Thursday, February 28, 2013

This week's Sci-Lights

"Living on a starvation diet, strange life forms are thriving deep beneath the sea floor," stated author Alaina Levine in her article Into the Deep in COSMOS magazine. 

Before you think of sea monsters or bio luminescent fish with lures and jagged teeth, let's define these life forms.  They are single celled organisms called microbes.  I know...hardly the stuff of science fiction novels.  But their role in the environment that they live in could be crucial to a more complete understanding of large scale cycles such as carbon, nitrogen and iron. 

The Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations which focuses it's study on the subsurface of the ocean and the environment and organisms that inhabit this always dark, rock and sediment environment is comprised of scientists from a variety of multidisciplinary fields.  For example our executive committee boosts a Geomicrobiologist, a Geochemist, Oceanographer, Hydrologist, Geobiologist, and a Microbial Geochemist.  This hardly fits the traditional breakdown of science into Biology, Chemistry and Physics.  Why are there so many interdisciplinary specialists?  The short answer is because when studying the ocean, you need to look at the larger system.
Moon Pool on JOIDES Resolution, COMOS Magazine
Do you want to peer into the deep as the engineer pictured and read more about the biological systems approach to the exploration of the deep?   COMOS' article is a perfect place to begin!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Letters of Recommendation--The Details!

I'm certainly not the first educator to write about letters of recommendation (LOR).  In fact, visit Institute for Broadening Participation for an in-depth article called "Getting Strong Letters of Recommendation" by Susan Kauer, Scott D. Anderson and Michael Ernst for an extensive list of recommendations.  This article focuses on what I have found to be a little discussed aspect of LORs.