Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Holidays

Season's Greetings and
a Happy New Year!

Like the rest of the college, the library is closing down until January 2. I will be out until January 14 because I will be going to Dallas, Texas, in the beginning of January for an NCBI course on Molecular Biology Information Sources. The blog will be on hiatus until then (unless I get some incredible news that has to be spread immediately). Have a safe and festive break!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Book Profile: The Periodic Table

New Book Profile

Title: The Periodic Table: Its Story and Significance QD467.S345 2007 (New Book shelf)
Author: Eric R. Scerri
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Year: 2007
249 pages

Dr. Eric Scerri, lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCLA, has written a book that explores the development, both historical and philosophical, of the periodic table of elements. In addition, the book examines the relationship between chemistry and physics. Scerri states in his introduction

One can still consider the more modern question of whether chemistry reduces to its sister science of physics...It is this question that forms the underlying theme for this entire book, and it is a question that is addressed more and more explicitly in later chapters as the story reaches the impact of modern physical theories on our understanding of the periodic system. (p. xviii)

Ten chapters begin with the historical origins of the table, including the concept of an element and its changing meaning throughout early scientific thought, continue through Mendeleev's predictions, to the impact of the nucleus and atomic number, and finally to modern quantum mechanics and astrophysics. Written in a manner accessible to students with some knowledge of chemistry, this book will provide a fascinating basis for students about to embark on more serious study of chemistry and/or physics, whether one agrees or disagrees with Scerri's premise.

A Nature (Q1.N2) magazine review of the book

Bensaude-Vincent, B. (18 January 2007). Display elements. Nature 445, 263-4.

discusses Scerri's argument that chemistry cannot be simply reduced to physics. Although the reviewer finds the introductory historical overview somewhat cliched, she approves of later arguments, especially those surrounding the discovery of isotopes and Niels Bohr's atomic model.

This may be an interesting book to take home for the holidays. Remember the library's holiday hours
Wednesday until 1 am
Thursday until 1 am
Friday until 5 pm
December 15-16 CLOSED Semester End
December 17-18 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Semester End

Monday, December 10, 2007

Science Debate 2008

A group of concerned scientists, who saw a lack of scientific questions posed to the presidential hopefuls, formed a coalition calling for a debate on issues related to

  • environment
  • health and medicine
  • science and technology policy
Dr. Lawrence Krauss, professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University and chair of the Physics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, published an explanatory Op-Ed piece in the Wall Street Journal, regarding the need for presidential debate on these topics.

Considering the impact the presidency can have policy in science (just a few examples), it seems prudent to learn presidential candidates knowledge and opinions on science:
Vergano, D. (2007.) Science vs. politics gets down and dirty. USA Today
Howden, D. (2007). No Blair! America's Parting Gift to Britain's PM. The Independent.
Rosenberg, D. (2002). The Battle over Abstinence. Newsweek.

Awards for the best lab site

The Scientist, an online magazine for the life sciences, held a contest to find the best laboratory sites. After 60 nominations, the judges chose the top ten sites for life science research labs--based on design, usability, content, and community. The judges were scientists, art/creative directors, and professors. The Scientist's finalist site links to the top sites, and provides individual judge comments for each site. The sites highlight some great research with unique and clever Web designs that include images, diagrams, and multimedia presentations. The purpose of the contest was to focus on the important work of disseminating research information in a vital and approachable manner.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Global Climate Change talks

I wish I could have reported this to you sooner because some of the talks have already passed. Nature is hosting a Global Climate Change Series in Second Life, the online world being used for just about everything from art exhibits to scholarly lectures, and a whole lot more (there is even a library island staffed with real reference librarians in Second Life). Nature's space in Second Life, aptly called Second Nature, has two more speakers coming in this series:

  • Tues 11th Dec, 6pm GMT, 10am PST, SLT
    Dr Simon Buckle, Director of Policy at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change
  • Thur 13th Dec, 5pm GMT, 9am PST, SLT
    George Monbiot, Guardian columnist and author of Heat: How we can stop the planet burning.
Fly your avatar out there for what I expect will be fascinating lectures.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ILL into your e-mail

Because this is the NAS Collegium blog, I usually limit my posts to items of interest for those in the Natural Sciences. Today, however, as the Interlibrary Loan Librarian as well, I want to let you know about an exciting, new feature from Interlibrary Loan. We now have the capability to send documents electronically. Therefore, if a lending library sends us the document electronically (which many do), we can now convert the file to a PDF and send it straight to your e-mail. You will no longer have to wait for delivery via campus mail. The article will arrive immediately. Hurray! Let me know if you have any concerns over this new method of delivery. Otherwise, the e-mails will start arriving in your inboxes. Keep an eye out for them!

Update January 31, 2008: The new process has been successful so far. However, one problem with the new system is that we receive no verification that patrons receive their article. Therefore, if you have not received an email from us updating you on the status of your article or the article itself within 10 days, please contact myself or my assistant Liz Bodie: bodieea at eckerd dot edu