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

Do not love your writing

I paused in the piece I am writing about Ruth Park Woods, a scrap of forest only 23 acres large along a fetid creek and behind small businesses of Olive Boulevard. There was a paragraph I particularly liked but it … Continue reading

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What have you discovered?

In the last two weeks I have nominated more than a dozen of you for a very nice honor. I had to go to your papers, to your web pages and CVs to do this. And I found how productive … Continue reading

Posted in Public Communication, Science writing for the public, Social media, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

An easy productivity tip: don’t stop at a stopping place

You know the feeling. Four ideas are juggling in your brain and you need to get them down on paper. They shift around as you struggle for the best order, put in transitions, and write your paragraphs. After all, you … Continue reading

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Please join the American Association for the Advancement of Science for secret reason in addition to the main one

Congratulations to all the new fellows of AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science! Those from Wash U were honored with nice write-ups in the Wash U Record. Here is a list of all of them. It is … Continue reading

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In on-line teaching one thing is essential

Of all the preparations with Canvas and Zoom, in all the discussions with my Teaching Assistants, in reading the blizzard of emails my anxious university sends out, there is one thing I keep remembering from my son’s long experience with … Continue reading

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Why we fail at hiring Black faculty in biology departments

Today was a day of reflection. How have we gotten to this sorry point in the history of the US? What have I personally contributed to the problem? What have I personally contributed to the solution? How can we do … Continue reading

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Fishy pasta sauce

We are fortunate to be sheltering in place with an old friend and Clark Way Harrison visiting professor from Italy, so instead of adding to the excellent advice about Zoom and other tricks of distance teaching, I will be sharing … Continue reading

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Best updates on the new corona virus (#coronavirus, #covid19, #SARSCoV2) are on Twitter: a brief tutorial

Want to see a phylogeny of #covid-19? Follow @nextstrain. Want to hear what a Harvard epidemiologist thinks? Follow @mlipsitch.  Want a thoughtful microbiologist’s perspective? Follow @RELenski. What to know the latest advice from the World Health Organization? Follow @WHO. Want … Continue reading

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One important way to be fair in grad school interviews

Today is the day! We are interviewing possible graduate students! They have made a huge cut and have been invited to campus. Which ones will we commit to for 5 or more years? Which ones will join our labs, have … Continue reading

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The ethical treatment of data: six essentials

Science is founded on a lovely relationship between theory and data. Theory predicts patterns. Data tells us which theories work. Together they make sense of our world. How do we teach students to handle data properly? Six general areas come … Continue reading

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