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Showing posts from December, 2011

Valuable refereeing

The work of reviewers is essential for the peer-reviewing system, but is sometimes somewhat underestimated. It takes time, no matter how well written a paper is. And we receive more and more papers to review each time (e.g. this year I received ca. 40 manuscripts, not counting revisions). There are who call for payments, given that it takes up valuable time, which could have been spent on research, education, or (most likely) free time with the family.

One possible way of achieving this would be through a discount on journal rates. Being a computational chemistry software developer gives also discount on these programs, so applying the same reasoning would make sense. The question would be how to do this. Peer reviewing is anonymous (and should be so), so only the reviewer and the editor (journal) know about it. Of course, the journals themselves should be able to produce a list of numbers at the end of the year, indicating that e.g. Univ. of Girona (UdG) has provided 100 referee repo…

The strangest man (P.A.M. Dirac)

I just finished reading the biography of Paul Dirac, "The strangest man: The hidden life of a quantum genius". And the title does justice to the content, he seemed indeed to be a very strange man. Emotionally crippled, socially handicapped, he was not easy to work or live with. Talking to him often involved a question followed by either "Yes", "No" or a long pause. Many times he even did not respond at all. In the book is mentioned one typical example, about a discussion/fight between his wife and him, in which she asked him: "What would you do if I left you?". After a pause of half a minute, his response was: "I'd say: 'Goodbye dear'".

After from his contributions to science, the book deals with the possible origin of his strangeness (autism), describes his background (family life), digestive problems (only solved at the end of his life), and his many friends/colleagues (e.g. Bohr, Kapitza, Einstein). Many are the "Di…