A Science Driven Life

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Archive for the ‘Politics of Science’ Category

What is the current technical limitation in your scientific field?

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Lavoisier conducting an experiment related combustion generated by amplified sun light.As a neuroscientist working for a technology company I spend a lot of time seeing new applications. These can range from new imaging probes, to new optogenetics tools or transgenic animals, all the way to new camera sensor technologies or super resolution algorithms. I spend a lot of time in labs seeing some really cool research, long before it’s published or presented at a conference. This is an aspect of my job I really love- getting to see where the fields of advanced imaging, electrophysiology, optophysiology, optogenetics, and neuroscience are headed.

The researchers we work with are constantly pushing the barriers of the latest and greatest in technology to better address increasingly complex questions in biology (side note: we also work with astronomers, physical science and chemistry, but I’m heavily focused on biological applications).

My question to my research friends and readers is simply this: what is the current technical limitation(s) in your field and if you could have one single new tool (either a new technology, new probe, new animal model, behavioral test, etc) what would you want?

I’m hoping to get a range of responses to open this up for a bigger question in how can we (academia and industry) work together to form open partnerships that are focused on advancing science. A lot of research money is wasted on overpriced, outdated, and often times the wrong technology for the research question at hand (I blame the sales rep as well as the researcher who doesn’t spend the time to educate her/himself) and an open discussion on how to save researchers time and (all of us taxpayers) money is long overdue.


Written by Michael Mohammadi

April 5, 2014 at 08:42

The Sequester and NASA: That’s one small step for man, one giant leap backward for mankind.

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by Michael Mohammadi

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 9.00.04 PM

This is a file from the Wikimedia Commons.

“Knowledge is power.”

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

“The stupid sequester is crushing NASA’s outreach programs which aim to educate kids and the general public on issues in math, science and engineering.”

“In an internal memo issued on the evening of Friday, March 22, the Administration notes that “effective immediately, all education and public outreach activities should be suspended, pending further review. In terms of scope, this includes all public engagement and outreach events, programs, activities, and products developed and implemented by Headquarters, Mission Directorates, and Centers across the Agency, including all education and public outreach efforts conducted by programs and projects.”
Read more: http://www.universetoday.com/100949/sequester-cancels-nasa-outreach/#ixzz2OJvrDEkR

Just a quick call to arms to all of the scientists out there.  It is imperative that we live up to our responsibility of teaching non-scientists, especially children, the importance and fundamentals of each of our disciplines.  From astronomy to physics, chemistry to biology, we must take responsibility for the mis-trust and underappreciation of science in the general public and work to educate our fellow Americans on why the most important investment we can make is to educate our children.

We have everything to gain and everything to lose, please get involved in science education!


Written by Michael Mohammadi

March 23, 2013 at 01:06