Karl Popper Speaking

From Wikiquote, after reading Scott Berkun. Not funny (as some of these), but thoughful (who’d have expected that? ;-)

Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.

If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories.

Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification — the art of discerning what we may with advantage omit.

In his book Making Things Happen, the above-mentioned Scott Berkun summarizes Karl Popper as saying that there are only two kinds of theories: those that are wrong and those that are incomplete.

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How to publish… not so seriously

Great comical contribution of Jorge Cham’s PhD Comics: ButterflyNature vs Science

The Nature Journal liked it, as apparent from their blog post;-) According to Jorge Cham, their general comment was:

Use this comic for procrastination or decompression, as you see fit.

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How to publish… seriously

Less sad than the recent Note on publishing a scientific commentGolden GateAs I am in a constant process of trying to understand the requirements for publishing high-impact scientific papers better (slow process… ;-), I am always eager to see what others write about it.

Recently, I linked to some PLOS editorials about Ten simple rules for nearly everything, including writing papers.

Along this line, the presentation given by the Phys. Rev. Lett. Editor Manolis Antonoyiannakis in Japan end of last year, is very interesting. In addition to hints for using the right phrasing when writing about scientific results, he also gives some insight – from the viewpoint of the Editorial Office of a high impact phyics journal – into the inner workings of paper predecision (by Editor) and general acceptance rate. Continue reading “How to publish… seriously”

How to Publish a Scientific Comment…

Via the blog Dynamics of Cats: How to publish a scientific comment in 123 Easy Steps by Prof. Rick Trebino. I do not have first hand experience myself, but the described exchange between commentator and editor is very interesting, and indeed very disturbing for an open-minded scientist! See also a comment on Trebino’s essay in the blog Adventures in Ethics and Science.

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Science 3.0?

Via Academic Productivity: Interesting comment, What can Science learn from Google? I especially like that it starts with a quote by George Box (you know I like them;-)

All models are wrong, but some are useful.

Wide OpenThe article takes the provocative stance that we do not need models any more to describe the world, as petabyte data clouds combined with massive computing power are able to correlate data.

Data without a model is just noise. But faced with massive data, this approach to science — hypothesize, model, test — is becoming obsolete. […] Correlation supersedes causation, and science can advance even without coherent models, unified theories, or really any mechanistic explanation at all.

I humbly disagree. Understanding needs models, predictions need models. Of course, in order to find models, correlations – probably found by using computers – can show the way.

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Organic Photovoltaics Publications

Today I came across a graph I prepared two years ago: the number of papers published per year in scientific journals within the field of organic photovoltaics. OPV in WOS (Number of Publications per Year) - 2007.pngI just updated it using Web Of Science, up to year 2007.

In case you want to reproduce the graph, I used the topic

“organic photovoltaic cell” or “organic photovoltaics” or “organic solar cell*”

for organic photovoltaics and related phrases, and

“bulk heterojunction solar cell*” or “bulk-heterojunction solar cell*” or “polymer photovoltaic” or “polymer fullerene photovoltaic” or “polymer solar cell*” or “polymer fullerene solar cell*” or “polymer-fullerene solar cell*” or “polymer-fullerene solar cell*”

Web of Science can also combine search sets in the history, so that publications matching both sets are not counted twice; the result is shown as the curve “both” in the graph. Probably, by a more appropriate choice of search terms, even some more papers can be found. For instance, I should have included small molecules.

The result is not strictly growing exponentially, but the interest still is increasing continuously. Let’s hope that the commercial interest will have similar growth rates soon;-)

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