Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Indiana Jones denied tenure

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/back-from-yet-another-globetrotting-adventure-indiana-jones-checks-his-mail-and-discovers-that-his-bid-for-tenure-has-been-denied

"The lone student representative on the committee wished to convey that, besides being an exceptional instructor, a compassionate mentor, and an unparalleled gentleman, Dr. Jones was extraordinarily receptive to the female student body during and after the transition to a coeducational system at the college. However, his timeliness in grading and returning assignments was a concern."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Intuition and science

"Seems to me that there’s not really a contradiction between System1 (intuition) and System 2 (rational) modes of knowing.  Instead, one’s just faster than the other.  Both are useful, both are necessary.  But the great achievement of science has been to tell us that intuition always has to be checked.  In essence, science is the overturning of intuition by slow, painful, careful System 2 reasoning."
from http://searchresearch1.blogspot.com/2011/11/intuition-and-counterintuition.html

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brittany defended yesterday...

... successfully, of course. Now we just have to turn it into a publication. I always give a short speech during the celebrations afterwards, and the theme was what Brittany, her personality, brought to the research project (Ryan Gregory's great standard question). She was much too modest when she answered this during her defence, so I answered it for her:

  • her organizational talents (keeping track of the extensive experiments and field observations, all at the same time)
  • her efficient and hard work (she counted more than 600 samples one summer, compared to my 90+ samples for my entire PhD)
  • her intellectual contributions to her thesis, which looks very straightforward afterward, but it took us many iterations to understand and explain it this clearly
  • knowing how to handle me (important one!)
  • her willingness to work in Churchill, given the remoteness and sometimes dangerous nature of the field work there
And the polar bear situation in Churchill was the source of my present for Brittany:

Colour-coordinated accessories ;-)
Congratulations again, Brittany.