For our fourth episode, the PIA crew interviewed Dr. Brian Knutson, a Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Stanford University. We explored strategies to get an “under the hood” view of human emotions, including a discussion of neuroeconomics, insights into addiction science, and how brain reactivity can predict future decision making.
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Four hundred years ago, Galileo Galilei knelt before a group of Cardinals of the Catholic Church and was forced to recant his heretical belief that the Earth revolves around the sun.
“This must have been horrific for him,” says Dr. Mario Livio, author of a new biography titled Galileo and the Science Deniers. “To basically disavow everything he strongly believed in as a scientist.”
This week on the show, we talk with Dr. Livio about Galileo’s life and struggles, and what his experience can teach us about the science deniers living in our own time.
Finding the Center
Galileo was an Italian astronomer, physicist, and polymath who lived and studied in Italy around the turn of the seventeenth century.
He may be best known for an experiment that he probably didn’t actually do – the apocryphal tale of Galileo dropping different objects off the side of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to see how they would accelerate.
But Galileo’s astronomical observations, and the conflict they produced, take center stage in Dr. Livio’s new book. It’s a story that surprisingly few people have heard.
“Galileo is one of the most fascinating personalities in history. While everybody has heard about Galileo, I discovered that very few people actually know exactly what happened to him,” Livio recalls.
Dr. Mario Livio, author of Galileo and the Science Deniers
The book begins as a straightforward biography, describing Galileo’s early years, studying and teaching at Universities around Italy. But as the chapters progress, the reader begins to pick up on the faint but steady drumbeat of Galileo’s impending battle.
Dr. Livio sets the stage: “Aristotle and Ptolemy had a geocentric model of the solar system, in which the Earth was at the center and everything else revolved around the Earth. And the Catholic Church, over the years, adopted this particular model as its orthodoxy.”
“Copernicus changed that by suggesting that the sun is actually at the center, and the Earth and all the other planets revolve around the sun. And that’s where Galileo enters the scene.”
The book describes Galileo’s astronomical observations that built a case for the heliocentric model of Copernicus. The reader gets to follow along on this path of discovery, observing Galileo as he observes the Phases of Venus, or spots circling the sun, and draws new conclusions about the position of our planet in the solar system.
The Road to Rome
But inevitably, Galileo’s research and writings come to the attention of the Church, and his trajectory is locked on a path toward conflict with Pope Urban VIII.
Through a series of Papal threats, legal injunctions, and a three-phase trial that reads like the script of an episode of Law & Order, Galileo is found “vehemently suspect of heresy” for asserting that the Earth revolves around the sun.
He must choose between recanting these views or being labeled a heretic – a title that would lead to his torture and death.
Nearing seventy years of age,
The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Joshua Hall and Daniel Arneman, PhDz, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.
Peer review is a major part of how science works today. In this episode we talk about how we approach doing peer reviews. How do you distinguish between differences in approach or preference – “I would have done it a different way” – versus things that you should treat as objections? How much weight do you put on different considerations – the importance of the research question, the novelty, the theory, the methods, the results, and other factors? What’s your actual process – do you read front-to-back, or jump around? How much do you edit and wordsmith your reviews? When there are appendices, supplements, open code and materials, and preregistrations, which things do you read and how do you factor them in? How do you think about your potential biases and how to mitigate them? Plus: We answer a letter about deciding whether to pursue a postdoc versus other options.
Scientists have finally confirmed the existence of a CNO cycle fusion reaction in the Sun, and why women’s contraception research needs a reboot.
In this episode:
00:47 Detection of CNO neutrinos
Since the 1930s it has been theorised that stars have a specific fusion reaction known as the CNO cycle, but proof has been elusive. Now, a collaboration in Italy report detection of neutrinos that show that the CNO cycle exists.
Welcome to a new podcast in PhD Career Stories. In today’s podcast, Dr. to be Natalia Bielczyk shares her journey from her homeland Poland to the Netherlands and the different steps she took to become an entrepreneur. Natalia is just about to get her PhD in Neuroscience at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior in Nijmegen. In 2018, she launched a foundation, Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling, that offers free consultancy to early career researchers interested in self-development or search for new careers in industry. Furthermore, in 2019, Natalia established, Welcome Solutions, a company that helps researchers to develop careers beyond academia. She also wrote a book entitled “What is out there for me? The landscape of post-PhD career tracks.“ Natalia brings us to a journey of self-discovery and recalls how she navigated herself from academia towards the open job market to finally become an entrepreneur.
To know more about Natalia´s journey, listen to this episode. If you also have a story to be told or if you know someone, please don´t hesitate to contact us.
The podcast and artwork embedded on this page are from Tina Persson, Michele Manzo, Maria Sjogren, Paulius Mikulskis, Johanna Have, which is the property of its owner and not affiliated with or endorsed by Listen Notes, Inc.
It’s that time again – the virtual mail bag is overflowing, so we invited Susanna Harris of PhDBalance.com to help us answer YOUR emails, Tweets, and messages.
Bringing the Heat
We start with a few burning questions about applications and interviews.
The first question comes from a listener who was promised a strong letter of recommendation by research PI, but when the application period rolled around, the PI was ‘too busy’ to write the letter.
What should I do when I can’t get ahold of the PI? Maybe he is purposely ghosting me… How do I explain this situation without sounding like I am bad mouthing the PI if I get asked about this? Please help.
Susanna, Josh, and Daniel spend some time describing why those letters of recommendation are so important, and lay out plans A, B, and C for what to do when the PI just won’t deliver.
Next, we hear from a listener who is embarking on her first interviews, and wants to know what to wear!
I have received my first interview invitations for biomedical umbrella programs and I realize I don’t know what I should wear to these events. I realize some of the activities during an interview weekend are more informal, but how formally should I be dressed for the faculty interviews?
The answer is not quite as cut-and-dried as you may think – different universities, even within a single city, can have different expectations.
We talk about what you should definitely NOT wear, and offer some guidelines on how to look professional while still feeling comfortable.
Finally, we hear from a student who suffered a major setback. Due to a traumatic event, she had to leave school for a period of time, and failed several classes in the process.
Fortunately, she’s recovering and back to finish her senior year. But she’s concerned that the low grades and gap in her transcript will prevent her from going to graduate school.
Moreover, she doesn’t know how to talk about this event that so challenged her life.
My main question is how do you frame personal and difficult life experiences when asked about them in interviews, applications, etc? I know that I am driven, tenacious, and ready to pursue a graduate degree but unsure how to frame my past experience to my advantage. I am also unsure of how to anticipate others’ reactions if I do speak candidly. I know that I have an empowering story but am finding it hard to balance oversharing and not being detailed enough. I don’t want to seem like I am flaky or give up when facing a challenge, which is how it currently appears on my transcript. I would be interested in hearing from graduate students with similar experiences of taking a mental health break from university life and later returning.
We answer those questions, and more, this week on the show. In fact, we had SO many listener questions this week, we’ll be back next time with more of your inquiries and more Susanna Harris!
To hear more from Susanna, check out these epsiodes:
This week we present two stories about the sounds that silence can take on.
Part 1: Kambri Crews attempts to smuggle a gift into prison for her father, who is deaf.
Part 2: As Kristine Lycke enters kindergarten, her mother starts treatment for a mysterious illness.
Kambri Crews once lived with her deaf parents in a tin shed in Montgomery, Texas. She now owns and operates the performance venue Q.E.D. in Astoria, Queens. Kambri is also a renowned storyteller and the author of the critically acclaimed and New York Times best selling memoir Burn Down the Ground (Random House). She has performed on The Moth (MainStage & radio), Women of Letters, Risk! and Mortified. In 2014, Kambri opened QED, a performance venue meets community and learning center. With over 100 events per month ranging from comedy, storytelling and music to classes like embroidery, cartooning and writing, there is something for everyone. Since its opening, QED has been featured on The Jim Gaffigan Show, NY1, The New York and LA Times and countless other media outlets. Performers have included the super famous like Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Janeane Garofalo, to the first-time performer and everyone in between. Also a public speaker, Kambri has given speeches for Girls, Inc., University of Texas, Texas Book Festival, University of Oregon, SXSW (South by Southwest), DeafHope, and many other schools, colleges, book festivals, and events.
Kristine Lycke is a Daughter, Mother, Survivor, Warrior. She holds an Honors B.S. Degree in Applied Psychology from Farmingdale State College, which she received – along with the 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence- just 3 years after completing treatment for Stage III Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (breast cancer). Cancer has always been a part of Kristine’s life, having lost her mother to the disease when she was only 8 years old. Wanting to give back to the facility that saved her life, Kristine works as a Patient Care Coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. When she is not working, Kristine enjoys spending time with her wife and learning far more about My Little Pony than she ever thought possible from their 6 year old daughter.