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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary: Black Hole 2.0


Happy 2011 everyone – we hope you’ve all enjoyed 2010 and are looking forward to engaging you on many new (and old) issues in the coming year.  It’s been a great quarter for us with increased traffic despite a slightly lower number of posts.  Dave has signed up for twitter @scienceadvocacy and we hope that it will be a good place to share some interesting tidbits in lieu of writing full posts.  A recap of what was done this quarter:
Articles Written
Guest blogger Sonja B:

  • Thoughts on doing a co-op in undergrad


  • Student Loans
  • Where Do You Find Nonacademic Job Postings?
  • The Versatile PhD


  • Professionals in High Demand
  • Nice Gals Finish Last: Sexist Reference Letters or Skewed Value Systems?
  • We caved… Now you can follow scienceadvocacy on twitter
  • Look Mom, I can do PCR! Benefits and Drawbacks of Formal Undergraduate Research Programs
  • Training Students: Not simply lab monkeys…
  • New Metrics for Assessing Scientists: Collaboration Networks
  • Early Bird Registration for Canadian Science Policy Conference

Discussion Highlights

  • After Beth’s post on student loans, we had a mini-rant from Peter M about his friends who have accrued substantial debt and the job market hasn’t been kind enough to help pay them off – his suggestion, no interest on loans.  (interestingly, in the UK the Liberal Democrats tried to push for reform that would see your payment schedule (and amount) linked to your income immediately post-graduation (The graduate tax plan).
  • We also heard from Catherine, Girlpostdoc, and SubC on issues surrounding the lack of tax benefit for international students with loans, students living outside their means and using their loans to support it, and proposals to waive tuition fees for PhD students (which UBC temporarily had in place for in the middle of the decade)
  • In response to the Nice Gals Finish Last post Marianne shared her experience as a female postdoc choosing between jobs offers in academia and industry.
  • After discussion on types of words used in reference letters from the same post, SB pitched the idea that communal/emotive letters that describe females and lead to a disadvantage in tenure track positions in psychology might be seen in a more advantageous light in other fields.
  • Sarah V piped up with a comment on Sonja’s Thoughts on doing a co-op in undergrad appreciating the perspective of a student – something that is often not available to those considering a co-op placement.
  • On Dave’s most recent post, Terri provided a link to a great article on the realities of employment from the perspective of the Humanities.

Our Other Activities
Dave has continued to write for the Stem Cell Network blog publishing three articles this quarter:

The Black Hole as seen by others
Open Laboratory 2010 has five articles of ours listed for consideration to include in their anthology on web-based science articles – assessment underway, we’ll await the verdict…

We were listed as one of the top posts on December 31, 2010 by the CdnPSE Daily (Canadian Post-Secondary Education) for the post entitled: Professionals in High Demand
Popular Posts this Quarter

  1. Say NO to the Second Post Doc! (313)
  2. 2010 Canadian Taxes: Did you get your T2202 and T4a? (298)
  3. Nice Gals Finish Last: Sexist Reference Letters or Skewed Value Systems? (270)
  4. To MD or PhD: That is the Question (256)
  5. Why PhDs Leave Academics (242)

Links Added

David Kent
Dr. David Kent is a principal investigator at the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York, York, UK. He trained at Western University and the University of British Columbia before spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge, UK where he ran his research group until 2019. His laboratory's research focuses on the fundamental biology of blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009.
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