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Posts Tagged ‘communication’

This is amazing. Use it.

January 5, 2010 1 comment

Go here to see a slideshow on “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience.”  Then try to incorporate some of those tips the next time you give a presentation, especially if its a powerpoint.

(H/T Harman.)

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Lessons in Winning Over an Audience: Use Metaphors

September 9, 2009 2 comments

Very few things in life are as satisfying as a highly appropriate and effectively deployed metaphor.  Last month, with the start of the school year, our Materials Science program had its kickoff lunch to welcome the new students.  The centerpiece of this gathering is the Sales Pitch Contest, in which current students have three minutes to inform the judges (the new students) of their research and how awesome it is.

My friend Joy Garnett, starting her second year, works on linking together nanoparticles.  The motivation for this research is to have the nanoparticles serve as a conduit for light.  Without getting into hardcore condensed matter physics… the discussion of periodic structures—structures with a building block that is repeated with equal spacing, such as crystal lattices or photonic crystals—is nearly ubiquitous in materials science.  Unsurprisingly, Joy’s goal is to make her nanoparticles equally spaced apart and control the spacing between them.

In the three minutes allocated for her Sales Pitch, Joy did not explain the intricacies of why light behaves specially in periodic structures.  (Wise move, as new students haven’t taken condensed matter class yet.)  Instead, she told us about the classic video game, Super Mario Brothers. Read more…

Effectively think and write about your scientific findings

February 28, 2009 Leave a comment

whitesides-screenshot-page-1“Writing a Paper” by George Whitesides is fantastically useful. Only three pages long, it is a succinct guide to writing a cogent, coherent article from the questions, experiments, and data that are swirling in your mind.

The central message is to formulate, early in the life of a project, an outline to direct your thoughts and data collection.

“No project is ever complete, and it saves enormous effort and much time to propose a plausible paper and outline as soon as you see the basic structure of a project.”

“Writing a Paper” also offers details for composing each section of your article, as well as style/diction tips.  The full pdf is available through Advanced Materials or by searching on Google Scholar.

(I’m aware this was published in 2004, but I encountered it just last week at the Prof 101 workshop, thanks to Professors Jennings and Rogers.)

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