The Long March for Science

Wow, it’s already been over a month past since the March for Science that happened this past Earth Day, I’ve gotten too caught up in doing science and life to get this post, or other posts out recently. Anyway here goes. My wife Lucy and I spent Earth Day hiking on the south rim of […]


My wife, Lucy, and I drove to Quebec City in mid-February to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We took Rt 201 through Jackman to the border. North from The Forks, it was a beautiful winter drive, with even the tallest road signs only half visible in the snow banks, and not more than a handful of […]

World’s oldest fossils?

The big science news last week was a report announcing the world’s oldest microfossils found in rocks near Hudson’s Bay in Canada. These aren’t any old rocks, these are THE old rocks, with an estimated age of between 3.77 and 4.32 BILLION years. Some of the oldest rocks on the planet. Really almost unimaginably old. […]

Extremist Weather

In these angst-filled political times is it even safe to talk about the weather? I like weather and there sure has been a lot of here in mid-coast Maine lately.  At my house, a week before Christmas, we hit 5 below on a Friday night, Saturday morning was snowing and +3, by Sunday afternoon it […]


This past December was a hard month. Bigelow lab where I work, lost our director, Graham Shimmield to colon cancer, and we lost a trustee to cancer, I lost a cousin to ovarian cancer, and a colleague lost her mother, also to cancer. Everyone has their stories with this disease. It’s a killing field that […]


Eureka is perhaps the word most associated with a startling scientific discovery. It’s thought to be attributed to Archimedes, an ancient Greek mathematician, for a discovery he made about the displacement of water by stepping into his bathtub. Anyway, it’s a nice story or myth, but I’ve never actually heard it said by any scientist […]

We regret to inform you…Part III.

In earlier blogs I was discussing the difficulties of getting funded, about the competition for limited funds, and the cost of doing research. This blog is about the process of how a grant proposal requesting funding is either judged successful or not, mostly not. The process is called peer review, and has been part of […]

I Am Not a Politician! II

I’m still trying to get used to the ramifications of this tawdry election. It was the second big statistical anomaly within three weeks, the first being the Cubbies coming back from a three games to one deficit to force game seven, which was all going their way until a big momentum shift back to Indians […]

Bad Bugs

I was at the International Society of Microbial Ecology’s (ISME) biennial meeting in Montreal a week and a half ago. This is the largest gathering of microbial ecologists in the world; close to 3,000 of us gathered to present data on all kinds of things from the human microbiome, to life at the bottom of […]