Francisco Azuaje – not all scientific talks are good. #science needs to #keepitreal

Check out this post written by Francisco Azuaje for United Academics Magazine about the state of scientific talks. I think Azuaje brings up a lot of important points (More on Azuaje here). In my opinion there are still plenty of average, or below average talks… so perhaps we should keep it real more often. But do it in a sincere and supportive manner. I also love that the title of the post is a play on the Peter, Paul, and Mary song title 😉

Edward O. Wilson, one of the world’s most admired scientists, advised young researchers that “the greatest proportion of moral decisions you will be required to make is in your relationships with other scientists”1.  And indeed this is a vital challenge, not only because science is above all a social networking endeavour, but also because an awareness of this reality may regrettably lead us to over-emphasize the importance of looking or sounding good to others.

And perhaps it is such an anxiety to find a cosy place in the nest of consensus among “peers” that is creating so much delusion.

We need to re-discover average, good and could-be-better. We can do it sincerely, kindly and with rational purpose. Only this way we will be able to spot the truly great.

One thought on “Francisco Azuaje – not all scientific talks are good. #science needs to #keepitreal

  1. You should come to my dept at NIH… we keep it wayyyy REAL over here. No compliments given unless deserved (which makes them more appreciated). Also, very critical crowd that is ready to call someone out on bad questions or bad seminars.

    On the whole, I find the scientific crowd way more critical/harsh than fluffy/complimentary.

    Additionally, I find that in general, over the past 5 years, scientific talks HAVE actually improved. Now this may just be because I have improved as a scientist and moved to an institution that regularly brings in top-notch scientists… but I’d like to think that scientists are trying to give better talks now due to decreased funding and desire to spark public interest?? Maybe that’s just my own experience…


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