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Monday, March 18, 2019

We talk of artistic inspiration all the time – what about scientific inspiration? | Science - Firstpost

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Photo: Tom McLeish
Tom McLeish, Professor of Natural Philosophy in the Department of Physics at the University of York argues, I don’t know why it took so long to dawn on me – after 20 years of a scientific career – that what we call the "scientific method" really only refers the second half of any scientific story.

Where's the poetry and music of science.
Photo: courtesy Catholic University of Brazil
It describes how we test and refine the ideas and hypotheses we have about nature through the engagement of experiment or observation and theoretical ideas and models.

But something must happen before this. All of this process rests upon the vital, essential, precious ability to conceive of those ideas in the first place. And, sadly, we talk very little about this creative core of science: the imagining of what the unseen structures in the world might be like.

We need to be more open about it. I have been repeatedly saddened by hearing from school students that they were put off science "because there seemed no room there for my own creativity".

What on earth have we done to leave this formulaic impression of how science works?...

Science and poetry The 20th century biologist Peter Medawar was one of the few recent writers to discuss the role of creativity in science at all. He claimed that we are quietly embarrassed about it, because the imaginative phase of science possesses no "method" at all.

In his 1982 book Pluto’s Republic he points out:
The weakness of the hypothetico-deductive system, in so far as it might profess to cover a complete account of the scientific process, lies in its disclaiming any power to explain how hypotheses come into being.
Medawar is equally critical of glib comparisons of scientific creativity to the sources of artistic inspiration...

I read past accounts of creation in mathematics (Poincaré is very good), novel-writing (Henry James wrote a book about it), art (from Picasso to my Yorkshire friend, the artist late Graeme Willson), and participated in a two-day workshop in Cambridge on creativity with physicists and cosmologists. Philosophy, from medieval to 20th-century phenomenology, has quite a lot to add...

In my resulting book – The Poetry and Music of Science – I try to make sense of why science’s imaginative and creative core is so hidden, and how to bring it into the light. It’s not the book I first imagined – it just wouldn’t permit a structure of separate accounts of scientific and artistic creativity. Their entanglements run too deep for that.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

The Poetry and Music of Science: Comparing Creativity in Science and Art by
Tom McLeish, Professor of Natural Philosophy.
Source: Firstpost

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7 tips for navigating the shift to open educational resources | K-12 - EdScoop News

Moving from traditional textbooks to open educational resources can improve accessibility to information and save students millions, reports Stacey Pusey, EdScoop. 

Photo: Getty Images
But a speaker in a recent webinar hosted by say there are a few considerations administrators should keep in mind as they take on the shift to OER.

Michael Nelson, director of curriculum and assessments for Coeur d’Alene Public Schools in Idaho, says his schools are shifting to an OER environment as part of their overall plans to improve individual student achievement. He noted a few key lessons he’s learned so far:

Source: EdScoop News

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Five golden rules for effective mentoring | Develop - TrainingZone

Mentoring schemes are increasing in popularity, with that in mind Julia Wilkinson, Principal Consultant at OnTrack International highlights, the need for a more structured process to match the right people together.

Photo: Anchiy/iStock
The idea of using a wooden horse to break the siege of Troy reputedly came from Odysseus, king of the Greeks and hero of Homer’s epic poem the Odyssey.

Before leaving for the Trojan War, Odysseus asked a loyal friend to guide, teach and look after his son. That friend was Mentor - and his name has since become synonymous with a wise and trusted advisor who helps a less experienced protégé to learn, develop and grow.

The growth of mentoring schemes 
Mentoring schemes have subsequently been introduced in many organisations to support formal graduate development and talent management programmes and to informally develop first-line managers and high flyers.

Subject matter experts who lack emotional intelligence can also be mentored to help them communicate, influence and empathise with others...

The advantages of mentoring
The great advantage of mentoring is that it offers something very different from traditional learning. It can result in new thinking, broader awareness, enhanced self confidence, skills development, focused improvement and access to a wider network. 


Source: TrainingZone

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Fresno State hosts 'Mathematics Day' to inspire female students | Math - KFSN-TV

Organizers say they want to encourage girls to consider jobs in mathematics and related fields, continues KFSN-TV.

Dozens of female students are taking math by storm.

On Saturday, the university's department of mathematics had high school and middle school female students interested in math participate in a daylong program with interactive mathematics activities.

Source: KFSN-TV

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Decoded: What causes 'maths anxiety' in school kids | Lifestyle - IOL

Is your daughter more anxious over maths than your son? Blame gendered stereotypes about mathematics as well as anxiety of both teachers and parents, finds a study.

Photo: Pixabay
While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from cognitive difficulties. Many children and adults experience feelings of anxiety, apprehension, tension or discomfort when confronted with a maths problem.

The study, led by researchers from the University of Cambridge, showed that maths anxiety is seen more in girls than boys. The gender gap stems from the gendered stereotypes about the ability to crack maths...

In a sample of 1000 Italian students, the team found that girls in both primary and secondary school had higher levels of both maths anxiety and general anxiety. 
Read more... 

Source: IOL

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Ultimate Social Media Marketing Guide | eBook - Sysomos

Look ahead to the trends you can expect during 2019. 

Whether social media is your main job, or if it’s just another hat you wear as a do-everything marketer, this guide will help you do it better.

This eBook covers everything you need to know about the current state of social media marketing.
Social media keeps getting more powerful for marketers, and more complex.

You’ll learn which platforms are the most important, and how to get the most value from them by picking the tactics that are proven do deliver the best results .
Get It Now

Source: Sysomos

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In Aristotle’s Garden, NY Professor Finds Philosophy, Too | The National Herald

As he perused the ancient site of Aristotle’s Lyceum, opened to the public only in 2014 after being excavated in 1996, Simon Critchley, English philosopher who is a professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, said he was most struck by its garden.

Arisotle's Lyceum is the scene of the ancient site of learning established by the famed philosopher.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Joyofmuseums
It’s located between the National Garden in Syntagma Square in the Greek capital and the nearby Athens Hilton, a prime spot not so far from under the towering Mt. Lycabettus, but while just off a busy thoroughfare, in its day it was a place for learning, walking and contemplation.

Modeled exactly after Plato’s Academy, but on a much bigger scale, the Lyceum was endowed primarily with what was then a fortune given him by one his most famous student, Alexander the Great, also the Grateful for having been taught by the famed philosopher.
“Aristotle’s endowment allowed him to build a huge research and teaching facility and amass the largest and most important library in the world … there were as many as 2,000 pupils at the Lyceum, some of them sleeping in dormitories. The Lyceum was clearly the place to be, the educational destination of choice for the elites,” Critchley wrote for The New York Times...

Disliked by the Athenians for his ties to Macedonia, when Alexander died in 323 B.C.E in Babylon, Aristotle, knowing the fate of Socrates, gave up his Lyceum and garden, saying, “I will not allow the Athenians to sin twice against philosophy,” wen to his mother’s estate on the island of Euboea and died at 63. The garden’s still alive.

Source: The National Herald

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Suggested Books of the Week 11, 2019 | Books - Helge Scherlund's eLearning News

Check out these books below by Cambridge University Press and Ancient Origins.

Data-Driven Science and Engineering - Machine Learning, Dynamical Systems, and Control

Data-Driven Science and Engineering
Machine Learning, Dynamical Systems, and Control
Data-driven discovery is revolutionizing the modeling, prediction, and control of complex systems. This textbook brings together machine learning, engineering mathematics, and mathematical physics to integrate modeling and control of dynamical systems with modern methods in data science...

Aimed at advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students in the engineering and physical sciences, the text presents a range of topics and methods from introductory to state of the art.
  • Provides in-depth examples paired with comprehensive, open-source code
  • Features concise, digestible explanations of complex concepts and their applications
  • Includes extensive online supplements with homeworks, case studies, and supplementary code

Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930–1933 - From the Notes of G. E. Moore 

Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930–1933 
From the Notes of G. E. Moore
This edition of G. E. Moore's notes taken at Wittgenstein's seminal Cambridge lectures in the early 1930s provides, for the first time, an almost verbatim record of those classes. The presentation of the notes is both accessible and faithful to their original manuscripts, and a comprehensive introduction and synoptic table of contents provide the reader with essential contextual information and summaries of the topics in each lecture...

The volume also includes a 1932 essay by Moore critiquing Wittgenstein's conception of grammar, together with Wittgenstein's response. A companion website offers access to images of the entire set of source manuscripts.
  • Provides an accurate and transparent record of Wittgenstein's early years as a lecturer at Cambridge
  • Includes topics little discussed elsewhere in Wittgenstein's writing, offering a new approach to his later thought
  • A companion website features pictures of the source manuscripts

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit 

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel:  
The Phenomenology of Spirit
Hegel's The Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is one of the most influential texts in the history of modern philosophy...

This edition offers a new translation, an introduction, and glossaries to assist readers' understanding of this central text, and will be essential for scholars and students of Hegel.
  • A new English translation of Hegel's most influential text, rendering its technical terminology accurately and consistently
  • Includes an introduction to provide context for the work and its translation, and a two-way glossary to enable readers to compare German and English terms
  • This early nineteenth-century text proposed a radical picture of the relation of mind to world and of people to each other, and was key to the formation of later philosophies

The Cambridge Handbook of Cognition and Education 

The Cambridge Handbook of Cognition and Education
This Handbook reviews a wealth of research in cognitive and educational psychology that investigates how to enhance learning and instruction to aid students struggling to learn and to advise teachers on how best to support student learning...

It is the ideal resource for researchers continuing their study of this field or for those only now beginning to explore how to improve student achievement.
  • Showcases the strength of evidence on how to improve various aspects of education
  • Each chapter offers ideas on where each field should go next so as to inform education practices
  • Supplies an overview of the origins of each field and where it will be moving in the future
  • Scientists, instructors, and students will find the chapters accessible, easy to read, and informative

Probability: A Lively Introduction 

A Lively Introduction
Probability has applications in many areas of modern science, not to mention in our daily life...

It covers all of the standard material for undergraduate and first-year-graduate-level courses as well as many topics that are usually not found in standard texts, such as Bayesian inference, Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation, and Chernoff bounds.
  • Stresses why probability is so relevant and how to apply it - students won't simply learn probability, they will understand it
  • Perfectly balances theory and applications - the fundamental concepts are explained with engaging real-world examples and many problem-solving tips are provided
  • Includes more than 750 problems with detailed solutions of the odd-numbered problems - students will build up confidence in their own problem-solving skills

Principles of Database Management - The Practical Guide to Storing, Managing and Analyzing Big and Small Data

Principles of Database Management
The Practical Guide to Storing,
Managing and Analyzing Big and Small Data

This comprehensive textbook teaches the fundamentals of database design, modeling, systems, data storage, and the evolving world of data warehousing, governance and more. Written by experienced educators and experts in big data, analytics, data quality, and data integration, it provides an up-to-date approach to database management...

This combined learning approach connects key concepts throughout the text to the important, practical tools to get started in database management.
  • Contains extensive coverage of key trending topics, including data warehousing, data integration, data quality, data governance, Big Data, and analytics
  • Provides embedded state of the art research, including chapters on data integration, quality, and governance and analytics, which allows students to learn critical analysis of new developments in the field
  • Presents comprehensive coverage of database management fundamentals with a well-balanced theory-practice focus

The Cambridge Handbook of Wisdom

The Cambridge Handbook of Wisdom

This is a comprehensive review of the psychological literature on wisdom by leading experts in the field. It covers the philosophical and sociocultural foundations of wisdom, and showcases the measurement and teaching of wisdom...

It takes both a basic-science and applied focus, making it useful to those seeking to understand wisdom scientifically, and to those who wish to apply their understanding of wisdom to their own work.
  • Provides a comprehensive review of the psychological literature on wisdom by top experts in the field
  • Includes virtually all of the major theories of wisdom, as well as the full range of research on wisdom as it is understood today
  • Will be useful to those seeking to understand wisdom scientifically, and to those who wish to apply their understanding of wisdom to their own work
  • Parents, teachers, and mentors who want to develop wisdom in others will have practical information about how to do it
  •
    Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya:
    The Ceremonies and Symbolism of a Living Tradition
    Transcendent Wisdom of the Maya: The Ceremonies and Symbolism of a Living Tradition

    An initiate’s inside account of ancient Maya spiritual practices alive today

• Includes a Foreword by José Luis Tigüilá NABÉ kaxbaltzij, spokesperson of the Maya municipality 
• Details the initiation process the author went through to become a Maya shaman-priestess, including rituals, prayers, and ceremonies 
• Explains the foundational spiritual wisdom of the Maya calendar as a living entity, its cycles of time, and the significance of “the counting of the days”, which helps keep time itself alive 
• Examines the power of dance and Maya ceremonies, Maya future-telling, and communication with ancestors through the sacred fire 

Offering an insider’s experiential account of ancient Maya spiritual wisdom and practices, initiated Maya shaman-priestess Gabriela Jurosz-Landa opens up the mysterious world of the Maya, dispelling the rampant misinformation about their beliefs and traditions, sharing the transcendent beauty of their ceremonies, and explaining the Maya understanding of time, foundational to their spiritual worldview and cosmology. 

The author, an anthropologist, details the initiation process she went through to become a Maya shaman-priestess in Guatemala, including rituals, prayers, the presence of numinous forces, and the transmission of sacred knowledge. 
Read more... 

Enjoy your reading day!  

Source: Cambridge University Press and Ancient Origins.

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Attraction + closeness = Love: Karnal professor becomes love guru to college girls in maths class | India Today

The girls could be heard laughing in the video when the professor was telling them the difference between friendship, attraction, crush and love, as India Today reports.  

A screengrab from the video shows assistant professor Charan Singh giving girls love lessons.
Teaching mathematics or getting the lessons may not be boring or difficult anymore if the subject is taught like assistant professor Charan Singh of a government college for women in Haryana's Karnal, who kicked off a controversy by giving love lessons in a maths class.

A video shot by first year B.Com students surfaced online in which Charan Singh was giving love lessons to the girls...

The professor then asked the students what will be the combination of 'closeness' and 'attraction', to which the girls answered 'love'.

The professor also gave the formula of 'romantic love' by adding friendship, closeness and attraction. He also said if a relationship lacks any of the factors amongst those three, the relationship is bound to fail.

Source: India Today

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Humble Pi by Matt Parker review – a comedy of maths errors | Science and nature books - The Guardian

Impossible footballs, skyscrapers that shake, the next Y2K-style bug – when maths goes wrong, explains Steven Poole, Writer and author. 

 Millenium bugged … bank customers withdraw funds on 23 December 1999.
Photo: Issouf Sanogo/EPA
You might think you have a phone number, but you don’t really. It’s not a number: you’re not going to perform any mathematical operations on it, and if it starts with a zero then things will go wrong if you do what you would normally do with a number that starts with zero, ie omit it. For this reason, as the “standup mathematician” Matt Parker explains with amusing pedantry, he would really rather we call them “phone digits”.

This is an innocent example of our general fuzziness about maths, where intuitions can go drastically awry. “As humans,” Parker notes for example, “we are not good at judging the size of large numbers.” A million seconds, he points out, is less than two weeks, but a billion seconds is 31 years. And even the mathematics of professionals can fail in critical situations, if our models of how things behave are incomplete. Before the Tacoma Narrows bridge in Washington State collapsed after twisting like a ribbon in the wind, no one had foreseen that kind of “flutter” feedback loop. No one imagined, either, that a single exercise class on one floor could make a whole skyscraper shake, as one did in South Korea in 2011. (The song playing, Snap’s “The Power”, encouraged people to jump up and down at a tempo that matched a resonant frequency of the building.) There may well remain other principles yet to be discovered as we make everything bigger and longer.

In the meantime, engineers continue to make mistakes as elementary as confusing units of measurement. Parker tells the alarming story, for instance, of a passenger jet on which both engines failed midflight because the fuel had been weighed in pounds rather than kilograms. (Luckily, the pilot was able to fly the plane down like a glider and land safely.)...

Computers, indeed, are a rich source of examples of when maths goes wrong. Databases, Parker points out, are only as good as the data entered into them, and bad data can be worse than none at all. Most pragmatically, he points to a multitude of real-world threats created by the widespread habit of using Microsoft’s Excel software as an ersatz database, rather than as a simple spreadsheet manager. A lot of cell biologists use Excel, he reports, which tends to cause problems because there are genes called MARCH5 and SEP15. Type those into Excel and it will helpfully translate them into dates.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

Humble Pi:  
A Comedy of Maths Errors
Source: The Guardian

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Friday, March 15, 2019

Rising to the 3 Minute Thesis challenge : Med e-News | Live 2019 - McGill Reporter

Faculty of Medicine students took home three of the five prizes at McGill’s at the 8th annual edition of the 3-Minute Thesis/Ma thèse en 180 secondes competition, held at Tanna Schulich Hall on Tuesday, March 12. This year’s winner in English was Zeinab Sharifi, PhD candidate in Experimental Medicine. Mariève Cyr, a Masters student in Psychiatry, won in the French language category. This year’s second prize winner was Will Joggia, Masters’ student in Microbiology and Immunology. 

From left to right: Zeinab Sharifi, English language winner; Ammar Alsheghri, People’s Choice Award; Mariève Cyr, French language winner; Marina Nguyen, 3rd place English; Will Joggia, 2nd place English

Graduate students boil down their research into three-minute presentations

No props. One take. One slide. Three minutes. The 3-Minute Thesis/Ma thèse en 180 secondes competition is the academic version of the elevator pitch. 

The 8th edition of 3MT was held at the Tanna Schulich Hall on Tuesday, March 12, from 2 – 4 pm before a crowd of some 150 people. Eighteen graduate students, nine women and nine men, presented years of research to a rapt and sympathetic audience in an entertaining and lively crash course on their respective research.

This year’s winner in English was Zeinab Sharifi, PhD candidate in Experimental Medicine. Mariève Cyr, a Masters student in Psychiatry, won in the French language category. The People’s Choice Award, selected by those present and watching online, went to Ammar Alsheghri, PhD candidate in Mining and Minerals Engineering...

Record participation and attendance 
In all, 11 PhD candidates, and seven Masters students took part in the final heat, whittled down from a record 104 McGill graduate students who entered the competition when it started last fall. Of the 18 finalists who presented 16 are studying in Science Technology Engineering and Medicine (STEM) subjects, and two are in Arts.

The numbers underline how 3MT/MT180 is really catching on at McGill. Dean Nalbantoglu  said that the first year of the competition saw 30 entrants, rising to 60 last year and up to 104 this year. Next year she expects an even larger number as word gets out about the extensive communications training offered to entrants.

Source: McGill Reporter

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AI and MRIs at birth can predict cognitive development at age 2 | Neuroscience - Neuroscience News

Summary: A deep learning model uses white matter connectomes generated from MRI images taken at birth to accurately predict an infant’s cognitive development at age two.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine used MRI brain scans and machine learning techniques at birth to predict cognitive development at age 2 years with 95 percent accuracy.

The study used an application of artificial intelligence called machine learning to look at white matter connections in the brain at birth and the ability of these connections to predict cognitive outcomes. The image is in the public domain.

"This prediction could help identify children at risk for poor cognitive development shortly after birth with high accuracy," said senior author John H. Gilmore, MD, Thad and Alice Eure Distinguished Professor of psychiatry and director of the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health. "For these children, an early intervention in the first year or so of life -- when cognitive development is happening -- could help improve outcomes. For example, in premature infants who are at risk, one could use imaging to see who could have problems."
The study, which was published online by the journal NeuroImage, used an application of artificial intelligence called machine learning to look at white matter connections in the brain at birth and the ability of these connections to predict cognitive outcomes...

Jessica B. Girault, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, is the study's lead author. UNC co-authors are Barbara D. Goldman, PhD, of UNC's Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, Juan C. Prieto, PhD, assistant professor, and Martin Styner, PhD, director of the Neuro Image Research and Analysis Laboratory in the department of psychiatry.
Read more...  

Journal Reference 
Jessica B. Girault, Brent C. Munsell, Danaële Puechmaille, Barbara D. Goldman, Juan C. Prieto, Martin Styner, John H. Gilmore. White matter connectomes at birth accurately predict cognitive abilities at age 2. NeuroImage, 2019; 192: 145 DOI:
Source: Neuroscience News

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The world's top 25 universities for civil engineering in 2019 ranked | Careers - Construction Week Online

Oscar Rousseau, deputy editor of Construction Week inform, From the UK to America and China to Australia, these are the top 25 schools to study civil engineering in the world.

The world's top 25 civil engineering universities have been revealed.
Photo:  Pixabay / Sttimm 

Civil engineering careers and salaries around the world are, to a great extent, decided on the basis of the candidate's alma mater, and the best university, courses, subjects, and qualifications can ensure you are in line to pick up the most attractive jobs on offer in the construction industry. 

But which college is the best to study civil engineering at, and how many years will it take you to become a certified civil engineer? Does your dream university even offer civil engineering courses? Construction Week answers some of these commonly asked questions in this exclusive article. 

In the following piece,  Construction Week rounds up the top 25 universities from around the world, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 for civil engineering.

The world's top 25 universities for civil engineering in 2019 are:

Source: Construction Week Online

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Indians strong in maths but falling behind in other key priorities: Report | Sci/Tech - THE WEEK

Indians strong in maths but require upskilling in many other key areas: Coursera.

Indians are strong in mathematics but need to be upskilled in other key areas such as business, technology and data science, online learning platform Coursera said in a report on Thursday.

The company in its Global Skill Index (GSI) found that 90 per cent of developing economies are falling behind or are at risk of falling behind in critical skills...

"Globally, India ranks 50 in business, 44 in technology, and 51 in data science, which signal a great opportunity for more focused upskilling efforts on key competencies," the report said.
Read more...  

Source: THE WEEK

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Young Alumnus Uses Math, Computer Skills to Help Keep Space Station Astronauts Safe | NASA - Ball State University News

Like a superhero, NASA mathematician Adam Mullins has an origin story, observes Nick Werner, contributing writer for Ball State Magazine.

While studying math and computer science at Ball State, Adam Mullins earned two internships at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. After graduation, he was offered a full-time job there as a risk analyst. During his first internship, Adam assessed spacesuits worn by astronauts when outside the International Space Station. Above, he poses with one such suit, adorned with a non-regulation neck scarf.
Photo: provided by Adam Mullins

And, like all good origin stories, Adam’s involves overcoming a time of intense suffering, followed by a period of reflection and then discovering his true identity.

For Adam, ’18, the story begins in Celina, Ohio. In seventh grade, school came easily, and with little effort. He didn’t take much of an interest in a particular subject though he earned high marks in all of them. Success had made him complacent.

Then, Adam developed a stomach ache.

After three days, the pain became too much. His mom drove him to the family doctor. In an examination room, the doctor pushed on his stomach. Adam screamed. It was determined his appendix had ruptured, requiring an emergency appendectomy. It was a painful surprise that steered him on a new life path — one that eventually led him to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Risky calculations 
Adam works for federal contractor ARES Corp. calculating risks involving NASA’s $150-billion International Space Station.

He hired on just a month after graduating with a major in math and a minor in computer science in Spring 2018...

His mentor, Associate Professor Dan Rutherford, suggested Adam apply to NASA for a Summer 2017 internship. Rutherford believed in his student — even if Adam wasn’t quite yet convinced. Far less prestigious organizations had already turned him down, “and you tell me to apply for NASA?” Adam remembers thinking.

“Adam was a little discouraged,” Rutherford said. “But I knew he was a good student from all the classes he had taken with me.”

Rutherford’s encouragement paid off one slow but fateful afternoon when Adam googled “NASA internships.” A half hour later, he was hitting the send button on his completed online application.

Source: Ball State University News

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Is there room for creative imagination in science? | Arts & Humanities / Music - OUPblog

Not just once, but repeatedly, I have heard something like “I just didn’t see in science any room for my own imagination or creativity,” from young students clearly able to succeed at any subject they set their minds to, says Tom McLeish, Professor of Natural Philosophy at York University.

It is a tragedy that so many people do not perceive science as a creative. Yet it doesn’t take an Einstein to observe that without that essential creative first step of re-imagining what might be going on behind a natural phenomenon, there can be no science at all.

Einstein had something to say on the matter. As he wrote in his book with Leopold Infeld, “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Every scientist knows this, but for two centuries we have been quiet about the imaginative first step of science, preferring stories that stress the empirical method or the logic of scientific discovery. Science education is full of it, focussing on final results, rather than the journeys toward them. Human stories of wonder, imagination, failed ideas, and glorious moments of illumination thread through the lives of all who actually do science. No wonder my young colleagues became disillusioned...

The project of listening to anyone who creates—be it with music or mathematics, oil paint or quantum theory—and the creative power of the constraints creators encounter, became a fascinating project.
A pattern of three modes of creative expression emerged...

As George Steiner wrote in his wonderful account of art and meaning, Real Presences: “Only art can go some way towards making accessible, towards waking into some measure of communicability, the sheer inhuman otherness of matter.” Precisely the same could be said of science.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

The Poetry and Music of Science: Comparing Creativity in Science and Art
by Tom McLeish.
Source: OUPblog

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Can a postgrad boost your career prospects? | Education - The Irish Times

Peter McGuire, Freelance journalist (The Irish Times) writes, Postgradstudents can earn a better salary and have stronger employment prospects.

Many postgrads work in full-time jobs and complete their studies in the evenings and at weekends.
Postgraduate courses are a big commitment. Whether one-year of full-time study or two years part-time, students have to invest significant energy and money in their course. But there’s fresh evidence that postgraduate students earn both a better salary and have stronger employment prospects than those with an undergraduate degree alone.

We spoke to two career experts about whether a postgraduate course can really boost your career prospects. Mary Hosty is a career guidance practitioner with over 20 years experience, and the founder of Laura Walshe is a trained guidance counsellor and social care practitioner offering career guidance in Dublin and Limerick and she runs

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Report examines origins and nature of 'math anxiety' | Mathematics - EurekAlert

A report out today examines the factors that influence 'maths anxiety' among primary and secondary school students, showing that teachers and parents may inadvertently play a role in a child's development of the condition, and that girls tend to be more affected than boys, as EurekAlert reports.

The report was funded by the Nuffield Foundation, with additional support from the James S McDonnell Foundation.

The UK is facing a maths crisis: according to a 2014 report from National Numeracy, four out of five adults have low functional mathematics skills compared to fewer than half of UK adults having low functional literacy levels.

While mathematics is often considered a hard subject, not all difficulties with the subject result from cognitive difficulties...

The researchers set out a number of recommendations in the report. These include the need for teachers to be conscious that an individual's maths anxiety likely affects their mathematics performance. Teachers and parents also need to be aware that their own maths anxiety might influence their students' or child's maths anxiety and that gendered stereotypes about mathematics suitability and ability might contribute to the gender gap in maths performance.

"Teachers, parents, brothers and sisters and classmates can all play a role in shaping a child's maths anxiety," adds co-author Dr Ros McLellan from the Faculty of Education. "Parents and teachers should also be mindful of how they may unwittingly contribute to a child's maths anxiety. Tackling their own anxieties and belief systems in maths might be the first step to helping their children or students."

The researchers say that as maths anxiety is present from a young age but may develop as the child grows, further research should be focused on how maths anxiety can be best remediated before any strong link with performance begins to emerge. 
Read more... 

Understanding Mathematics Anxiety: Investigating the experiences of UK primary and secondary school students. 14 March 2019.

Source: EurekAlert

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