As a mentor, the one thing I struggle the most with is communicating a good method for writing a scientific paper. It’s not that I don’t have one. It’s just that it’s completely contrary to the way we teach high school and college students to write. Many students write linearly – beginning at the beginning and ending at the end. Problem is, if you write a scientific paper that way, by the time you get to the end your story may have changed along the way. That’s very hard for a reader to follow.
For the overwhelming majority of Ph.D. holders who do not become tenured professors, spending time as a postdoc comes at a hefty price. Compared with peers who started working outside academia immediately after earning their degrees, ex-postdocs make lower wages well into their careers, according to a study published today in Nature Biotechnology. On average, they give up about one-fifth of their earning potential in the first 15 years after finishing their doctorates—which, for those who end up in industry, amounts to $239,970.
Empathy is key to communicating science. Coach Alda is here to help you hit your reps.
In February 2016, Science magazine reported that Brian Richmond, the American Museum of Natural History’s human origins curator, was under investigation for the sexual assault of a female research assistant at the museum. In December, Richmond—who had been banned from setting foot in the museum but who was still on the payroll—resigned from his position. His story isn’t unique. Famed astronomer Geoff Marcy of UC-Berkeley, Ebola researcher Michael Katze of the University of Washington, biologist Miguel Pinto of the Smithsonian, and more have been implicated in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. A 2014 survey of field researchersfound that 26 percent of female researchers had reported assault at field research sites, and another 71 percent reported harassment.
When it comes to the topic of cover letters, today there’s no such thing as conventional wisdom. A quick Internet search turns up many comments from job seekers who are glad to see it go and career experts who say, “Toss it.” But some people still advise, “Better write a good one; they’re important.”