The Year’s Best Stories


In Person: My Boss With Stephen Hawking DiseaseRodica Stan, 11 January 2013A protégé pays tribute to the humanity and resilience of immunologist Alan Houghton.

Surviving as a PostdocCharmaine Tam, 06 March 2013Australian postdoc Charmaine Tam shares tips on how to make it through this early phase of a research career.

‘IMPROV’ing My Communication Skills Vicky Miller, 11 March 2013Postdoc Vicky Miller writes that improvisation classes have made her a better scientist.

“We Are the World”Jim Austin, 27 March 2013Computer science veteran Ed Lazowska argues that his field is poised to dominate careers in the sciences.

Sniffing out DermatemysJim Kling, 12 April 2013With her border collie’s help, a young scientist studies an endangered turtle and works to improve education in a Guatemalan village.

It’s Not Always the Best and BrightestDavid G. Jensen, 19 April 2013To get hired, you have to get noticed.

From Swag to RichesAdam Ruben, 26 April 2013Our columnist offers tips and strategies to help you, dear reader, walk out of any exhibit hall loaded down with free corporate goods.

Michael YaffeTrisha Gura, 10 May 2013The systems biologist and trauma surgeon talks about treating patients after the Boston Marathon bombings and about his career.

In Defense of Playing Around in the LabAdam Ruben, 24 May 2013In science, sometimes, mistakes are not merely good, they’re extraordinary.

A Shortcut to Better GrantsmanshipMichael Price, 04 June 2013NIH’s Early Career Reviewer program gives newly independent scientists a reviewer’s perspective on what makes a grant worth funding.

Computer Scientists Get WetVijaysree Venkatraman, 14 June 2013By picking up the fundamentals of biology, computer scientists are contributing to the life sciences.

Changing Career AdviceDavid G. Jensen, 21 June 2013As careers in science become more globalized and competitive, advice for job-seekers needs to keep up with the times.

Stephanie McGuireMichael Price, 24 June 2013Classical music and science have a lot in common, says the opera singer with a Ph.D. in psychoacoustics. She wants to help people from all backgrounds appreciate both.

Leading the Way for Scientists with Disabilities Angela Lee Foreman, 01 July 2013Learning to remain focused on her passions helped Angela Lee Foreman adapt to her hearing disability and find a rewarding career path.

Opportunities Come Through PeoplePhilip S. Clifford, Bill Lindstaedt, Jennifer A. Hobin, Cynthia N. Fuhrmann, 16 July 2013The goal of networking is to form and strengthen the relationships that are essential to the optimal conduct of science.

Unprecedented Uncertainty for Young Spanish ScientistsElisabeth Pain, 19 July 2013The difficult financial situation at the largest research institution in Spain is bringing more delays and uncertainty to early-career scientists.

A Changing Climate of CommunicationEli Kintisch, 02 August 2013At a Colorado confab, geoscientists explore a question with important career implications: Has outreach become part of the climate scientist’s job?

The Life Scientist BubbleVictoria Doronina, 28 August 2013″It’s hard to see how a system in which the innovators are commodified can long survive,” writes a long-term postdoc in the life sciences.

After the LHC, the DelugeAdrian Cho, 29 August 2013The hundreds of grad students and postdocs working on the world’s largest atom smasher are competing for a handful of jobs.

Beyond CVs and Impact Factors: An Employer’s ManifestoSandra L. Schmid, 03 September 2013There’s a lot of talk about finding better ways to hire academic scientists. One department is doing more than talk.

“Impostors” Downshift Career GoalsMichael Price, 04 September 2013Grad students with impostor syndrome are more likely than others to abandon research careers. Superstar mentors may make things worse.

Can I Get a Ph.D. in Collaboration?Jenna M. Shapiro, 11 September 2013Science needs scientists who occupy the spaces between fields, to complement and bring together disciplinary experts.

Leadership Tips for WomenElisabeth Pain, 17 September 2013Participants in EMBO’s first management course for women share the lessons they learned.

Your Data, Warts and AllElisabeth Pain, 04 October 2013Early-career scientists need to balance career imperatives against the need for complete and transparent reporting.

ShadowboxingFrançois L. Mayer, 09 October 2013An unorthodox teacher—of German literature—inspired François Mayer to pursue a career in science.

Caught Up in PublishingAnand Krishnan, 23 October 2013We need to find new policies and incentives that return science to a hunt for scientific truth and not for publications.

Part 1: In India, Abundant OpportunitiesG.B.S.N.P. Varma, 28 October 2013India’s academic job market is vibrant for Indian nationals returning from training abroad.

Attention Must Be PaidBeryl Lieff Benderly, 31 October 2013As the tenure track shrinks, more and more teaching—including in STEM fields—is done by “off-track,” low-paid, contingent faculty.

Why I Do ScienceSushil Devkota, 11 November 2013The euphoria of discovery and the knowledge that your discoveries may help someone provide sufficient motivation to keep pushing forward.

Science as a VerbMaria Fadri-Moskwik, 18 November 2013At the moment Maria Fadri-Moskwik decided to become a scientist, she was strapped to a human hamster wheel.

A Career as a College Science TeacherVijaysree Venkatraman, 19 November 2013Yes, it is possible to have a satisfying career focused mainly on college teaching.

A Perfect Time for BabiesJacquiline Romero, 25 November 2013Jacquiline Romero, who is now a postdoc, says that graduate school is the best time for an aspiring scientist to have a baby.

Give Science Some SlackJim Austin, 04 December 2013Science and society are paying a high price for the intense pressure that scientists are under.

What Makes a Competitive Faculty Application Package?Fatma Kaplan, 10 December 2013After applying unsuccessfully for nearly 150 faculty jobs, Fatma Kaplan concludes that what she really needs is a federal research grant.

Mind the Gap YearTrisha Gura, 13 December 2013Students who take time off between college and graduate or professional school often have adventures and do useful things.

Improve Your Productivity in Graduate SchoolSheetal R. Modi, December 16, 2013A former graduate student provides suggestions for a more efficient and productive—and ultimately more rewarding—Ph.D. experience.

“Fishing Is Good”

What Difference Does 5 Years Make?