Summer Journal: Part 1

There has been too much happening this summer to stop and write about it. Instead, here are scenes and some short verses describing this summer so far. Needless to say, if there wasn’t even time to write… it was one heck of a ride.

Dog Whistles: Phrasing that Encodes Anti-Science

President Trump’s candidate for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, was approved today by the Senate committee that conducted her hearing. During her hearing, a question was asked of Mrs. DeVos by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) about whether or not she would work to keep “junk science” (such as “Intelligent Design” or efforts to erode climate… Continue reading Dog Whistles: Phrasing that Encodes Anti-Science

Signs and Portents: Rex Tillerson on Climate Change Policy

It’s been days since the confirmation hearings of Mr. Rex Tillerson for United States Secretary of State. I was not able to listen to his hearing, but his testimony has been available in recordings with some transcripts becoming available. The topic of most interest to me was potential U.S. climate change policy. While Tillerson is… Continue reading Signs and Portents: Rex Tillerson on Climate Change Policy

The science, not ethics, of unverified Ebola drugs

I haven’t posted in a while. The current global Ebola panic, spread mostly by social media and the media and not so much by the actual global threat of Ebola, has spurred me from complacency. Specifically, a WHO ethics panel today unanimously authorized the use of unproven, untested, experimental Ebola drugs in the field. But… Continue reading The science, not ethics, of unverified Ebola drugs

My comments at today’s second P5 Town Hall Meeting

I am Stephen Sekula, an Assistant Professor of Physics at SMU conducting research on the ATLAS Experiment. These comments will be my own, and I will try to take a broad view. Let me begin by thanking the members of the Panel for this opportunity to speak, and let me also send my greetings to… Continue reading My comments at today’s second P5 Town Hall Meeting

Moments in Time: Consider the Big Dipper

The Big Dipper played a small but important role in how I became a physicist. Here we see it as it looked from Berlin (Germany) in June 2011. From Ref. 2.

When I think back to my youth, I recognize a series of key moments that happened that led to my becoming a physicist. I often speak of one of those moments when I discuss physics with students or the general public. My father once recorded a documentary about physics entitled “The Creation of the Universe,”… Continue reading Moments in Time: Consider the Big Dipper

A good example of a bad argument

Recently, a two new studies of multivitamins and their efficacy for purposes other than vitamin deficiency were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine [1][2]. One study looks at using multivitamins to improve outcomes after myocardial infarction, and finds no evidence of a benefit. The second study looks at measurable outcomes of cognitive function in… Continue reading A good example of a bad argument

Thoughts on “The Economist” article on reforming science

I have a subscription to “The Economist,” but I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve neglected the last few issues. So it was with great interest that I found from an acquaintance of mine that they recently printed an article entitled “How Science Goes Wrong: Scientific Research Has Changed the World. Now it needs to… Continue reading Thoughts on “The Economist” article on reforming science