Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Return of the Samurai Scientist

It's been a few years since I last blogged about science. It's not that I've been silent - since closing this blog, I've started several others, but none of them have been about science. Maybe I felt at the time like no one was listening, or that I was already doing too much of this stuff at work, or that I was selling myself short by giving away my ideas for free. No matter. The Samurai Scientist is back.

A lot has changed since my last post. Science blogging, which was only in its infancy a few years ago, has taken off. Fun science - a mainstay of this blog - has taken off. There is a cottage industry springing up of people who not only like science, but believe in it, and want to help. Which is great. I hope they're ready to deliver, because I have plans for them.

Not everything has been rosy for science in the last few years. We are in the middle of a serious funding crisis. Scientific research is under increasing scrutiny from the public, who don't understand why science matters or even what it is. Within the ranks, a ballooning class of postdocs is growing disillusioned with science, and anxious about their careers. A revolution in information technology is shaking up the landscape of academic research and education - a sector not traditionally known for its willingness to embrace change. All of this has been likened to the writing on the wall for young researchers. 

Every day in the lab, I find myself discussing these issues with fellow scientists. Those conversations have convinced me there are solutions out there. Here, I hope to bring some of those discussions to a larger forum, and do my part to help move our art in the right direction. I hope you will join me.

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