Bill’s Blog – Sept 1, 2014

Welcome to the UW Research Blog!  We are very excited to roll out this new blog site designed to share your scholarship stories and let people know what’s new in research and creative activity at UW! Below are four (4) definitions which have helped guide me through my first posting on the Research Blog:

Research (n) – 1. Careful search; a close searching. 2. Studious inquiry; usually critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation having for its aim the revision of accepted conclusions, in light of newly discovered facts. (Webster’s definition)

Scholar (n)  – 1.  One who has engaged in the advanced study and acquired knowledge in some special field. (Webster’s definition)

Scholarly (adj) –1.  Like, characteristic of, or suitable to a scholar, or learned person; learned.  (adv.) Like or as befits a scholar. (Webster’s definition)

Human endeavor –It is any action that a person would take in order to achieve a worthwhile objective. Broadly speaking human endeavors would include major achievements such as walking on the moon, climbing Mount Everest and doing a heart transplant. Smaller endeavors and everyday actions should however not be discounted such as building a company, writing a book or singing in an opera. (Yahoo best answer submitted by Charl H)

Research and scholarly work is a human endeavor, but to many it is mysterious.  I am a scientist and in many ways this defines who I am and especially how I think, but I also have a life outside of science.  I have a family, favorite baseball teams, I enjoy music of all kinds, I wish I were a better artist, and I wish I could play something other than an electronic device.  Best of all, any day spent fishing is a good day.   All of this is important and puts a personal stamp on my activity and life.

Bill Gern Skiing

Bill enjoying the outdoors on a ski trip.

We have created the Research Blog to give voice to the human side of UW scholarship. Here we can talk about why research was done, why a book was written, why a work of art or music was created.  Our professional careers depend on our ability to create new knowledge or works of art and literature or new applications of knowledge and tell about those in a structured way through peer-reviewed outlets.  The Research Blog is where UW scholars can write about the human side of their professional lives – why they did something, what led them to UW and their selected field of study, how they talk about their work in a classroom, what gives them passion.

The Research Blog can translate our scholarly work for the public at large.  While we share new knowledge or new applications or analysis of existing knowledge in journals and books, performances, works of art etc., oftentimes in a structured, arcane way, we rarely tell the “inside story” of how our work came about.  That is the purpose of the Research Blog – to humanize our endeavors.  Hopefully it will make us a more cohesive University and more understandable to those outside the institution.

The Blog has six channels for UW faculty, staff and students to enter blog-posts:

Discoveries – Here we invite posts from people who have been highlighted in the UW news to write about the personal side of the major advance.  Every week members of the UW community are recognized for their scholarship, and we need to have those people give the human side of the story.

Cool Labs – Here we talk about the facilities, equipment, technology, etc. that enable our scholarship.  This section of the blog will focus on things “new” at UW and how they will help with how we function as scholars.  These posts could feature a new grand piano or a new GPU based computer or renovated space, for example.

Student Research – Every day our undergraduate and graduates students contribute as scholars.  This channel is for students and their faculty mentors to discuss student success.  Posts written jointly by students and mentors would be terrific.  UW students chosen to participate in a regional or national gathering of some type could also blog about the experience.

The Inside Story – We are looking for faculty to highlight why they do their scholarship, why that pursuit is exciting, how research is changing.    We want to see many posts on the blog, not just those highlighted in the Discoveries section.

Innovation – This channel will highlight how ideas are moved from the work of our scholars into the private sector.  It is the place for discussions about entrepreneurship andlessons learned by faculty and staff entrepreneurs relative to bringing ideas into the private sector for the betterment of society.

Bill’s Blog – This is a channel for discussion about trends in research on campus, federal funding, and major issues we are encountering as scholars and academics.

We are fortunate to have Bryan Shader, Special Assistant – Research Computing, and Troy Axthelm, both in the Research Office, working with the campus community to fill each of these seven channels initially, but we hope that as the Research Blog grows, news items come to us spontaneously.  UW scholars are hereby invited to send in their blog posts.  We are looking for posts of about 600-750 words.  The site has the capability to handle photos and other forms of media, so be sure to share these too.

Mr. Troy Axthelm, a graduate student in Computer Science from Cody, WY, did a terrific job putting this site together, making it as nearly automatic as possible and with a great deal of functionality.  Troy is a great example of a terrific UW student.

Remember this blog is for our colleagues and the general public to better understand the lives of university scholars, so please use it wisely.

One thought on “Bill’s Blog – Sept 1, 2014

  1. Pingback: Science blog for public launched by UW - SweetwaterNOW

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