Monthly Archives: December 2012

Seth Godin’s Blog: Question the question

As a follow up to the post “PhD project or PhD projects?“, here is a simple and effective post by Seth Godin:

The best creative solutions don’t come from finding good answers to the questions that are presented.

They come from inventing new questions.

Seth Godin’s Blog: Question the question.

e-Office series updated

I have posted an update to the e-Office page to include scientific manuscripts PDF management.

The One Day Initiative

As expected, December 21st 2012 has passed. Earth and humans are still there, no end of the world in sight, no apocalyptic scenario (though we had a nice winter storm 😉 )

It is quite impressive that almost 1 Canadian out of 10 believe in these dooms day announcements. See this link: One in Seven (14%) Global Citizens Believe End of the World is Coming in Their Lifetime | Ipsos.

Even sadder, is when a society that thrived on science and technological advances (which is impossible  if the fundamental discoveries were not performed), a society that has split the atom and uses its power for energy, medicine… and yes military applications, believes at a level of almost 50% of the population, that Earth age is orders of magnitude younger than science tell us and that the bible provides an accurate account of the creation (In U.S., 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins.).

When this happen, we as scientists have failed to communicate efficiently with the public. We, scientists, need to get involved and educate on a larger scale.

Last year, I spent one day meeting over 500 students from a high school talking about radiation, radioactivity and its use in medicine. I intend to repeat the experience this year. If  I alone, during that single day, was able to reach hundreds of peoples, together we can reach out to millions, covering hundreds of topics.

Wouldn’t it be nice if one day per year would be dedicated officially to science and technology education conferences by experts for the general crowd, coming back every year at a similar date? Every school would have to get this day planned in their calendar year. In return, every University would make their advance graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, researchers and professors available on that day (no classes!)… Wouldn’t it be an exceptional day!

In the mean time, for 2013, I challenge you to give one day: let’s call it the one day initiative (it needs a good name!) to meet, talk with and educate your fellow citizens about science and technology. This can be meeting elementary or high school students, make a public conference, participate in a scientific debate, …

If you like this concept, please do disseminate the link to this blog post and use the name one day initiative as often as you can. Maybe by the sheer numbers we can create something new.

PhD project or PhD projects?

Two of my PhD students have successfully defended their thesis in the past three weeks. For both of them, they have accomplished what constituted the biggest project (in term of scope and time) of their life yet.

However, is it really one project or a collection of multiple projects forming a whole, called a PhD thesis?

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On starting a new project…

I design, plan, execute and complete projects on a regular basis for quite a number of years now. As a researcher, it is an integral part of the job. I often notice in starting grad students that the concept of project planning is not always well-developped (and doing a PhD certainly has some planning phases).

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PhD: they call it “pushing the envelope” of science!

This was passed down to me by a good friend (who is also reader of this blog). Have a look and you’ll understand the title of this post 😉

The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.

There is no such things as a shortcut

“Short cuts make for long delays.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Last week was the Canadian university football final (Vanier Cup). My University was playing, its 8th final since 1999 (won its 7th!). For the past 10 years, they have been the dominating team of their division. Not bad for a team that did not exist until the middle of the 90’s (and for some was doomed to failure). It is a model of success. Attendance to home games now averaged 15000 peoples. This number is small compare to US college football but is 2 to 3 times higher than most Canadian university program. Of course, this helps the program, money-wise…

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