Archive ScienceWatch



September 2008

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 September2008 are listed below. To view featured interviews from past months/years, visit the Featured Interviews Main Menu.

Featured Interviews for September 2008:

Matt Cockerill on the Success of BMC Evolutionary Biology - Featured Journal Interview

BMC Evolutionary Biology

Excerpt from the interview: "BMC Evolutionary Biology will continue to publish high-quality research in evolutionary biology, and break down barriers between different fields. Another key goal for the journal is to make it easier for researchers to share not just their results, but also the datasets that were analyzed to produce those results..."
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Sankar Das Sarma on Two-Dimensional Graphene - Fast Moving Front Commentary

Sankar Das Sarma

Excerpt from the interview: "This paper is highly cited because it solves the outstanding quantum mechanical problem of theoretically and quantitatively understanding the dielectric screening properties of graphene. Graphene has two-dimensional electrons and holes. These electrons and holes respond to an external electric field by. ..."
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Microbiology at George Washington University - Institutional Interview

George Washington University

Excerpt from the interview: "Over the next few years I want our department to become a go-to department for solving problems of parasitic diseases and HIV/AIDS in developing countries. This includes developing new vaccines for parasitic diseases and other infections. I think co-infections are going to be huge. I think we’re on the verge of making..."
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Roel Hammerschlag on Ethanol's Energy-Return-On-Investment< - Special Topic of Biofuels


Excerpt from the interview: "The paper is a literature review of energy-return-on-investment (EROI) analyses for corn and cellulosic ethanol. The paper has received citation attention because it succeeds in normalizing and comparing multiple research teams' results, and because it is transparent and easy to read. At the time it was written and published..."
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Rafael Irizarry from Johns Hopkins - Podcast


This is a Podcast Interview Rafael Irizarry is a Professor in the Department of Biostatistics in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Here he discusses his work on the development of quantitative methods and software for genomics and epigenomics. He has been named a Current Classics scientist (Math.) for Apr. 2008. Also view a commentary from a past New Hot Paper feature.
Listen: mp3 ¦ wma

Ron Kessler & Jim Hudson discuss binge eating - Podcast Interview


This is a Podcast InterviewRon Kessler, Professor of Healthcare Policy & Jim Hudson (pictured), Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, discuss binge eating disorder and the link to obesity. This podcast accompanies their New Hot Paper commentary on the same topic (May 2008). Podcast added Sept. 1, 2008.
Listen: MP3| WMA

India's New Millennium in Science - Science Watch® Newsletter Analysis

After a long period of sluggish growth, India's output of papers has risen sharply since the year 2000, while the citation impact of the nation's research has also been trending upward, notably in such fields as physics, materials, and other specialty areas in the physical sciences. Figures also suggest that India-based authors are collaborating at an increasing rate with multinational coauthors.
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Mietek Jaroniec Discusses His Work on Mesoporous Materials - Special Topic of Mesoporous Materials


Excerpt from the interview: "The development of ordered mesoporous organosilicas has been an equally exciting topic because the self-assembly of appropriate organosilanes and surfactants or block copolymers creates almost unlimited possibilities in the synthesis of novel organosilica mesostructures of tailored porosity, surface and framework..."
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Daniel Kammen & Richard Plevin on Ethanol's Net Energy Value - Special Topic of Biofuels


The author(s) of this interview/comment have included images of their work.Excerpt from the interview: "...determined that ethanol from cellulosic feedstocks might be dramatically less greenhouse gas (GHG) intensive than corn ethanol, which even if refined properly, offered at best a slight reduction in GHG emissions versus gasoline. We noted that even this result ignored possible GHG emissions from so-called..."
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Robert J. Lefkowitz on Beta-Arrestins and Cell Signaling - New Hot Paper Commentary


Excerpt from the interview: "The discovery that beta-arrestins could serve as signaling molecules in their own right, in addition to their classical desensitizing functions, changed the paradigm for understanding how G protein-coupled receptors signal and are regulated. The field has grown rapidly over the past 10 years. This review article..."
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Edward A McKenzie:A Target for Drug Discovery in Cancer - New Hot Paper


Excerpt from the interview: "This review brings together the key publications over recent years since the cloning of the gene in 1999 and synthesizes the knowledge of heparanase biology and pathology which has lead to the current diverse array of inhibitors of heparanase activity. Looking to the future, more focus now needs to be put o ..."
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People's Republic of China; - Country Profile

The People's Republic of China

According to Essential Science Indicators, among the 148 top-performing countries in all fields, the People's Republic of China ranked #12 for citations (2,294,868), #5 for papers (529,279), and #116 (4.34) for citations per paper. This feature includes rankings in all fields for the People's Republic of China.
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Roger Powell & Tim Holland on Their Thermodynamic Data Set - Featured Paper Interview


Excerpt from the interview: "What this paper provides is a dataset of thermodynamic properties of the constituents (end-members) of the minerals, fluids, and melt that are needed in order to perform calculations on the conditions of formation of rocks. It is an internally consistent dataset because all of the available information has been..."
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Stephen W. Schaeffer on Comparative Genome Sequencing of Drosophila Pseudoobscura - Fast Moving Front Commentary


Excerpt from the interview: "Data described by Richards et al. (2005) were of particular value for the Drosophila research community. The comparison of sequences between the two Drosophila species verified gene models and provided clues about sequences used to turn genes on and off ..."
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Olga Troyanskaya Discusses Her Computational Functional Genomics Research - Featured Scientist Interview


Excerpt from the interview: "This manuscript describes a probabilistic Bayesian method for the integration of diverse genome-scale data into confidence-weighted functional relationship networks among proteins, which can then be used to predict protein function. We demonstrated the principle of probabilistic data integration for functional genomics..."
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Cosette Wheeler Discusses Her HPV Research - Special Topic of Human Papillomavirus


Excerpt from the interview: "The vaccine is not a trivial expenditure of money when you consider that it does not eradicate risk or make Pap smears irrelevant. On the other hand, if we had a multivalent vaccine that targeted, say, 8-10 virus types, constituting maybe 90-95% of the human papilloma viruses that cause cervical cancer, then that would be a good thing..."
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S. Joseph Wright on Tropical Forests in a Changing Environment - Fast Moving Front Commentary


Excerpt from the interview: "The paper is a review that attempts to synthesize the impact of a wide range of anthropogenic drivers on tropical forests. Interest in this subject is intense because tropical forests support 60% of all species, influence regional climates far beyond the tropics, are a key component of the global carbon cycle..."
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(Additional interviews/commentaries will be added during September 2008)


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