Monday, April 21, 2014

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Speaking and writing so your audience understands you

August 10, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Brian Curran forwarded me this article about how to communicate with the public in active voice using straightforward, easy-to-understand language. Reading this article took me back to my time in Finland a few years ago. I loved to use colorful language and turns of phrases when I lived in the U.S. Then, in Finland, I […]

Every sentence in your scientific paper should meet these criteria.

July 25, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Each sentence should be clear Each sentence should make sense. Each sentence should be supported by evidence. If you can’t defend it, remove it.

An example of eloquent science (V. E. Suomi 1979)

July 1, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri, Writing  

The following text was written in 1979 by Verner E. Suomi from the Foreword of the report Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment. Truly eloquent science! Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment. Report of an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate to the Climate Research Board, Assembly of Mathematical and […]

More on using appropriate scientific terminology: “Super moon”

June 24, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri, Writing  

I’ve talked about the importance of choosing appropriate words when you need to introduce new scientific terminology here and here and (loosely) here. With the full moon in its orbit being closer to the Earth than normal, the media has been fixated on the “super moon” being 14% larger and 30% brighter than it normally […]

The “secret of success in mathematics: Plagiarize!”

June 21, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Humor, Potpourri, Writing  

The lyrics from For many years now, Mr. Danny Kaye, who has been my particular idol since childbirth, has been doing a routine about the great Russian director Stanislavsky and the secret of success in the acting profession. And I thought it would be interesting to stea… to adapt this idea to the field […]

Eloquent Science: Chapter 11 Figures

June 21, 2013   Filed under Blog, Excerpts, Featured, Potpourri, Resources, Writing  

I received a request from a professor who uses Eloquent Science in the classroom. He wanted the figures from Chapter 11: Figures and Tables, so that he could adapt them into his own presentations. In response to that request, here they are, in a single PowerPoint file: Eloquent Science: Figures from Chapter 11

Would it surprise you that the thesaurus was written by an obsessive person?

June 12, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Potpourri, Writing  

Peter Roget, who wrote Roget’s Thesaurus, came from a family of mental instability: “His grandmother was mentally unstable, his mother was nearly psychotic and his sister and daughter had suffered severe mental breakdowns (, 2012)” But, he loved to make lists. After 12 years of making lists of all words and their relationship to each […]

Microsoft Word grammar checker FAIL: “A climatology”

June 11, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

Have you every seen that the automatic grammar checker in Microsoft Word flags “a climatology” as incorrect? I checked that “a climatological study” does not trigger the green underline, nor does “climatology” without the article “a”. Maybe it is some kind of check to see if someone says “a biology” not followed by a noun […]

The Importance of a Clearly Written and Complete Caption

June 7, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Posters, Writing  

I never tire of this analogy. For the answer, click here. From Style for Students by Joe Schall.

Why the acknowledgements are important

June 7, 2013   Filed under Blog, Featured, Writing  

This recent article discusses the increasing prevalance of the acknowledgements section in books. It got me thinking about acknowledgements in scientific papers. Some authors use them, others don’t. Some authors thank the reviewers; others don’t. Some authors even thank the Editor; others don’t. Every once in a while you’ll find authors using weather graphics […]

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