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Positive and negative feedback in science: Scientists as social animals

June 22, 2010   Filed under Blog, Featured, Posters, Potpourri, Presentations, Reviewing, Writing  

At a recent meeting at the University of Manchester, the keynote speaker was Prof. Helen Gleeson OBE. She gave an informative and interesting history of her career and the lessons she has learned. One thing she said resonated with me (paraphrasing): “As a scientist, you get lots of rejections, but not a lot of supportive […]

Proper spellings of atmospheric science words

April 22, 2010   Filed under Blog, Posters, Potpourri, Presentations, Resources, Reviewing, Writing  

Did you know that shortwave radiation is not hyphenated, but short-wave trough is? Did you know that air mass is two words when used as a noun, but one word when used as an adjective (e.g., airmass modification)? If you are ever wondering how scientific words are spelled or used, the American Meteorological Society has […]

A figure in need of help

April 7, 2010   Filed under Blog, Featured, Posters, Presentations, Writing  

I ran across this figure from an American Meteorological Society journal article recently. It’s just a simple scatterplot, which is so easy to construct, yet this figure has so many problems. 1. False alarm ratio and probability of detection are both quantities that can have values between 0 and 1, but the x axis ranges […]

Appropriate way to label axes of graphs

March 14, 2010   Filed under Blog, Posters, Presentations, Resources, Uncategorized, Writing  

Prof. Brian Fiedler of the University of Oklahoma recently published an article in Physics Education calling for a change in direction in teaching dimensionless ratios in physics. As he advocates, The tick marks [on an axis of a graph] are pure numbers. Labels with a solidus such as R/µm are orthodox notation for what the […]

Arial is a cheap imitation of Helvetica

February 16, 2010   Filed under Blog, Posters, Presentations, Writing  

While researching the book, I discovered this Web site proclaiming the glories of the sans serif font Helvetica and bemoaning the rise of Microsoft’s rip-off font Arial. As the Web page says about Arial replacing Helvetica, “To an experienced designer, it was like asking for Jimmy Stewart and getting Rich Little.” I have to admit […]

Be creative in constructing your figures

February 16, 2010   Filed under Blog, Posters, Presentations, Writing  

With Adobe Illustrator and other similar graphics packages, scientists are more in control of their figures than ever before. You don’t have to rely on the default values and font types in your graphics software. One thing that you can do is create composite figures where two types of figures are combined to create a […]

Recommended Reading

January 29, 2010   Filed under Blog, Excerpts, Featured, Posters, Potpourri, Presentations, Resources, Reviewing, Writing  

Previously, I provided three items of essential reading. Here are other books that I highly recommend for improving your scientific communication skills. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING ON WRITING Cook (1986): Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing delivers a thorough accounting of the editing process. The book deals mainly with sentence-level revisions and contains […]

Why you should use sans serif fonts for figures, posters, and slides.

September 25, 2009   Filed under Blog, Posters, Presentations  

Serifs are those little vertical lines and flourishes at the ends of letters (like the vertical lines at the ends of the capital S or the horizontal line at the bottom of the lower-case r). Use sans serif fonts (Helvetica, Arial) because the near-uniform width of the strokes keeps the font readable when reduced in […]

Powerful Poster Presentations

August 22, 2009   Filed under Posters, Resources  

This entry was written by Sabine Göke, head of the radar group at the University of Helsinki in Finland. She was awarded the Spiros G. Geotis Prize for her first poster presentation at the 28th American Meteorological Society Conference on Radar Meteorology, Austin, Texas, USA.

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