Students entering Brandeis with plans to major in a life science or embark on the pre-health track tend to have a specific plan for their first semester of study. Advisers often recommend that these students begin taking introductory classes for their prospective major — usually core biology courses or General Chemistry I with lab. Sometimes, students looking to get ahead decide to take all three at once, thinking that they are taking on the work of only two and a half classes. However, adding a lab to one’s course load is actually the equivalent of adding a full-credit science course.
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In May of 2015, Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House representatives Mike Doyle (D-PA), Kevin Yoder (R-KS) and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) proposed the bipartisan Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act in Congress. Reported by committee in July of 2015, the goal of this legislation is to mandate public release of taxpayer-funded research. It would require that U.S. departments and agencies — which fund outside research through tax money — make results publicly available on the internet as soon as 12 months after they are published in a peer-reviewed journal. The FASTR bill promises to expand the public’s access to research, which would improve academic literacy and increase scientific engagement in nonacademic communities.
As a budding experimental physicist, a question I am often posed is, “Why would one spend so much money studying subatomic realms when one could spend the money …” The suggestions for where the money could or should be directed are endless; starving populations, war-stricken nations, charity, or even Wall Street. Now, before I go any further, I’d like to make it clear that while I am defending the spending of billions on esoteric physics research, I am not condoning the diversion of money from the more humanitarian causes across the planet.
Today, the University planned to welcome feminist video game critic Anita Sarkeesian to give the Martin Weiner Lecture in Computer Science at the Shapiro Campus Center. Sarkeesian, who is best known for her YouTube series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, was forced to cancel the engagement, as the University was closed on Monday due to a severe snowstorm. Tickets were free, and the event was to be well-attended, with a nearly sold-out audience. It was hosted by the Computer Science department but also sponsored by the English, Sociology, Women and Gender and Sexuality Studies and Social Justice and Social Policy departments and programs.