Nerdy, happy things: names in science

A friend once described the TV show The Big Bang Theory as “it’s so nerdy you feel kind of dirty for understanding the jokes”. I know where he’s coming from, but sometimes it’s these little nerdy things and insider jokes that show the real soul of scientist (sometimes weird and twisted, sometimes funny, sometimes touching and sentimental…). Particularly good examples are scientific names of substances, methods or species. And so, just to start my 2016 blogging year on a happy note, I’d like to showcase some of my favourites  🙂 Continue reading


On authorship and risk

I have a long-standing argument with a good friend about who should co-author a paper. The particular disagreement is about the role of someone, who has substantially helped to write and shape the story of a paper.

My friend argues that if you have:
–       consistently followed the course of a project
–       provided advice and guidance in group meetings and in one-on-one discussions
–       and also helped write the paper,
but have not done any wet lab experiments or actual hands-on analysis of the data,
then you’re essentially doing the job of the PI, and thus, should be a co-author.

Generally, I agree. But when push comes to shove I’m not sure I would include people with such involvement on a publication. So, for the last couple of months I’ve been pondering why, and finally think I’ve come up with an answer: it’s a question of risk. Continue reading