Experimental Error

Credit: Dan Koestler

Experimental Error Index

How to read a scientific paper
20 January 2016
Our columnist describes how he learned to read—and actually understand—journal articles

Scientists sharing the wealth
23 December 2015
Researchers at well-resourced labs can give back to those with less, our columnist advises.

We [scientists] are distrusted, feared, but most of all, misunderstood.

--Adam Ruben

A scientist goes to kindergarten
18 November 2015
In choosing a school for his daughter, our columnist considers how modern education prepares students for their careers.

Why I don’t use humor in my scientific presentations
21 October 2015
Our columnist explains why he stopped including jokes in his talks—and why he’s now trying to start again

Scientists should defend, not defund, the humanities
23 September 2015
A crisis for the humanities is a crisis for all, our columnist argues.

When your work title is a working title
27 August 2015
Does your job title really matter? Our columnist explores what's in a name.

Grad students behaving badly
31 July 2015
Our esteemed columnist warns against some of the common offenses that grad students have been known to commit.

Thesis adviser horror stories
24 June 2015
In which our esteemed columnist catalogs the miseries our bosses have been known to inflict upon their underlings

Dr., No: Science career roadblocks
21 May 2015
Our columnist lists and describes the most common roadblocks faced by those pursuing science careers.

How not to apply to grad school
23 April 2015
For the benefit of all of you applying to science graduate programs, our columnist confesses his mistakes in the hopes that you can avoid following in his footsteps.

What do deans even do?
25 March 2015
In considering what career to pursue, have you considered the administrative track? Me neither.

How to p*ss off a scientist
25 February 2015
Scientists aren’t angrier than the general population, but different triggers make us mad.

Origin stories of the scientists
22 January 2015
Or how a trip to Walt Disney World tricked me into becoming a scientist.

Pure, stupid luck
23 December 2014
Sure, luck plays a role in science—but that shouldn’t mean that to succeed, you have to get lucky.

The never-ending Ph.D.
26 November 2014
The worst part of grad school, writes our columnist, is that you can’t predict when it’s going to be over.

Nothing but networking
23 October 2014
The worst part of networking, our columnist says, is that it feels like spending time marketing yourself in lieu of doing science.

The long harm of the law
25 September 2014
For some nutty reason, scientists sometimes become lawyers.

Science and childbirth, the second time around
21 August 2014
In which our columnist attempts to replicate his earlier experiment in procreation.

Academic Science, I Just Can’t Quit You
24 July 2014
NIH-funded training programs are helping NIH-trained scientists learn how to not do NIH-funded research.

How to Talk to Kids About Science
26 June 2014
Our columnist offers advice on presenting your work to the most difficult audience there is: children.

Forgive Me, Scientists, for I Have Sinned
20 May 2014
To be a proper scientist, is it necessary to conform to the standard template?

Dress to Profess: What Should Scientists Wear?
24 April 2014
Many scientists worry that if they dress well, they'll be sending a message that appearances matter more than substance.

Kids Posit the Darnedest Hypotheses
26 March 2014
There's a lot we can learn from science fair projects that we can then apply to our own research.

Magnetic Fields, or, The Minor Matter of Your Major
27 February 2014
Before we even know what the different science disciplines truly involve, we're expected to choose a field we'll pursue for the rest of our lives.

Adjunctification Blues
23 January 2014
As Johns Hopkins University floats a plan to limit the number of grad students and raise their salaries, our columnist envisions an overly adjunctified world.

There's No Place Like the Lab for the Holidays
20 December 2013
Running out of shopping days? Consider these science-related gifts for the budding little principal investigator on your holiday gift list.

The Postdoc: A Special Kind of Hell
21 November 2013
Being a postdoc, says our Experimental Error columnist, has advantages and disadvantages.

Searching for Truths (at Booths)
24 October 2013

We scientists need to get out there and sell, sell, sell, even though salesmanship isn't in our marshmallows.

Rich Scientist, Poor Scientist
25 September 2013
Adam's old grad school lab appears to have fallen victim to the same budget cuts that are killing science around the country.

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: The Challenges of Interdisciplinary Science
22 August 2013
The hardest part of interdisciplinary collaborations is collaborating in an interdisciplinary way.

Jack of One Hyperspecific Trade
26 July 2013
Is it really possible to be a student of all sciences? No.

Silverbacks and Whippersnappers
28 June 2013
In his mid-30s prime, our columnist discusses the common traits of younger and older scientists.

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

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

Sexy, Sexy Scientists
22 March 2013
Our sexy columnist ponders the importance of sexiness in science.

Regrettable Resumes, Part 2
22 February 2013
Our columnist continues to explore the craggy, often arbitrarily boldface landscape of the scientific resume.

Regrettable Resumes
25 January 2013
Charged with perusing applications for an open scientist job, our columnist gets testy.

The Myth of the Well-Rounded Scientist
14 December 2012
Despite what grad school admissions committees seem to believe, outside interests are good.

Does Scientific Research Need a Purpose?
23 November 2012
Not all research is easily justified—but what do you do when you can't even justify it to yourself?

A Cure for Listlessness
26 October 2012
Our columnist lists the top N of everything in science careers, where N = fun.

The Audacity of Graduate School
28 September 2012
The overworked grad student seems to embody the most pointless aspects of graduate school.

Is Science Cool? No
24 August 2012
As the wider world celebrates science's renewed coolness, our columnist stubbornly questions the world's right to decide.

Help Not Wanted
27 July 2012
The United States faces a severe shortage of qualified scientists—so why are there so many unemployed scientists?

Will That Be Trash or Credit?
29 June 2012
If scientists just want to make the world a better place, why do they expend so much energy clamoring for credit?

The Unwritten Rules of Journalism
25 May 2012
The key to understanding the way the media covers science is to know the rules science journalists adhere to.

Thick Books and Thin Films
27 April 2012
Before you pick up that next thriller novel, remember that scientists are not exactly as they are often portrayed.

How to Write Like a Scientist
23 March 2012
Why do we require scientists to write badly? Anyway, here's how.

I've Got Your Impact Factor Right Here
24 February 2012
The Journal of Negative Results is only the beginning.

The Top 10 Worst Things About Working in a Lab
27 January 2012
Lab work left you feeling dissatisfied? Our Experimental Error columnist feels your pain.

Truly Alternative Careers
23 December 2011
Looking for something really different? Consider a career in alchemy, lysenkoism, diluvial geology -- or invent your own!

What Scientists Can Be Grateful For on Thanksgiving
25 November 2011
When you carve the turkey, don't forget to thank science.

OMG, So Many Science Careers
28 October 2011
If you like grant writing, writing grants, and obtaining grants via writing, you may enjoy life as an academic scientist.

Nobel Gas
23 September 2011
It’s time to reclaim the Nobel Prize for the common scientist, for those who have long considered the award beyond their grasp.

This Is only a Test
26 August 2011
As we are training to become fully fledged scientists, we ourselves are the test subjects.

The Gray-Pride Parade
29 July 2011
Walk through the corridors of many scientific institutions and you'll see the results of decisions made by the hiring committee of 1962.

What Happens in the Lab Stays in the Lab
24 June 2011
Our labs are science-based mini-societies -- so why do we run them in the same arbitrary and bureaucratic way as the rest of the world?

Fetus Don't Fail Me Now
27 May 2011
With his daughter still in the embryonic stage, our columnist wonders if it's too early to steer her toward a career in science.

Forging a Head
22 April 2011
Scientific hoaxes -- the harmless kind -- can be fun, and they can show us how easy it is to stop thinking like a scientist.

Achieving Immortality
01 April 2011
How can we ensure that future students will read our names when, many years from now, they open their science textbooks on their iPad 15s?

Most Likely to Secede
25 February 2011
No talented child ever says, "I want to pipette repetitively when I grow up."

Lies, Damn Lies, and Seminars
28 January 2011
For all the naive and gullible graduate students out there, here's a handy guide to what those speakers are really saying.

Electile Dysfunction
22 October 2010
Over tea, our columnist considers what the congressional elections might mean for the prospects of science and scientists.

Don't Worry, I'm (Un)Professional--A Guide to Your Laboratory Colleagues
24 September 2010
Our Experimental Error columnist asks,“Who are the people in your fume hood?”

All That Glitters Is All We Remember
27 August 2010
Why are we most fascinated by the irrelevant aspects of science?

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