Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday afternoon music break: OK Go

Fun with optical illusions...and good music:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The GRE: A test that fails

Every Fall seniors in the US take the Graduate Records Examination (GRE), and their scores are submitted along with their applications to grad school. Many professors, particularly those in physics departments, believe that the GRE is an important predictor of future success in grad school, and as a result many admissions committees employ score cutoffs in the early stages of their selection process. However, past and recent studies have shown that there is little correlation between GRE scores and future graduate school success.

The most recent study of this type was recently published in Nature Jobs. The authors, Casey Miller and Keivan Stassun show there are strong correlations between GRE scores and race/gender, with minorities and (US) white women scoring lower than their white male (US) counterparts. They conclude, "In simple terms, the GRE is a better indicator of sex and skin colour than of ability and ultimate success."

Here's the key figure from their article:

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm back! In more ways than one

Regular readers have noticed that I've been away from blogging at this site for a while. This happens periodically when my creative muses flit off in directions away from writing. I also needed to take a deep breath after an extremely busy semester. Hooray for Summer! Another reason is that I've been doing quite a bit of blogging over at Women In Astronomy

But never fear, I have returned! For now. 

Not only am I going to start posting again (for now), I have also decided to take my own advice and created a new website. It's embarrassing that I've been at Harvard for almost a year, and yet my group's only web presence is at my old Caltech site. D'oh!

So I present to you, dear readers, The Johnson ExoLab @Harvard! Since Apple discontinued iWeb, I decided to try out an online WYSIWYG editor called Wix. I have to admit, I didn't search and test drive many options. But after signing up for a premium account, I really like the Wix editor interface, and $12.99/mo isn't bad for all the features you get with a premium account.