I read with considerable interest the recent article in The Scientist about the professional concerns of postdoctoral fellows (S. Bunk, The Scientist, Jan. 5, 1998, page 1). To bring postdoctoral fellows in our department into more active participation in the department outside their sponsors' laboratories, three years ago we instituted biweekly research meetings for them. These serve several purposes: Fellows present work in progress as quite informal "chalk talks" or, if they are ready to enter the job market, preview their job seminars. Because the group represents a more diverse range of scientific interests, they constitute an audience that is usually more like that to which most job candidates will be speaking.

It was quickly apparent that this group is very good at separating the "science" from the presentation and extremely helpful in suggesting ways to improve upon the latter. Suggestions usually include: too much jargon, too...

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