Scientists, institutions and journals have been increasingly evaluated statistically, by metrics that focus on the number of published reports rather than on their content, raising a concern that this approach interferes with the progress of biomedical research. To offset this effect, we propose to use the R-factor, a metric that indicates whether a report or its conclusions have been verified.
Hi Reddit, We’re Margaret Kosmala and Koen Hufkens at Harvard University and Josh Gray at Boston University. We’re part of a research group that has been putting automated cameras on weather towers and other elevated platforms to study the the seasonal timing of changes in plants, shrubs, and trees – called ‘phenology’. Because this timing of when plants leaf, flower, and fruit is very sensitive to changes in weather, plant phenology alerts us to changing climate patterns. Our network of about 300 cameras (’PhenoCams’) take pictures of vegetated landscapes every half hour, every day, all year round. (That’s a lot of pictures!) With the data from these images we can figure the relationships between plant phenology and local weather and then predict the effects of future climate using models. We also use images from satellites to broaden the extent of our analyses beyond the 300 specific sites where we have cameras. And we use citizen science to help turn our PhenoCam images into usable data, through our Season Spotter project. Anyone can go to Season Spotter and answer a few short questions about an image to help us better interpret the image. Right now we are running a “spring challenge” to classify 9,500 images of springtime. With the results, we will be able to pinpoint the first and last days of spring, which will help calibrate climate change models. UPDATE: We’re done with our Season Spotter spring images, thanks! Since it’s fall in half the world, we’ve loaded up our fall images. We have another 9,700 of those to classify, as well. We’ll be back at 1 pm EDT (10 am PDT, 6 pm UTC) to answer your questions; we’re looking forward to talking to you about climate change, plants, and public participation in science! UPDATE 1 pm Eastern: We’re now answering questions! UPDATE 3 pm Eastern: Josh has to leave for a meeting. But Koen and Margaret will stick around and answer some more questions. Ask away if you have more of them. UPDATE 5 pm Eastern: Koen and I are done for the day, and we’ve had a lot of fun. Thank you all for so many insightful and interesting questions! We’ll try to get to more of the ones we missed tomorrow.
Hi, I’m Adam Becker, PhD, an astrophysicist and science writer. My new book, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, is about the scientists who bucked the establishment and looked for a better way to understand what quantum mechanics is telling us about the nature of reality. It’s a history of quantum foundations from the initial development of quantum mechanics to the present, focusing on some people who don’t often get the spotlight in most books on quantum history: David Bohm, Hugh Everett III, John Bell, and the people who came after them (e.g. Clauser, Shimony, Zeh, Aspect). I’m happy to talk about all of their work: the physics, the history, the philosophy, and more. FWIW, I don’t subscribe to any particular interpretation, but I’m not a fan of the “Copenhagen interpretation” (which isn’t even a single coherent position anyhow). Please don’t shy away if you disagree. Feel free to throw whatever you’ve got at me, and let’s have a fun, engaging, and respectful conversation on one of the most contentious subjects in physics. Or just ask whatever else you want to ask—after all, this is AMA. Edit, 2PM Eastern: Gotta step away for a bit. I’ll be back in an hour or so to answer more questions. Edit, 6:25PM Eastern: Looks like I’ve answered all of your questions so far, but I’d be happy to answer more. I’ll check back in another couple of hours. Edit, 11:15PM Eastern: OK, I’m out for the night, but I’ll check in again tomorrow morning for any final questions.
The following is a short, possibly humorous essay providing two concrete ideas to increase reproducibility in science research. The two ideas are united under the notion of a “culture of reproducibility”. The first idea is hiring different kinds of professionals in the research ecosystem whose job is to ensure reproducibility and impact. The second idea is to require reproducibility risk-management plans in funding applications. Together, these actions are an investment into the infrastructure of research for increased impact and accountability, along with a stronger conception of reproducibility. It will also solve the world energy crisis for under half a million USD by June. No citation software was harmed in the production of this essay.
Contemporary scientific research faces major cultural and institutional hurdles. Some of the primary challenges include an exploding knowledge base and organizational complexity of many scientific projects, the overproduction of PhDs relative to the availability of faculty positions, and protracted educational trajectories for many aspiring researchers. Perhaps the most serious set of consequences caused by the fierce competition of modern science are low rates of reproducibility in research studies across many disciplines, a startling reality which undermines the scientific process and institutional authority itself. In an increasingly interconnected intellectual world, where fundamental and applied research are deeply interwoven, the implications of this state of affairs extend well beyond the research laboratory. In this article, I explore one possible strategy among the many necessary interventions for addressing these critical global issues, namely, new graduate programs to train scientific generalists. Rather than focus on developing niche technical skills, these programs would train outstanding communicators and decision makers who have been exposed to multiple subjects at the graduate level. The motivation for creating such programs is to introduce a large number of exceptionally trained individuals across all industries and organizations who have been encouraged to think critically about the practical realities and contemporary cultural trends of scientific research. I suggest possible avenues for structuring such programs and examine the roles that generalists might play in the modern research, policy, and industrial landscape.
A couple of quantum gravity theories were proposed to make theoretical predictions about the behavior of gravity. The most recent approach to quantum gravity, called E-theory, is proposed mathematical, but there is not formulated much about what dynamics of gravity this theory proposes. This research paper treats the main results of the application of E-theory to General relativity involving conservation laws and scattering of particles in presence of gravity. Also the low-energy limit of this theory is shown.
Differential geometry is a powerful tool in various branches of science, especially in theoretical physics. Ordinary differential geometry requires differentiable manifolds. This research paper shows how concepts of differential geometry can also be applied to pure topological spaces. Such a theory is based on concepts like cohomology theory. It allows to define a curvature operator also on pure topological spaces without connection. The main advantage of this theory is that the only required information about the topological spaces is the structure of these spaces. A formulation of quantum gravity is also possible with this theory.
Quantum theory has found that elementary particles in addition to the classic field quantity have also quantum-mechanical degree of freedom. This research paper defines another hypothetical intrinsic degree of freedom which has a topological nature. A topological quantum field theory is constructed to this hypothetical degree of freedom.
I’m Duncan Pritchard, Chancellor’s Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Irvine, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. I work mainly in epistemology. In my first book, Epistemic Luck, (Oxford UP, 2005), I argued for a distinctive methodology that I call anti-luck epistemology, and along the way offered a modal account of luck. In my second book, The Nature and Value of Knowledge: Three Investigations, (with A. Haddock & A. Millar), (Oxford UP, 2010), I expanded on anti-luck epistemology to offer a new theory of knowledge (anti-luck virtue epistemology), and also explained how knowledge relates to such cognate notions as understanding and cognitive achievement. I also discussed the topic of epistemic value. In my third book, Epistemological Disjunctivism, (Oxford UP, 2012), I defended a radical conception of perceptual knowledge, one that treats such knowledge as paradigmatically supported by reasons that are both rational and reflectively accessible. In my most recent book, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing, (Princeton UP, 2015), I offer an innovative response to the problem of radical scepticism. This argues that what looks like a single problem is in fact two logically distinct problems in disguise. Accordingly, I argue that we need a ‘biscopic’ resolution to scepticism that is suitably sensitive to each aspect of the sceptical difficulty. To this end I bring together two approaches to radical scepticism that have hitherto been thought to be competing, but which I argue are in fact complementary—viz., epistemological disjunctivism and a Wittgensteinian hinge epistemology. Right now I’m working on a new book on scepticism as part of Oxford UP’s ‘a very short introduction to’ series. I’m also developing my recent work on risk and luck, particularly with regard to epistemic risk, and I’m interested in ‘applied’ topics in epistemology, such as the epistemology of education, the epistemology of law, the epistemology of religious belief, and the epistemological implications of extended cognition. I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the online journal Oxford Bibliographies: Philosophy, and co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal International Journal for the Study of Skepticism. I am also the series editor of two book series, Palgrave Innovations in Philosophy and Brill Studies in Skepticism. I’ve edited a lot of volumes, and also written/edited several textbooks. On the latter front, see especially What is this Thing Called Philosophy?, (Routledge, 2015), Epistemology, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and What is this Thing Called Knowledge?, (Routledge, 4th ed. 2018). I’ve been involved with numerous MOOCs (= Massive Open Online Courses), including the ‘Introduction to Philosophy’ course which was for one time the world’s most popular MOOC. I’ve also been involved with a successful Philosophy in Prisons programme. I’ve led quite a few large externally funded projects, often of an interdisciplinary nature. Some highlights include a major AHRC-funded project (c. £510K) on Extended Knowledge, and two Templeton-funded projects, Philosophy, Science and Religion Online (c. £1.5M), and Intellectual Humility MOOC (c. £400K). In 2007 I was awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize and in 2011 I was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. In 2013 I delivered the annual Soochow Lectures in Philosophy in Taiwan. My Google Scholar Profile is here. If you want to know what will eventually cause my demise, click here. Links of Interest: I was recently interviewed by 3AM: Magazine Another recent interview, this time with the Italian online journal, APhEx (PDF) The Introduction to my latest monograph, Epistemic Angst: Radical Skepticism and the Groundlessness of Our Believing (Princeton UP, 2015) “Epistemological Disjunctivism: A First Pass”, the opening chapter to Epistemological Disjunctivism (Oxford UP, 2012) A fairly recent video of a talk I gave at a conference in Bonn that gives an overview of my stance on radical scepticism A fairly recent video of a talk on ‘Faith and Reason’ that I gave to a conference (aimed at a general audience) organized by the Royal Institute of Philosophy A ‘research in a nutshell’ video that I recorded a few years ago A recent blog post on ‘Intellectual Humility and Conviction’, for the Open For Debate Blog A recent blog post on ‘Farewell to Epistemic Angst’, for the Imperfect Cognitions Blog “The Value of Knowledge”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article EDIT: Thanks everyone for your questions! I apologise to all those I didn’t get to, and thanks to everyone for having me.
Hello Reddit! I’m Charles Day and I’m the editor-in- chief of Physics Today. The magazine goes out every month to the 100,000 members of the 10 professional societies that belong to the American Institute of Physics. We cover all of physics and its related sciences at a technical level that all physicists can understand. Physics Today also has a comprehensive website, which I encourage you to visit, and a thriving presence on social media. My main responsibilities as editor-in- chief include identifying topics and authors for our expert-written feature articles, editing news stories, writing a monthly editorial, and managing a team of 10 editors. Before I joined Physics Today I worked as an X-ray astronomer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, where helped to run two satellite observatories, ASCA and RXTE. I also studied the million-degree plasmas that swirl around black holes and neutron stars. I’m happy to answer questions about physics, science journalism, the impact of physics on society and the portrayal of physics in the media. I’ll start fielding questions at 1pm EST. AMA!