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

Is there a book you want to write?

Writing a book is overwhelming to contemplate and enormously satisfying to complete. How did I find the time? First, it was a book I have been wanting to write for more than 20 years, so the time it took was … Continue reading

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What I learned from reading my book aloud

There is a difference between written and spoken language that is hard to define. I think there is less of a difference in English than in some languages, but it still exists. To make your writing clear, I think that … Continue reading

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Retraction with honor

On July 2, 2022, we retracted a paper we published last year in Evolution https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/evo.14551. The reason I wanted to write this post is to explain what happened and how we dealt with it and thereby to help normalize honest … Continue reading

Posted in Publishing your work | 30 Comments

Ten steps to optimizing learning at large conferences

Active conference attendance can make all the difference in how much you learn at a large meeting with a blizzard of overlapping sessions, posters, and eating venues. A few steps before, during and after can help you get the most … Continue reading

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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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