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The Eclectic Reading Habits of Scientists

By | August 25, 2003

Snapshot | The Eclectic Reading Habits of Scientists When it comes to reading nonscientific books, the interests of our readers would fill a library. The 322 readers who completed our survey have books on fly fishing, science fiction, politics, and philosophy, sitting on their coffee and bedside tables. One reader has a self-described "voracious" appetite: "I usually have at least three books going at all times." They also read newspapers: 62% do so on a regular basis, with the New York T

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Click for larger version (43K) Sixty percent of the 309 readers who took part in our latest survey are involved in teaching. The average amount of time our readers spend educating the up-and-coming varies widely, from less than one hour per week to more than 20 hours; the average is 10 hours per week. Our readers have various teaching duties, with lecturing and individual instruction being the most frequently mentioned. The majority, 83%, are enthusiastic, or even more so, about their place

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Click for larger version (20K) A remarkable 88% of the 361 readers of The Scientist who responded to our survey prepare a meal at home once every week or more. More than half, 57%, bustle about in the kitchen nearly every day. And these scientists are not just boiling an egg or opening a bag of lettuce; 79% declare that those who eat their meals consider them good, excellent, or outstanding chefs. As would be expected from an international group of scientists, readers enjoy cooking in more

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Click for larger version (14K) We surveyed our readers to find out if they attend scientific meetings and why they do. Of the 282 who responded, 81% travel to one or more scientific meetings every year. An inveterate 13% go to more than three meetings per year. Readers ranked the importance of various reasons for attending conferences on a 1-to-5 scale, with 5 considered very important. Three motivations stand out: Attending formal lectures and sessions (4.4), meeting informally with collea

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 Click for larger version (35K) We asked our readers with postgraduate degrees how long they spent in postgraduate education and in postdoc positions; 215 responded. The average time spent in postgraduate study, which varies by country, was 4.9 years. Students in both the UK and Germany devote an average of 3.5 years; in the United States and Canada, the average is 5.5 years. The vast majority, 83%, went on to nontenured or nonpermanent positions--mostly postdocs--after completing their

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 Click for larger version (51K) Many of our readers have a musical bent. More than half of the 392 people who responded to our latest survey play a musical instrument. One-third play the piano, and another third play the guitar. Twenty-six other instruments round out the band, which includes bagpipes, didgeridoo, glockenspiel, and bouzouki. The vast majority, 74%, play alone; 17% perform in informal groups; and 9% play in a band or orchestra. They consider themselves so-so musicians, rat

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Protein Snapshots

By | May 19, 2003

Courtesy of Sidec Technologies Researchers looking for a three-dimensional view of interesting molecules typically turn to high-resolution structural determination methods such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) or X-ray crystallography. But not all applications require the level of resolution obtainable through these methods. Stockholm-based Sidec Technologies has developed a novel imaging method for such applications; the company's SET technology combines a proprietary optimization algorit

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Scientists and Their Religions

By | May 19, 2003

Snapshot | Scientists and Their Religions  Click for larger version (58K) We asked our readers about the religious traditions in which they were raised and the ones to which they are now affiliated. The number of responses--nearly 500, out of 3,000 invitees--and the many strongly stated comments show how seriously our readers take this subject. "Religion is basically dangerous," says one; "Religion is important in my life," says another. The majority, 87%, were reared in a religious t

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A Week in a Scientist's Life

By | May 5, 2003

Snapshot | A Week in a Scientist's Life It's about multitasking--and spending serious time at work  Click for larger version (43K) Our latest Snapshot survey reveals that 347 of our readers spend an average of 52 hours per week working. The range is large, from a sweatshop level of 95 hours to an enviable 30. Our readers spend their time on the predictable tasks, with performing experiments, writing, and reading requiring more than 50% of their time. However, some interesting juxtaposi

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Glued to Another Tube

By | April 21, 2003

 Click for larger version (45K) A past Snapshot showed that more than 80% of scientists regularly watch television. We surveyed 317 readers to find out what they turned on. Not surprisingly in these difficult times, more than 80% frequently watch news and news programs. A solid 68% click on science documentaries, followed by more escapist fare--movies and comedy programs. Our readers' favorite regularly watched program, and most preferred all-time show, is CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

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