Author Archives: Tom Schoenfeld

About Tom Schoenfeld

I am an olfactory neurobiologist who practices his science at Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA, in the Department of Biology and Chemistry. I have created "dissectingpublicscience.com" to help educate both my science students and the interested non-scientist about the process of science, by focusing discussions on how science is presented and misrepresented in the public media.

Not enough science in “The Science of ‘Inside Out'”, and other musings on “Gray Matter”

An op-ed column called “Gray Matter” appeared a few years ago in the Sunday Review section of the New York Times with little fanfare or explanation, with the subtitle “Science and Society.”  It quickly became clear that it was intended … Continue reading

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Counting rats, part 1

No, this isn’t about pet rats, even though I just did a post on pet rats. It’s about numbers — how we count things, and what we do with the numbers we get. It’s about two otherwise unrelated recent articles … Continue reading

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Feeling guilty about “smushing” an ant, and other musings about our relationship to animals

I have been following the regular postings on a new Opinionator blog at the New York Times called Menagerie, about our relationships with other animals.  Some of the essays are a little sentimental for my taste, and one was even … Continue reading

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“I’m back” and then back again, still looking for the sweet spot

Back last May, I initiated a blog mechanism that I called “What We’re Reading Now”, which I hoped would give me a basis for more regular, if shorter posts.  That didn’t work the way that I had hoped, for two … Continue reading

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Measles surge years after vaccine-autism scare: science denial comes home to roost

The AP reported this past week that the incidence of measles has surged in the UK since Andrew Wakefield and colleagues first made their report in 1998, now considered fraudulent, that cases of autism are linked to administration of the … Continue reading

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What tooth chemistry says about Neanderthal behavior: a classical example of science sleuthing

It’s only one case.  One tooth from a Neanderthal infant.  One tooth that provides a suggestive piece of evidence for when that infant may have transitioned from mother’s milk to solid food some 100,000 years ago. But the foundation of science built … Continue reading

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Angelina’s mastectomy story overshadows the Myriad gene patent case

As covered widely in numerous news outlets over the past several weeks (see links and critique by Paul Raeburn at KSJ Tracker), Angelina Jolie recently announced that she had a double mastectomy based on the positive outcome of genetic testing … Continue reading

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The moral and scientific issues surrounding Plan B

I have struggled with the appropriate reading of the issues swirling around the implementation of Plan B as an approved and freely available emergency contraceptive. On the one hand, there is the clear scientific evidence that Plan B is a … Continue reading

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Say it isn’t so, CJR

The Columbia Journalism Review may be cutting back or dropping The Observatory and its editor, Curtis Brainard, according to a post by Paul Raeburn at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, based on an article by Joe Pompeo at Capital New … Continue reading

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I’m back

I am returning to active writing on this blog after a hiatus of nearly 9 months.  Not coincidentally, this is also the period of my academic year as a university professor that followed starting up the blog last summer 2012. … Continue reading

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