WASHINGTON – Jennifer Wiseman is an astrophysicist and a Christian. Both of those elements will come into play in her new role with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where she aims to civilize the sometimes-divisive discourse between the broader scientific and religious communities.
Cases of alleged scientific misconduct makethe newswith somefrequency, and when they do, they tend to appear rather straightforward: a professor or graduate student stands accused of falsifying data, fabricating images, or blatantly plagiarizing.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: an academic novel, set at a fictional (but prestigious) American research university, portrays tenured faculty who are indolent but querulous; students whose main activities include protesting, avoiding classes, and popping pills; and an administration that’s disorganized, secretive, and ineffectual. Money and status are the primary concerns of professors and administrators alike; the community as a whole is characterized by lassitude and petty squabbling, while education is of minimal importance to anyone.
Ian Glynn is a physiologist with a passion for a concept not usually associated with his field: elegance. Specifically, its application and relevance across a wide range of scientific disciplines, from physiology to physics, astronomy to neurology.
With universities facing pressure to show the value of their research, to promote economic development and to find new sources of revenue, links between academic researchers and business are being encouraged and scrutinized intensely. The essays in a new book -- The Commodification of Academic Research: Science and the Modern University (University of Pittsburgh Press) -- explore these issues.