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NCSE Roundup: In Science, You Make Your Own Luck

NCSE  Round-Up: In Science, You Make Your Own Luck

This week from the National Center for Science Education, the NCSE team talks about last week's Nobel Prize winners and how world-changing scientific discoveries come from dedicated professionals creating their own luck.

The Serendipity Behind Nobel Prize Winning Discoveries

Last week, Tu Youyou, Satoshi Omura, and William Campbell were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine while the following day Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Of course, the NCSE team has read into each scientist's discoveries and Josh Rosenau is amazed at the amount of serendipity tied to the respective findings.

The discoveries that the highly distinguished scientists made were ones they had never anticipated.

Omura was even quoted saying he wasn't sure if he could should accept the prize or give it the microorganisms that helped him and his partner develop a life-saving drug.

"In science, to a large extent, you make your own luck. Omura’s habit of carrying collection bags everywhere made it a lot more likely that he’d collect the sample he needed, and years of work gave him the skills to recognize what to collect and when he had a major find," Rosenau said.

"None of these researchers knew their research was going to lead where it did, but their ability to recognize a lucky break and take full advantage of it set these researchers on a course to Stockholm, and set world on a path to health and enlightenment."

Read his full post here

In Honor of National Fossil Day...

In honor of National Fossil Day yesterday, many took to Twitter to #askapaleo questions. Check out the full archive of questions asked and answers from participating paleontologists, including NCSE's Stephanie Keep, here

What the Grand Canyon Taught a Veteran Science Teacher

NCSE recently started the Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship, where it takes dedicate science teachers on the field trip of the lifetime.

One of the scholarship winners, Scott Hatfield, a biology teacher from California, described this week how his experience was the best kind of professional development there is.

"NCSE’s Grand Canyon Teacher Scholars program gave me opportunities and experiences that I never would’ve achieved on my own, and I would make the voyage again in a heartbeat," he said.

Read his full post about his experience here.

Climate Science Needs More Acceptance

While Steve Newton thinks the recently published study from Environmental Research Letters, “The climate change consensus extends beyond climate scientists, "is a step in the right direction, he has some issues with the study that indicate climate science still hasn't been fully accepted.

For one, he holds issue with scientists' stance on climate change issues being referred to as "beliefs."

"The problem with using 'belief' in place of 'accept' or 'recognize' is that the word belief implies opinion, implies faith, implies that people think something for reasons other than rational consideration of evidence," he said.

He also thinks the paper misused the term "skeptic," polled the wrong people, and the worded poll questions incorrectly to get trustworthy responses.

Read more about Newton's issues with the study here

Disclaimers in Alabama's Textbooks

Alabama adopted a new set of science standards last month that will treat the teaching of evolution as “substantiated with much direct and indirect evidence."

But Glenn Branch warns to be careful of textbook disclaimers still in existence, one of which describes evolution as “a controversial theory some scientists present as a scientific explanation for the origin of living things.”

With the new standards in place that Branch says do justice to the study of evolution, it's time to rip the stickers off.

Read the full post here

For more NCSE updates, check out "what they're reading" this week. 


Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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