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Are STEM teachers biased toward boys?

At early ages, girls often outperform boys in math and science classes. Later, something changes. By the time they get into high school, girls are less likely than boys to take difficult math courses and less likely, again, to go into careers in science, technology, engineering or medicine. To learn more about this, David Greene spoke with NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. Click here to read/listen to this September…

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Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions

Paul Offit likes to tell a story about how his wife, pediatrician Bonnie Offit, was about to give a child a vaccination when the kid was struck by a seizure. Had she given the injection a minute sooner, Paul Offit says, it would surely have appeared as though the vaccine had caused the seizure and probably no study in the world would have convinced the parent otherwise. (The Offits have…

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Unitended consequences: Open data leading to biased reanalyses

Last week, Stephen Colbert interviewed Leon Wieseltier, editor of the New Republic. Ever the provocateur, Colbert immediately challenged Wieseltier to state his critique of modern culture in 10 words or less. This is what Wieseltier came up with on the spot: Too much digital, not enough critical thinking, more physical reality. Ten words exactly. Colbert was duly impressed. I encountered this critique a day after reading a number of articles…

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A new standard for policy-relevant science?

The increasing concern about unreliability in scientific literature1, 2 is a problem for people like me — I am the science adviser to DEFRA, the UK government department for environment, food and rural affairs. To counsel politicians, I must recognize systematic bias in research. Bias is cryptic enough in individual studies, let alone in whole bodies of literature that contain important inaccuracies2, 3. It worries me that because of bias,…

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This Story Stinks

IN the beginning, the technology gods created the Internet and saw that it was good. Here, at last, was a public sphere with unlimited potential for reasoned debate and the thoughtful exchange of ideas, an enlightening conversational bridge across the many geographic, social, cultural, ideological and economic boundaries that ordinarily separate us in life, a way to pay bills without a stamp. Then someone invented “reader comments” and paradise was…

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Bias Persists for Women of Science, a Study Finds

Science professors at American universities widely regard female undergraduates as less competent than male students with the same accomplishments and skills, a new study by researchers at Yale concluded. As a result, the report found, the professors were less likely to offer the women mentoring or a job. And even if they were willing to offer a job, the salary was lower. Click here to read more from this September…

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How Stereotypes Can Drive Women To Quit Science

Walk into any tech company or university math department, and you’ll likely see a gender disparity: Fewer women than men seem to go into fields involving science, engineering, technology and mathematics. Over the years, educators, recruiters and government authorities have bemoaned the gender gap and warned that it can have dire consequences for American competitiveness and continued technological dominance. It isn’t just that fewer women choose to go into these…

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