Author Archives: Joan E. Strassmann

About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis

How to do an external review, particularly of a university department

There is a sameness to human organizations. This means that if you are conducting an external review, you can probably do a surprising amount of it without knowing anything about the particular group at hand. Knowing this, then looking for … Continue reading

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Radical thoughts on awards, or who should get into the National Academy of Sciences

The annual meeting of the National Academy of Sciences ended with a President’s Dinner at a museum, and the business meeting, with announcement of new members. There is intense silence as we stare at the three screens of names. The … Continue reading

Posted in Awards and prizes, equity, Judging | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Why expanding the requirements for the Waterman Award won’t fix it

The National Science Foundation gives out an annual prize to their choice for the top scientist, the Waterman Award. Actually, it is a committee that does the choosing. You can see for yourself who is on it, here. The award … Continue reading

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Can we fix inequity in awards for women scientists?

Unfairness to women in academic recognition is common. Anne Lincoln and co-authors, for example published on the Matilda Effect on awards and prizes in science. Women achieve much more for much less recognition, if they get credit for their own … Continue reading

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Grant review: best proposal or most needy scientist?

In a few short hours I read nine proposals from graduate students interested in funding for their research. Because this was a focused call, they were largely similar. They all involved field work, natural history, and queries into the relationship … Continue reading

Posted in Awards and prizes, Graduate school, Grant proposals, Grants, NSF | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Can you answer this crucial scientific question?

“Where did you see that,” may not seem like the most crucial question, but for natural science, history, geography, archaeology, and many other fields, provenance is crucial information. The volunteers that keep eBird useful will challenge you if you claim … Continue reading

Posted in Communication, Field work, Research | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will your paper meet the reporting checklist requirements for Nature Ecology and Evolution?

Perhaps one of the biggest shocks to students new to research is how slow and painstaking it is. More than one has decided it is no fun at all, nothing like reading cool articles or watching nature videos. And I’m … Continue reading

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