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Next Wave's Best of 2005

For science itself, the year 2005 had its share of headline-grabbing triumphs and controversies, but for scientists and science trainees planning their careers, the year offered mostly more of the same: the usual job-market uncertainties, a continuing scramble for research funds (which during the year became increasingly scarce), and more studies by important policy bodies aimed at increasing the number of scientists our nations produce.

During 2005, Science's Next Wave also offered more of the same: the same insights into career opportunities for scientists, in and out of the academic world and sometimes out of science itself. And, as usual, we provided practical tips for training in and practicing academic and industrial science, offered up by fellow young scientists and more experienced hands.

But at Science's Next Wave, 2005 was also a year of change. During the year, we merged with our cousins at and launched a new Web site with redesigned pages and improved navigation. And in the process our job-descriptions also changed: we became the editors not just of Science's Next Wave, but also of 2005 also saw the opening up of all our pages to all visitors with the elimination of paid subscriptions. It was a year of change in other respects as well: We said goodbye to popular postdoc columnist Phil Dee and hello to Irene S. Levine, whose Mind Matters column addresses common--and sometimes troubling--questions about coping with stress and its work-related causes.

As in past years, Next Wave’s editors have chosen what they consider the most illuminating and useful articles from the past year, which you will find listed and linked below. The list offers an array of fascinating personal stories, invaluable career-building tools, and unvarnished perspectives on the status of scientific careers, in general and specific.

A fresh year is always a good time for optimism. 2005 has not been a great year, but the future may provide new and better opportunities for scientists: a U. S. congressional initiative seems to have gotten most things right, proposing a big increase in funding for the National Science Foundation, new incentives for private-sector research, and some new scientific training opportunities. While it’s up to government and industry to provide the resources, it's up to you to work hard and smart. We at Next Wave--and to do a better job than ever at providing the tools and information you need to fulfill your scientific potential, no matter what career you choose.

Community College Students - An Untapped Source of Future Scientists
Thomas Landefeld, 14 January 2005
Thomas Landefeld (left), Associate Dean at California State University, Dominguez Hills, encourages administrators at four-year institutions to recruit more community college science students.

Science on Ice
Andrew Fazekas, 21 January 2005
The Canadian polar science community is currently gearing up for International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008. Next Wave takes a look at the details of Canada's involvement and the current call for pre-proposals for research projects.

French Postdocs Abroad - Finding Your Way Home
Elisabeth Pain, 4 February 2005
Going abroad is often a good career move when you are training to be a scientist. But as French postdocs are finding out, it is rather difficult to come back home. Next Wave speaks to two French postdocs who've left France for the US and Japan about a recent initiative that gives them support.

Frontiers of Physics: Feature Index
Jim Austin, 11 February 2005
Next Wave profiles several young physicists. Einstein, who we celebrate today, did not emerge, with a flawless pedigree, from one of the established labs or training programs of the time. So where will the next Einstein come from?

"We're Doing Just Fine"
Clinton Parks, 11 February 2005
Theoretical physicist Jim Gates notes, "Before, jazz musicians would say, 'We're doing just fine. We have this wonderful art form here.' And that's what's lost when people with different inputs don't participate in science. We may miss the opportunity to create jazz."

Cutting the Gender Scissors
Dick van Vlooten, 11 February 2005
Networking expert Dick van Vlooten addresses the gender issue: more men end up in higher positions in science than women. He discusses the causes for this gender scissors, but - more importantly - gives you tips to work your way around this trend.

Hiza Redsteer, once a single mother on welfare, became a graduate geologist and role model for young Native American scientists.(18 March 2005, credit: Klara Kelley)

A Scientist as a Knowledge Agent
Anne Forde, 11 March 2005
Up to doctoral level, Alex Lewis was a geosciences researcher but she now works for the UK government's Defense Science and Technology Laboratory as a "Knowledge Agent"

Careers in National Cyber Security - The Good Guys Against the Darknet
Alan Kotok, 11 March 2005
Scientists and engineers interested in a career in national cyber security -- protection of the nation's information infrastructure -- will find plenty of opportunities, complete with funding.

Margaret Hiza Redsteer: Passing on Goodwill
Anne Sasso, 18 March 2005
Margaret Hiza Redsteer, a Native American geologist with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Flagstaff, Arizona, had to endure many hardships on her way to becoming a scientist.

A Volcanologist's Vista
Anne Forde, 8 April 2005
Cambridge University volcano researcher, Tamsin Mather (left) talks to Next Wave about her research, and her field work in the exotic locations of Chile, Nicaragua, and Italy.

Life on the Edge - Adventures of an Extremophilic Scientist
Andrew Fazekas, 8 April 2005
Next Wave talks to Canadian paleogeologist Darlene Lim, a postdoc with NASA, who has conducted Mars-analog research at both Poles and the Atacama Desert in Chile.

Views from the Trenches
Anne Forde and Elisabeth Pain, 15 April 2005
Scientists making the transition from postdoc to independent investigator, with the help of prestigious fellowships or grants, relate their experiences - and offer some advice.

Researchers Charter: A Paradigm Leap?
Anne Forde, 22 April 2005
The European Commission has published its recommendation: "The European Charter for Researchers and on a Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers"; was it needed and can it make any difference?

Not Your Father's Postdoc
Beryl Benderly, 29 April 2005
In today's scientific labor market, just doing good science is no longer enough. Postdocs need realistic expectations, good information and an entrepreneurial attitude toward their careers. [Joint Next Wave/Science Careers special appearing in Science magazine.]

Survival Secrets of Freelance Writers
Andrew Fazekas, 20 May 2005
Earning a living as an independent science writer takes discipline and perseverance. Next Wave editor Andrew Fazekas joins a select group of writers in offering some friendly advice on surviving the hectic world of freelancing.

Science Writing: What are the Markets?
Anne Forde, 20 May 2005
Media interest in science is widespread and niches exist in everything from newspapers to books to internal company reports. What strategies do the seasoned professionals Next Wave spoke to recommend for budding science writers?

Darlene Lim, a postdoc with NASA, takes science to the edge (8 April 2005).

Standing in the Welfare Line
Phil Dee, 27 May 2005
Phil is haunted by the thought of failure, and faces up to the harsh or is it not-so-harsh reality of the first weeks as an out-of-work scientist.

Tooling Up - Time for an Attitude Adjustment?
Dave Jensen, 17 June 2005
Dave Jensen says if you'll take a chance and adopt a more positive mindset, you'll stand a much better chance of ending up in the ranks of the seriously employed.

DARPA Changes Reverberate in the Computer Science World
Jim Kling, 24 June 2005
Changes in the priorities of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA's) priorities have led to a serious decrease in funding for basic computer science research.

Take Charge of Your Ph.D. Training
Martin Farias, 1 July 2005
Martin Farias, a senior fellow in the Department of Physiology at Louisiana State University Health Science Center, gives pointers on how to be successful in graduate school.

The Toolkit - Quick 'n Dirty Pedagogy
Rachel Austin, 8 July 2005
In this latest addition to our Academic Scientist's Toolkit, we provide a short, non-technical introduction to the basics of college-level science pedagogy and some tips to help you find your way through the maze.

On Balance
Irene S. Levine, 22 July 2005
Do you find it hard to end the work day? Do you neglect or feel like you are missing out on other aspects of life? Our Mind Matters expert looks at how difficult it is for scientists to maintain a balance between work and the rest of your life, and offer solutions.

Keeping Both Academia and Industry on the Go
Elisabeth Pain, 29 July 2005
An Italian scientist in Barcelona, Luigi Ceccaroni (left) talks about how the academic and industrial worlds may both complement and exclude each other, and how diversifying scientific activities can offer more hectic but perhaps less risky career path.

Mitigating Disasters
Robin Arnette, 12 August 2005
David Bradt, a disaster epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, ensures that the health needs of people in disaster-stricken areas are assessed and met.

Speaking the Language of Computers
Charles Choi, 2 September 2005
Ryan Harrison, a recent high school graduate of the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute won fifth place in the 2005 Intel Science Talent Search for his modification of Rosetta, a computational molecular modeling program.

Wanted - More Commercial Awareness for the Biotech Industry
Albert Michels, 9 September 2005
Albert Michels talks to different European biotech industry stakeholders to get an insight into biotech R&D jobs for young scientists, and the nature of industrial research.

Changing the Culture of Math
Edna Francisco, 16 September 2005
Since 1998 the Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education Program has helped women (2005 group pictured right), especially those from underrepresented groups, enter graduate studies in mathematics.

Young Scientists in Spain Want More Forward-looking Action
Elisabeth Pain, 30 September 2005
The five-year Ramón y Cajal research contracts were launched by the Spanish government in 2001 to give young scientists much needed opportunities within academic research. But for many of those who are now reaching the end of their contract, there still is no permanent position in sight.

A Career Eureka Moment
Anne Forde, 7 October 2005
One day in the mid-1990s, Linda Ko-Ferrigno was browsing through Next Wave and came across an article on making a transition into science journalism. It was, she says, a eureka moment. Nearly a decade later, Ko-Ferrigno explains how she made her own transition ... and how Next Wave helped.

United States: Two Scientists and a Baby
Jim Austin, 21 October 2005
If you trust the conventional wisdom, Amy Palmer and Alexis Templeton did a lot of things wrong in their job search. Then why did things turn out so right?

Cynthia Robbins-Roth: Surviving the Crash
Jim Kling, 28 October 2005
Cynthia Robbins-Roth began her career as one of Genentech's first research scientists, and propelled herself still higher, before crashing--literally--to earth. Today, like the biotech industry, she is poised to face the challenges ahead.

Investigating the Neural and Vascular Consequences of Stroke
Robin Arnette, 4 November 2005
Byron Ford, an associate professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta has a varied background - biology, biochemistry, cardiology, and neuroscience - enabling him to carve out a niche in the world of stroke research.

The GrantDoctor – Back to Funding Basics
GrantDoctor, 11 November 2005
The GrantDoctor reviews some of the basic principles of good grantsmanship

Industry Insider - The European Steel Industry, A Phoenix Rising from the Ashes
Albert Michels, 18 November 2005
After a severe recession, the European steel industry has recently undergone a major restructuring, and today this a high-tech material steel industry that replaces the classical one. However the old image of the industry has been putting off many science students, and the industry is now desperately seeking young researchers to fill in their state-of-the-art research labs.

A Non-Traditional Science Postdoc
M. A. Guinnee, 2 December 2005
Postdoctoral positions that combine scientific research and public service, says postdoc Meghan Guinnee, are good for science and the public.

Piecing Together the Past
Robin Arnette, 9 December 2005
Anthropologist Rachel Watkins (left) pieces together what life was like for a group of people living in a particular time and place.

Job Talk Jitters
Dave Jensen, 16 December 2005
When giving a job talk to an industrial employer, remember that you--and not your science--are the product the company is thinking about investing in.

Educated Woman--Chapter 46: Episodes in Crisis Management
Micella Phoenix DeWhyse, 23 December 2005
Micella deals with the latest crisis to hit her department--the voluntary departure of two fellow graduate students.

Alan Kotok is Managing Editor of