit 2nd class people.

I would say the prof was more astute than you are giving him credit for.

dave


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In my field there is a to-remain-nameless prof that is known for getting by by surrounding himself with clever postdocs, and manipulating people who hate each other (two good scientists who totally disagree) to write papers together. So yes, he's "successful," by the usual benchmarks, tenure, publications, books, yet no one thinks he knows what he's talking about.
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  #446  
Old 19.12.2007, 17:41
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Thi sis quite common practice in a number of fields, deliberately bring extremes of talent together that will compete furiously, and the clash brings out the strongest arguments.

1st class managers recruit 1st class people. 2nd class managers recruit 2nd class people.

I would say the prof was more astute than you are giving him credit for.

dave
Clarification: Prof. X told Prof. Y "Let's write a review paper together--you, me, and Prof. Z. Prof Z agrees." Then he tells Prof. Z, "Let's all three of us write a review paper--Prof. Y agrees." Keep in mind that Prof Y and Prof Z refuse to be at the same conference together, so he basically manipulated the two of them so that he could be an author on a super review paper.
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  #447  
Old 19.12.2007, 19:22
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Well, had a surpise from the old supervisor today - a near finished copy of a paper which should go for Chem. Eur. J. as well as a rewrite of one of my scripts for a better journal. Not too shabby.

I do know a 'professor' who is a Class 1 cocklord as well as an export-grade ****. He was given a paper to review and he noticed that the research was the same as something he had stumbled upon, except these guys had done a much better job. He sat on their paper while rushing off a draft for Angewandte overnight using a lot of their characterisation work plus what he had already done. He then phoned up Angewandte and told them he really needed to get this paper published quickly as he thought someone else *might* be working on the same thing. He so impressed the need for urgency, they put it in the very next issue and he talked it up so well they gave him a free front cover as well. He then rejected the other paper as not being significant enough.
He's a great one for talking up mundane crap into something great to get funding and as such he gets so much money the uni had to make him professor so he wouldn't leave.
I could go into more details on some of the other horrendous things he's done, but it'd be easy to find out who it is and I'd get my backside kicked.
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  #448  
Old 20.12.2007, 01:37
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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In biomedical science the last author is considered to be the conceptual author and thus is in many cases considered to be more important then the second author... or... god forbid the first author!!!
Well, this is true for Biological Sciences and Biochemistry in general.... The boss/head of laboratory/PhD Director is always the last one to sign. 1st author actually did the work, last couple of authors are the bosses. Normally you check for the last authors, as they indicate where do the work was done and what lab is behind it.

As far multiple authors, i am not going to defend this, but..... that depends a lot of the department policy and the head of lab. I have been in places where only the ones who actually did the work (plus head of lab and supervisors) put their name on the paper, other where everybody, including the doorman and the lady from the cafeteria had their name. If you take into consideration that most work is now done within the framework of multi lab projects, you easily end up with a kilometric list of authors. Like, the person who did the work, the one who prepared the sample (plus boss), the one who collected the species (plus boss), the one who run the analysis (plus boss), the guy who did the prework (plus boss) or someone you boss might want to credit due to political reasons or for borrowing concepts. It is just the way things turn out to be... Cannot comment on other fields, but for Biological Sciences the research is very promiscuous and if you give credit to everyone who collaborated you have to live with the horrendous list of authors. That is why a few years ago for applying for grants, etc, the number of author / impact index was introduced. Or, the number of times the paper is quoted.

Anyway...... the whole paper/publishing system is absolutely ludicrous. Specially if you come across a supervisor, who works, lets say, who works with less ethics. My work ended up being published by several persons in the lab i was working on - from posdocs to other docs students. From having the work i did diverted to embellish someone's else PhD, to being simply deleted from the list since "i was not going to need it anyway now that you are working for the industry", i have it all. Ended up with a couple of papers in a good journal, but for all the work i did while doing the PhD, the outcome was quite poor. At the end of the day, i got my Dr tittle, so....

My humble opinion - the whole system is corrupt and in need of an urgent revision. You cannot simply trust on ethics and good faith for publishing, and build your career around it. Not even going to comment on the peer review because i have seen things you would never believe, and that are probably better untold.
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  #449  
Old 20.12.2007, 08:56
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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My humble opinion - the whole system is corrupt and in need of an urgent revision. You cannot simply trust on ethics and good faith for publishing, and build your career around it. Not even going to comment on the peer review because i have seen things you would never believe, and that are probably better untold.

Again I come back to the funding issue. The main reason for all this shite IMHO is due to way money is awarded based on published "peer reviewed" papers. As we see from above, this is really open to abuse. As a minimum, it should be published who reviewed the papers.....
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  #450  
Old 20.12.2007, 12:03
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Re: Ask a Scientist

By the way folks, I can recommend "Do Ants Have Arseholes?" Based around stupid questions, sometime scientific in nature. very sarcastic and very funny.

Last edited by smbuzby; 20.12.2007 at 12:04. Reason: typo
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  #451  
Old 20.12.2007, 12:25
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Some of the worst (purely from a writing references into a paper front) are a few of the Spanish magnetochemistry groups. Up to fifteen authors, all with double-barelled forenames and surnames, with an accent on every third letter. Takes forever to write up....

Generally, if someone approaches us to do some work through the boss or through the office, then we put the supervisor's name on as well. If someone approaches me outside of the office and I can do the work without using anything from work, then I just put me on there.
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  #452  
Old 20.12.2007, 13:33
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I wish someone would ask a science question again--I'm not feeling so motivated since the labs/offices are empty, and anyway, we all know, I'm never going to finish my Ph.D., and science questions are way more fun!
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  #453  
Old 20.12.2007, 13:36
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Does absolute zero actually exist?
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  #454  
Old 20.12.2007, 13:57
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Re: Ask a Scientist

In the same way the zero anything exists.
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  #455  
Old 20.12.2007, 13:59
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Ok allow me to alloborate. I can quite easily envisage not having any money for example. I can envisage it being really frigging cold. But absolute zero? This means that there is no energy? or no what? what really happens? Is it feasible to cool anything to absolute zero? Is there a corresponding absolute max?
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  #456  
Old 20.12.2007, 14:14
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Unlike cash, it's not theoretically possible to have no energy but there's no limit on how much you can have. Several groups work on nano-Kelvin temperatures to what what weird stuff it does to atoms and molecules.
Here's a wiki for you as i'm a lazy man:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_zero
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  #457  
Old 20.12.2007, 14:19
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Unlike cash, it's not theoretically possible to have no energy but there's no limit on how much you can have. Several groups work on nano-Kelvin temperatures to what what weird stuff it does to atoms and molecules.
Here's a wiki for you as i'm a lazy man:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_zero
No limit on the amount of energy you can have! Oh yes there is and its a lot.... The limit is the total mass of the universe multiplied by the speed of light squared...
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  #458  
Old 20.12.2007, 14:23
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Well, that's a physical limit, not an absolute limit...
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  #459  
Old 20.12.2007, 14:27
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Re: Ask a Scientist

To have no energy , you would have to have literally nothing, i.e. a completely empty universe or total void. To cool any object down to absolute zero you would need an infinite amount of energy and the result would be that the object ceased to exist.
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Old 20.12.2007, 16:28
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Re: Ask a Scientist

so the ocrrect answer to my original question, is no it does not actually exist because we do?
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