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

Women and Wikipedia

Perhaps you have seen that Nobel Laureate in chemistry, Donna Strickland did not have a Wikipedia page until just now. She was deemed by the moderator not to be worthy back in March 2018. See the discussion on the Wikipedia … Continue reading

Posted in Awards and prizes, Gender bias, Wikipedia | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Wissenschaftskolleg: It’s not just time to write, it is connections with fabulous novelists, thoughtful former politicians, historians, and scientists

Ever since I got to the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, I have been trying to understand  what I can offer it and what it can offer me. This is the script: I come here for 10 months, take no more than … Continue reading

Posted in Managing an academic career, New ideas, Sabbatical, Social interactions | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

How to read a scientific paper

Do you remember when you read your first scientific paper? For me it was hard. Some parts I did not understand. Other parts were interesting. The structure seemed odd, with a narrative that did not flow. I read it from … Continue reading

Posted in Presentations and seminars, Publishing your work, Reading critically, Scholarship, Undergraduates, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What does a professor or a postdoc do at an advanced study institute?

We are about to start 10 months at the renowned Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, a place where academics go to concentrate on their research and to find inspiration across the academy. You might think you have to be advanced yourself to … Continue reading

Posted in Managing an academic career, Sabbatical | 2 Comments

How do you get an academic job in biology?

You have published your research, figured out how to apply for grants, identified some absorbing big ideas to spend a few years or a lifetime on, but now you want that coveted academic job to put this all together. It … Continue reading

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Get your undergrads thinking about analysis from the start

The last post talked about making sure undergrads get the big picture of their questions. This is essential, but it is not the end. All too often analysis is left for the end and there is no exploring. Ideally, students … Continue reading

Posted in Data and analysis, The joy of teaching, Undergraduates | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Do your undergrads actually understand their summer research project?

All over the country, undergraduates are embarking on research projects. They are banding birds, squeezing ticks for parasites, culturing bacteria, seining streams, cutting open mice, and many other things. If you ask them what they are doing, they will be … Continue reading

Posted in Research, Undergraduates, Your lab group | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment