Tag: research

How should we teach the fact that science is messy?

Susan Howitt and Anna Wilson have just published a very interesting opinion piece in the scientific journal EMBO Reports. It’s well worth reading.

Their piece is an update of a famous talk by Nobel laureate Peter Medawar, who asked the question: “Is the scientific paper a fraud?” — which is also well worth reading.

In actual fact the EMBO Reports piece is not much of an update because, as Howitt and Wilson observe, the sanitised version of science presented in scientific papers that Medawar complained of is still what usually gets published. As a result, students rarely get an insight into how science is really done: with much mess and failure along the way.

Publish and be praised

Congratulations are due to Dominic Swift, a biology student who has not only just graduated, but also become a published author.

Dominic’s account of his research into the effects of logging on primate populations, which was performed during the Uganda field-trip on the Tropical Biology course, has now appeared in Bioscience Horizons.

His supervisor, Prof Vincent Savolainen, is justifiably proud of Dominic’s work — as are we all.

If any other students have succeeded in publishing their results, please do let us know.