The Mismeasure of Science

The Radical-Free Corner | Gregory A. PetskoThe Mismeasure of Science

by Gregory A. Petsko

This article is reproduced from the IUBMB News, issue 1 (February 2016), with kind permissions of the author and IUBMB (Dr. Michael P. Walsh, Secretary General). Dr. Petsko is Adjunct Professor at Cornell University, a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and a former president of the American Society for Biochemistry and Cell Biology (among many other positions). His research provided major contributions for understanding structure-function relations of proteins, including many related to neurodegenerative diseases (Ed. Note)

High on my list of things that need changing in the culture of science today – and it’s a list that gets longer by the


The importance of a good laboratory Notebook

Thomas Edison

Contributed by Paolo Di Mascio

A good scientist knows the importance of keeping all experimental records very well organized. Keeping a good laboratory notebook (LNB) is essential at the time of writing papers and reports, but can also save your time when repetitions are necessary some time later. In fact, this is a practice adopted in various industries where, by legislation, the laboratory procedure must be well documented.

LNBs are, also, important as legal documents to prove patents and defend your data against accusations of fraud. LNB is a Scientific Legacy in the laboratory of your Institution.

Currently, you can also keep an electronic LNB, but in those


What is in a mechanism?

Francisco R. M. Laurindo
Vascular Biology Laboratory, Incor
University of São Paulo Medical School

If you care about science, you care about mechanisms. Or at least you should, if you care about doing good science. More than ever, there is a wide consensus that the quality of science is as good as the depth of mechanistic insights it carries. Powerful mechanisms appear everywhere: in articles from top journals, in discussions with good scientists, in decisions about grant priorities, academic career, etc. This is also uncomfortably felt in the rejection letters one gets nowadays, in which the lack of sufficient mechanistic insights is a chief reason for not achieving a high-impact publication


A radical-free talk about the scientific career: 3 Ds that allow for an E

by Francisco Laurindo

Can professionalism be learned? Certainly, to some extent, but likely not in the way you learn Chemistry or Biology, for example. But you can – and you should – discuss it, in order to trigger further thoughts that can help to achieve personal improvement. This is the idea of this short essay, derived from lectures given at our annual retreats over the years. While written with the young student in mind, I think it fits other ages as well… It should not be read rationally, but emotionally, just like it was written.

A general feeling among scientists is that science is not for everyone and that the scientific career is unusual in many aspects. To a good extent