Archive ScienceWatch



May 2010

In these interviews, scientists talk to and offer behind-the-scenes insights into their research: reflections on what led them to their chosen field, the motivation driving their work in a given direction, and the challenges encountered along on the way. These authors also offer their views on why their work has wielded particular influence in the scientific community, as indicated by Clarivate Analytics citation data, and on how research in their respective fields has progressed over time and will likely unfold in the future.

Featured interviews for May 2010 are listed below. To view featured interviews from past months/years, visit the Featured Interviews Main Menu.

Interviews and Features for May 2010:

Harvard’s David Altshuler On Genes and Diabetes; Science Watch® Newsletter Interview

Excerpt from the interview: "In my mind, the primary goal is not to predict disease, nor to personalize medicine. It’s to understand the biological systems that underlie common diseases—type 2 diabetes, for example, which is my research focus. The problem that got me started is very simple: why is it that some people living in our modern society..."
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Andrew Becker on His Work in Large Astronomical Surveys; Featured Scientist

Andrew Becker. View the complete group image at the University of Washington program summer 2008.

Excerpt from the interview: "My interests in Physics and Astronomy were piqued somewhat randomly around 7th-8th grade when I picked up a used book by someone I had occasionally seen on TV named Carl Sagan. The book was called Contact and dealt in a very fascinating way with the nature and pursuit of knowledge, framed by this awesome..."
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Peter Calverley Discusses His Highly Cited COPD Research; Special Topic of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Excerpt from the interview: "I started my medical training at the University of Edinburgh where I met a several inspiring respiratory physicians, particularly the late Professors John Crofton and David Flemley who were deeply concerned about the problems of respiratory disease and particularly obstructive lung disease. As a result of that I became a Medical..."
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Earthquake Research, 2000-2010; Special Topic

Fault types

From the analyses: "While the recent earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and China have garnered attention from the popular press worldwide, scientists, of course, have been making serious study of earthquakes for well over a century, and this month, Special Topics examines the literature over the past decade and over the past two years..."
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Paul Emsley on the Software Called "Coot"; Podcast

Paul Emsley

Paul Emsley is the first CCP4 fellow in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Oxford and coauthor, along with Kevin Cowtan of the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, of the Chemistry Current Classic paper for February, 2010: "Coot: model-building tools for molecular graphics," as published in the journal ACTA CRYSTALLOGR D-BIOL CRYST, Part 12, Sp. Issue 1, in December, 2004.
Listen: MP3 ¦ WMA

Philippe Froguel on the Genetics of Obesity; Special Topic of Obesity

Philippe Froguel

Excerpt from the interview: "This paper is the only success story of the familial positional cloning of obesity genes, a strategy combining genome-wide linkage analysis and candidate gene studies. ENPP1 is a natural inhibitor the insulin receptor which is associated with insulin resistance and thus to T2D. Furthermore, insulin is a strong anorexigenic hormone..."
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Walter Neumann on the Success of Geometry & Topology; Journal Interview

Geometry & Topology

Excerpt from the interview: "The journal was founded in 1997, primarily by Colin Rourke (Warwick) and Rob Kirby (Berkeley), with the aim of eventually replacing the journal Topology, based in Oxford, which had long been the premier journal in the field. The pricing policy of Topology was perceived by many to be damaging both to the journal..."
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Paolo Gionchetti Discusses His Probiotics Research; Special Topic of Probiotics

Paolo Gionchetti

Excerpt from the interview: "This paper was the first double-blind, placebo-controlled paper showing the efficacy of probiotics in IBD. Pouchitis can be considered as a recurrence of IBD in patients operated on for ulcerative colitis. We showed that using probiotics was effective in preventing relapses of pouchitis compared with placebo..."
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Ron Kessler on Adult ADHD; Fast Moving Front

Ronald C. Kessler

Excerpt from the interview: "Why do you think your paper is highly cited? Although it was traditionally believed that attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) spontaneously remitted in adolescence, evidence has been accumulating to suggest that a substantial proportion of children with ADHD continue to be symptomatic as adults and that adult ADHD..."
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Daniel Lidar Discusses His Work with Quantum Computers; Special Topic of Quantum Computers

Daniel Lidar

Excerpt from the interview: "My main focus is on ensuring that quantum computers can work reliably in spite of their extreme fragility. Quantum computers are particularly susceptible to decoherence, which is the result of their inevitable interactions with their environments. Decoherence can be thought of the process by which a quantum system..."
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National Rankings in Environment/Ecology; 1999-December 31, 2009; Country Feature

Click to enlarge. Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The grosbeak is a common bird of forests and second growth. It's found throughout Michigan, USA, during the summer. © Photo by: David Foster.

This month from, we have listed our country rankings in Environment/Ecology by total citations. The data were extracted from the Essential Science IndicatorsSM database from Clarivate Analytics. This database, currently covering the period January 1999 through December 31, 2009, surveys only journal articles indexed by Clarivate Analytics.
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Ashish V. Pattekar & Mayuresh V. Kothare Discuss Microreactor Technology; Fast Moving Front

Excerpt from the interview: "This paper describes one of the earliest attempts to integrate an entire chemical reactor on a silicon chip, namely, a miniaturized hydrogen production chemical-plant-on-a-chip for micro fuel cell applications. As rechargeable battery technology has matured in recent years, it seems to be hitting a plateau in terms of improvements in..."
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Rodney S. Ruoff & Sungjin Park on Chemically Modified Graphene Sheets; New Hot Paper

Rodney S. Ruoff & Sungjin Park

Excerpt from the interview: "Colloidal suspensions of graphene platelets and chemically modified graphene platelets are of interest for both fundamental and practical reasons. Colloids have a wide range of uses, such as in electrical energy storage, paints, inks, composites, paper materials, and so on. Also, there are fascinating..."
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South African Science: Signs of Progress; Featured Analyses

A survey of science in South Africa shows that the nation has increased its output of papers in the last few years, and that the citation impact of those papers exceeds the world average in several main fields. This performance is in sharp contrast to a previous survey in 1995, at which time South Africa, still emerging from the international isolation caused by its policy of apartheid, was notably weaker in science.
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