Elsewhere in Science, 2 May 2014

Each week, Science publishes a number of articles that are likely to be of interest to career-minded readers. Because those articles are published on the other Science sites, Science Careers readers could easily overlook them.

To remedy that, every Friday we’re pointing our readers toward articles appearing in Science—the print magazine as well as ScienceInsider, ScienceNOW, Science Translational Medicine (Sci. TM), and Science Signaling—that hold some relevance to careers in science and other technical fields. (Note that articles appearing in Sci. TM, Science Signaling, and Science may require AAAS—the publisher of Science Careers—membership, a Science subscription, or a site license.)

► Last Friday, Dennis Normile reported on a bizarre turn in the STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) stem cell affair. Shunsuke Ishii, the chair of the RIKEN investigating committee that recently found stem cell scientist Haruko Obokata (first author on the Nature papers reporting the STAP results) guilty of research misconduct, is himself under investigation for research misconduct. Noting that “some errors occurred,” Ishii wrote, in Japanese, that “I deeply apologize to everyone for the suspicions that have arisen and for the various troubles these have caused.”

► On Monday, Gretchen Vogel wrote (with reporting from Dennis Normile), again at Insider, about yet another Japanese scientist holding a press conference to apologize for misconduct. This time it was a big fish, Nobel Prize winner Shinya Yamanaka, who discovered how to induce pluripotency in stem cells. Yamanaka’s iPS cell work is not in question.

► Science usually doesn’t cover announcements of fancy new cruise ships—unless it’s a $340 million polar research ship, like the one announced last Friday by U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. “Our new £200 million polar flagship will be the most advanced oceanographic research vessel in the world. It will be carrying the latest cutting edge technologies. And will mean scientists can do research for more of the year, can reach areas they’ve never been able to penetrate before, and will be able to bring back huge amounts of data on the ocean and marine biology,” Osborne said during a speech in Cambridge, according to a Insider post by Daniel Clery. Polar scientists shouldn’t make late-season travel plans just yet: The ship won’t be ready until 2019.

► On Monday at ScienceNow, David Grimm wrote about a bizarre result that may have far-reaching scientific implications. Jeffrey Mogil and his group at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, have discovered that men—but not women—stress out mice to the point where it affects the outcome of experiments. The group was  measuring pain, and “[t]he male aroma ramped up [mice’s] stress levels, which deadened the hurt,” Grimm wrote. Mogil suspects that the mice are reacting to scent chemicals that are common to all male mammals—or at least to humans and mice.

► On Wednesday, ScienceNow posted Nadia Whitehead’s interview with David Saltzberg, the University of California, Los Angeles, astrophysicist who is the science consultant to the TV show The Big Bang Theory. Among the questions: “Are there any particular tips you’d give to scientists who want to break into this field?”

► Because you can never have too much of a good thing, today ScienceNow posted Whitehead’s interview with Donna Nelson, who was one of several expert advisers to the late, great TV series Breaking Bad. (Incidentally, Nelson, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, wrote a “Life and Career” article for Science Careers in 2004, “Why Students Need Professors’ Perspectives on Family Issues,” in which she advises women not to interview while pregnant in male-dominated scientific fields.)

► In a News & Analysis story in this week’s Science, Richard Schiffman reported on the increasing use of drones by field biologists.

► Also in News & Analysis, David Malakoff wrote about plans by the Pentagon to reduce the budgets of the military’s funders of academic research.

► In Books, et al., Adam Jaffe reviewed Michael Teitelbaum’s new book, Falling Behind? Boom, Bust and the Global Race for Scientific Talent. “Examining past claims of crisis and their consequences,” Jaffe wrote, “Teitelbaum disputes arguments that the United States needs more scientists and engineers.” Beryl Benderly reviewed it for Careers in March.

► Finally, in this week’s Science editorial, Michael S. Turner makes a plea for curiosity-based science, pointing to scientific connections between two recent momentous discoveries, the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) detection of evidence of gravitational waves in the cosmic microwave background (still subject to confirmation) and the detection of the Higgs boson. Turner argues that “both are exemplars of the kind of curiosity-driven science that gets scientists out of bed in the morning and inspires young people to careers in science by asking some of the deepest questions about how the universe began and the events that have shaped our existence,” he wrote. “BICEP2 and the Higgs will launch the careers of thousands of new scientists around the world, just as quarks and quasars sparked my career.”

The part about inspiration is true enough—but it takes more than inspiration to launch a science career. A career in science requires a secure position, a salary, a lab, and adequate research support. If current trends continue, only a small fraction of those new scientists will ever manage to consummate their newfound love of science, even after many years of training.

Top Image: CREDIT: British Antarctic Survey

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