Monthly Archives: June 2012

A single advice about publishing your first scientific paper…

I always wondered what would be the single, most important advice I could give a new graduate student who is looking forward to have his or her work published at some point.

Sure the usual work hard, pick cutting edge topics, chose your advisor carefully and so on are the obvious suspects. But what about a single advice that would put in motions the necessary behavior to essentially “groom” the graduate student in being ready to publish?

After many years of mentoring, mine is read! Read published scientific papers in your field as much as you can and from day 1 on the “job”. Read for journals you are expected to publish in, from journals at the periphery, from more difficult journals to publish in (higher impact factor). Read also outside your field.

Make an habit to scan the usually suspects (for your field at least) once a month and read.

Not only will you know what is state-of-the-art but this will provide you the structure of a scientific manuscript, the language, what is accepted or expected. Note the good to excellent manuscripts, those that are easy to read i.e. that flows and tell you a story. What make them better than others you’ve read?

By the time, you are ready to talk to your advisor about publishing your results, you should have read hundreds of previously published articles.

As theory is not practice, you will also need to write as often as possible. The more you write, the easier it gets. But that’s my second advice 😉

E.O. Wilson: Advice to young scientists | Video on

For all of you out there, here is a positively inspiring (TED) talk about scientific research…

E.O. Wilson: Advice to young scientists | Video on

Digital office part III: mobile software

Previous installments:

Part I: Introduction and hardware

Part II: Mac Software

Part III: Mobile Software

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Father’s day gadget: from iPhone to tricorder

If like me you grew up with the original Star-Trek and following suites, you must have some point thought that the coolest gadget of all time was the famous tricorder. Well a MIT group is bridging the gap between the tricorder and an iPhone with some cool image processing algorithms. See this Eulerian Video Magnification and in particular the movie as you scroll down.


One day this might be the coolest father’s day gadget (or App) 😉

For a good cause

This is not a traditional post with regard to the theme of this blog. Still, I would like to dedicate it to my 13 years old daughter whom today was one of the rare women (adolescent, which in this context is even more important) at her school to underwent the shaved head challenge to help children with cancer and their families.

She has done it for the right reasons and I am very proud of her.


Digital Office II: Mac Software

For those who might not have read the first post in this series about the hardware side of things, please have a look: Digital Office I

Here is a list of the main software that I used regularly on the Mac as part of my digital workflow, including links to the most important one:

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Emotion and story telling in a scientific talk?

During a recent group meeting, one of the student was making a comment regarding the document really bad powerpoint by Seth Godin. Her point was how can one impart emotion to a scientific talk. Clearly, when you have 7 or 8 minutes to get to the point it could indeed be difficult to make time for humor…

Yet emotion can still be generated in term of response of the audience to your data, figure or conclusion: raising eyebrows, smiles, figures looking at you making yes (or no) motions. Of course in longer presentation, these could be much more involving.

Here is an example of a great presentation of data by Hans Rosling. He used this technique numerous times but you will get the idea: Hans Rosling’s new insights on poverty | Video on

Now, story telling is of course at the heart of what you should be doing. It is sometimes easier said than done (sometimes it works and others it don’t, unfortunately). Again, here is a great link to a talk on story telling and getting the message across on TED: Nancy Duarte: The secret structure of great talks | Video on

Hope these inspire you.

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