- At his website The Edge, pop-science literature agent John Brockman compiles every year answers by scientists and writers to one "big question". This year's question is WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT? WHY?, and it's very interesting to read through the answers by people with backgrounds ranging from physics over neuroscience to sociology and political science. See at Cosmic Variance for a few selected answers.
- Evaluating everything in numbers may be a controller's dream, but I am less sure about what to think about Bruce Knuteson's "Quantitative Measure of Experimental Scientific Merit" (arXiv:0712.3572v1). Building on Shannon's information entropy, Knuteson proposes a formula expressing the value of an experimental result by "how surprised you are that the particular result has been obtained", and applies his ansatz to experiments in particle physics over the last 35 years. The Collider Blog and Charm and Co are cautious about this measure of scientific merit - and indeed, it's not very well suited to evaluate the merit of precision experiments which, while maybe not very surprising, are nevertheless essential to solidify the trust we have in our theories.
- Chanda let us know of the 2008 joint annual meeting of the National Society for Black Physicists (NSBP) and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), in Washington (DC, USA) on February 20-24, 2008. Additional information on the program can be found at the NSBP web site.
- And, on a personal note, we were just informed that Sabine's post The Marketplace of Ideas made it into the second Science Blogging Anthology "Open Laboratory 2007". Yeah!
A Happy New Year to all of you!