Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Science Center roof slabs get hauled away

The damaged slabs of roof covering are now being hauled away - great work on the part of the Facilities Operations staff and contractors!

Temporary repairs are underway, and the library remains dry.  With any luck, the science center will reopen tomorrow, if all systems are back online.  Meanwhile, the little outpost of science reserve materials is in operation at Wilder Student Union.  Come talk to us in the lobby.  We might just give you a treat on this All Hallow's Eve!  Our service desk will be open until 11pm.

UPDATE, 4:45pm - the science center will reopen on Thursday.  Hurray!  Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen.

Science Reserve Items Available to Lend in Wilder

Given the lack of access to the Science Center today, we have moved part of the reserve operation to Wilder Student Union.  Come see us in the lobby!  Required textbooks, laptops, calculators, even a few headphones, are all available to check out. There are plenty of quiet areas in Wilder where you can use the materials.  We'll also help with reference questions - don't hesitate to ask.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Science Center & Library CLOSED

The science center and science library were closed at 1:30pm today, due to hazardous weather conditions and leaky areas of the roof.  High winds have pulled slabs of the elegant aluminium cover off the roof, and the incessant rain is finding its way into the exposed roofing material.  

Notice the big slab of aluminum perched on the roof over the walkway between the east and north areas of the science center (photo left).  So far, the library has not experienced water leakage like that occurring in a few rooms on the upper floors of the science center. Send kind and heartening thoughts to our friends in Safety and Security and Facilities Operations, who have been working hours in this driving rain to minimize risks to us all.

A much bigger slab of the roof pealed away yesterday afternoon and came down on the north side of the building, just outside the windows of West Lecture Hall.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Biodiversity at PLoS Hubs

Listening to the discussion at an ALAO pre-conference session on open access publishing led to a brief look at the Biodiversity Hub at PLoS (Public Library of Science).  PLoS Hubs serve to aggregate journal articles in a given discipline, highlighting connections among researchers world-wide, and articles from different publishers and various publishers.  Learn more.  There are now over 1,319 articles highlighted in the Biodiversity Hub, added to the Hub between September 2010 and March 2012.  Take a look!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Break... even the sleepers are gone

Looking east from the library entrance.
The view out our north windows.
 Mid-week of Fall break is a very, very quiet time in the library.  A brief pause in the semester.  The view toward north quad is delightful - perfect weather for ultimate practice, but the players are elsewhere.  A good time for quiet work.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Energy for Future Presidents

If you watched the second of the presidential debates last night, you may have noticed an increased focus on the subject of energy. In light of this ongoing discussion over energy policy in the United States, I bring you --or, rather, author Richard A. Muller brings you-- Energy for Future Presidents: the science behind the headlines. In this book, Muller tackles the full gamut of current energy challenges, analyzing everything from the fallout at Fukushima to the future of natural gas. If you're interested in these important issues, whether as a concerned citizen or an environmental studies major, come in and check this book out from our "New Books" shelf under the display window!

Additionally, here's an interview with Richard A. Muller from NPR's Morning Edition; and two more articles (from the LA Times and Huffington Post) covering energy in the context of the presidential debates if you'd like to keep reading!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halucinatory Realism and the Nobel Prize in Literature

How does the 2012 Nobel Prize in Literature relate to science?  The phrase "hallucinatory realism" caught my imagination when I read the announcement of the award to Chinese-born Mo Yan "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary."  Hallucinations stem from disturbances in the brain, and that's neuroscience, my friend.  Or do these experiences fall in the realm of religion, psychology or philosophy? Literature, for sure, and historical documents abound with references to hallucination and illusion. Do a subject search on "hallucinations and illusions" in OBIS, and books in a wide range of disciplines, from many different decades, are listed - from scientific to the bizarre, and everything in between. Perfect for a liberal arts collection.  A recent book from Oxford University gives the more scientific overview: Perception, hallucination, and illusion / William Fish. The library's print copy is checked out, but OhioLINK users can access this online.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

G-protein–coupled receptors the focus of Nobel Prize in Chemistry

      The Nobel Prize site provides an excellent summary of the function and importance of G-protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) written for the "non-medical" reader in preparation for today's announcement of this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  Two Americans share the 2012 prize: Robert J. Lefkowitz, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University Medical Center, and Brian K. Kobilka, Stanford University School of Medicine.  Lefkowitz co-authored a book, cataloged in OBIS, that grew out of his early research at Duke University: Receptor binding studies in adrenergic pharmacology. Articles by Kobilka appear in several books listed in the OhioLINK catalog.  All told, there are many hundreds of articles authored or co-authored by Lefkowitz and Kobilka, as found in the Web of Knowledge: 213 articles by Kobilka, cited 12,290 times and 1,177 articles by Lefkowitz, cited 29,842 times.  The sheer number of publications and citations to those works attests to the productivity of their research teams and significance of their findings.

A broader overview of research methodology for GPCRs is given in the monograph edited by Poyner and Wheatley [a Wiley ebook, accessible online at ebrary]. Many related titles can be found with a quick keyword search in OBIS and OhioLINK.  Search: g protein and coupled receptor*.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

How to Scrutinize a Photon Without Changing Its Properties
NPR's Richard Harris did a fine job on Morning Edition today, explaining the importance of the research of Serge Haroche and David Wineland, co-winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics. Richard said that the two scientists figured out how to "observe and manipulate subatomic particles without destroying them." That's important, he said, because it allows scientists to understand how those particles behave, which in turn could lead to breakthroughs in quantum computing.  Follow more updates on this story from Mark Memmott on The Two-Way, NPR's news blog.

Scientific American gives good coverage also, with a link to an article by Christopher Moore and David Wineland ("Quantum computing with ions," August 2008), and much more.  Find that issue of Scientific American in the science library's compact shelving or online in Academic Search Complete (subscribers only).

Monday, October 08, 2012

Regenerating Bodies & Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Today's announcement of the Noble Prize in Medicine, awarded jointly to Sir John B. Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka, brought to mind the new title Regenerating Bodies by Julie Kent (now on the new book shelf).  Kent does not directly cite either Gurdon and Yamanaka, but her work is nonetheless dependent on their research.  Kent writes from a sociological perspective, to engage "with a series of questions about the implications of new and emerging health technologies that use human tissues and cells."  She provides a perspective on pluripotent cells that delves into moral, ethical, and social issues, including such dilemmas as defining personhood and the boundaries of the corporal body.  It makes for fascinating reading at the interface of science, the humanities and social sciences.
Read more about Gurdon's and Yamanaka's research, from today's New York Times.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Science-Related Questions for Obama and Romney

If you noticed the lack of science topics in this week's presidential debate, you are in good company.  The Union for Concerned Scientists collaborated with Science Debate and other scientific organizations—including the National Academies of Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Physical Society—to come up with fourteen science policy questions for the presidential candidates. Read their answers at Scientific American

Political spin and pundits not-with-standing, being informed about important issues, from non-partisan sources that understand the essential need for accurate scientific understanding in a democracy, is our best hope this election season.  Be informed.  Register to vote.  Make wise decisions.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Welcome to Laura - and SO many new books!

It is suddenly October!  Never has the first month of an academic year slid by so quickly.  I welcome Laura Gray to the science library blog, and look forward to many more posts from her.  Thanks for joining Speaking of Science, Laura!

Now, it's time to get many more folks perusing the new book shelf, where dozens of books beckon readers in every science-related discipline.  The Violinist's Thumb relates directly to Laura's post on genomic research.  If the question "Can genetics explain a cat lady's obsessive love for felines?" gets you thinking, or you would like to know how the "right combination of genes created the exceptionally flexible thumbs and fingers of a truly singular violinist," you should check this out.

The latest volume of The best American science writing is perfect for a series of relatively short, always enlightening essays on current thinking and future directions in a widely diverse representation of scientific pursuit.  It is a great respite from political ads on every form of media in this election season - and should also be required reading for all politicians who have the potential to determine funding and policies for scientific research.

There are so many more - too many to feature here, let alone have time to read them all - let at least one captivate your interest.  See the entire list of books received during September - October 2.