June 26, 2007

Here & There

A couple of items from recent days:

  • Via Discovering Biology in a Digital World, the 10th anniversary issue of Bioinform has interviews with a number of the leading lights in the bioinformatics field, including Russ Altman, Amos Bairoch, Rainer Fuchs, Steve Lincoln, Gene Myers and Lincoln Stein. Some of the questions that were asked all of them are: What are some of the biggest challenges the field still has to overcome? What do you think are some of the most exciting research areas in the field right now? What advice would you give to a student thinking about a career in bioinformatics?

    This little taste from the interview with Lincoln Stein:
    What advice would you give to a student thinking about a career in bioinformatics today?

    Learn as much biology as you can. Learn statistics. A lot of it comes down to statistics. And don't worry too much about learning a particular programming language because they're all transient anyway.

  • Fortran is 50! I have a real soft spot in my heart for Fortran as it was the first programming language I ever learned, way back in 1981 or so. The most recent issue of Scientific Programming celebrates the language and it's past, present and, yes, future.

  • The science blogosphere controversy du jour is about the role of science journalists: are they a necessary evil? Is it worth submitting to an interview if you're misquoted? Are they really science's best hope for greater recognition and understanding in society? Bora Zivkovic of A Blog Around the Clock has his usual great summary post, with some additional links at Aetiology, where it all started.

    Me, I'm a huge consumer of science journalism. In many ways, a lot of my understanding of science and scientists is mediated by them; as readers of this blog know, I consider disciplinary knowledge and understanding to be a core aspect of subject librarianship and I rely quite a bit on journalists to get me inside the head of scientists via newspaper and magazine articles, books and a/v documentaries. On the other hand, I also know that the journalism biz is fast and furious, with lots of people writing about things tht aren't their specialty. So, I expect there to be some inaccuracies, but I do know that I can rely of some journalists more than others. Peter Calamai of the Toronto Star is pretty good as are Natalie Angier and David Quammen and others. I always make sure to read the year's best science and nature series every year to make sure I get the best of the best in science journalism.

1 comment:

Deb said...

I love David Quammen's writing. I learned of him when he was writing a column in Outside Magazine back in the 1990s.