Some links I found interesting since the last time… partly older stuff, though.


Again Links Only

Although I hope I can post something more substantial next week, but do not want to promise what I may not be able to keep…

Organic solar cells:

Science Management and Marketing:

Other Stuff:

German physical society (DPG) spring meeting in Berlin is still ongoing, although I had to leave already. 6000 (mostly german) physicists on the TU Berlin Campus, nice place to be!

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and nothing else.


Global warming:

  • Climate sceptics on the go, via /.: Don’t Worry About Global Warming, Say 16 Scientists in the WSJ; I am no climate scientist, but what I read usually points in the other direction… at least judging from most scientists with peer reviewed publications in contrast to non-peer reviewed “scientists”. Nevertheless, the scientists cited above seem to be real ones, although (mostly?) not with scientific background related to the global climate
  • we have a similar discussion here in Germany, with RWE manager Fritz Vahrenholt writing a book trying to confute evidence of global warming, relating any temperature change to the solar activity: summary by Die Zeit (german, google translate) and an article (again Die Zeit) by Toralf Staud, refuting the seven main theses of Vahrenholt ( german, google translate).

Other stuff:


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This and that

Kid is growing, lack of sleep makes euphoric, but less time is less time;-)

The 2010 impact factors were just released by Thomson Reuters, Sunset at Ammerseeas most of you will know due to the mails sent by almost all publishers to tell about recent boosts of impact for their journals. A sober post was written by Jörg Heber, editor of Nature materials. A brief quote

So what use is the impact factor number? Well, being cynical one could say it is a quick measure for those that don’t read the journals but still want to know how good they are on average. The danger is of course that this is then used as a kind of metric to assess the quality of research or to decide on the career of researchers.

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Publish like a pro

Today, I saw the article Publish like a pro by Kendall Powell in Nature. Some tips on how to write:

  • You are only as good as your last paper – previous success does not guarantee future acceptance.Walking to Schloss Burg
  • You’ve got to hook the editor with the abstract.
  • Don’t delete those files. Keep every version. You never know what aspect you can use for some other piece of writing.
  • Writing is an amazingly long learning curve. many authors say that they’re still getting better as a writer after several decades.
  • The most significant work is improved by subtraction. Keeping the clutter away allows a central message to be communicated with a broader impact.
  • Write every day if possible.
  • once you’ve written what you wanted to convey, end it there.

These go hand in hand with this earlier post, although Kendall’s article does not stop there. Therefore, read it!

Personally, what I need for writing is a quiet, non-distracting environment with the internet switched off.

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“Notable Quotables”

Via Scott Berkun, a nice 2007 article by Louis Menand in the New Yorker:

Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Sea LionNeither Ingrid Bergman nor anyone else in “Casablanca” says “Play it again, Sam”; Leo Durocher did not say “Nice guys finish last”; Vince Lombardi did say “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” quite often, but he got the line from someone else. Patrick Henry almost certainly did not say “Give me liberty, or give me death!”; William Tecumseh Sherman never wrote the words “War is hell”; and there is no evidence that Horace Greeley said “Go west, young man.” Marie Antoinette did not say “Let them eat cake”; Hermann Göring did not say “When I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my gun”; and Muhammad Ali did not say “No Vietcong ever called me nigger.”

In order to have one that was said – Daniel Patrick Moynihan:

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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Several people speaking

Adding to my selection of sayings (previously here, here and here;-) Not always very deep, but mostly quite nice.

Stanford University
Jack London:

You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.

William Gibson:

The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.

Niels Bohr:

I try never to write more clearly than I am able to think.

John von Neumann:

There is no sense in being precise when you don’t even know what you are talking about.

Henry Ford:

If I’d listened to customers, I’d have given them a faster horse.

Peter Drucker:

What everybody knows is frequently wrong.

Do not believe that it is very much of an advance to do the unnecessary three times as fast.

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MRS Spring Meeting 2010… already over

Last week, the MRS Spring Meeting took place in San Francisco. It was my first time there, but certainly not the last! ruffled feathersI enjoyed it immensely, despite my extensive last minute preparations of the talk I was invited to give… another first timer for me (on an international conference). In case you are interested, find the slides on scribd. Prof. Venkateswara Bommisetty, one of the organisers of the GG symposium told me that the slides of invited talks will also be made available (if the authors agree).

Many interesting talks, too many to go into more detail in the given time!;-) Anyway, it was nice to meet Alex (glidera) and his colleague Bertrand in person, and spend time with Andy B and Tom!

It was difficult (if not impossible) to agree with Alan Heeger and Robert Street on their propositions that monomolecular recombination is the limiting factor for organic bulk heterojunction solar cells at short circuit current under one sun illumination. Thus, despite both of them being well-known and highly respected, I allow myself to express my strong belief (supported by transient experiments and macroscopic simulations;-) that bimolecular polaron recombination is the dominant loss mechanism for free polarons, instead of monomolecular polaron recombination. Maybe more on this later.

During the conference, and featured in the talk of Karl Leo, Heliatek announced another efficiency record for small molecule solar cells, enhancing their recent achievements to now 7.7% certified efficiency for a tandem cell with 1.1cm2. Again, my congratulations, great stuff!
Continue reading “MRS Spring Meeting 2010… already over”

Publications – Wind of change?

Via Die Zeit and Nature:
The DFG, Germany’s main funding agency, just put down new guidelines for proposals. Starting in July, the proposals should contain only two directly relevant publications per year of requested funding, as well as up to five other papers (presumably the most important ones) covering the researcher’s general background. Matthias Kleiner, DFG president:

It is quality, not quantity, which matters.

Good point. Nevertheless, although the publish and perish mentality lately became quite tiring, I wonder if (how quickly) these new conditions will change the mentality of the researchers in general, and in particular the ones who are reviewing the proposals and are sitting in the committees for professorship appointment;-)

[Update 25.2.2010] Find the original DFG statement here (pdf, german).

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Science talking vs doing – and status

There is an interesting post on The Scholarly Kitchen on Talking About Science vs. Doing Science, a critical view on Web 2.0 for Scientists.

Every second spent blogging, chatting on FriendFeed, or leaving comments on a PLoS paper is a second taken away from other activities. Those other activities have direct rewards towards advancement.

Actually, this is one of the reasons for the low activity in recent months: I just do not have time for the blog right now – I believe I can write again end of March or so. Nevertheless, I am active, having written proposals (1 won, 1 open) as well as two review-like papers. One of them is on Organic Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells, the other on the Role of the Charge Transfer State for Organic Photovoltaics. Writing a third one right now… Once they are published (if they ever are), I will link to them. You are likely to find some figures etc familiar from the blog… and finally something to properly reference :-)

[Update 25th March 2010] 2nd proposal won as well;-) Also, the CT review was accepted by Adv Mater: if you are interested in the preprint, drop me a line.

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