Author: Mike Wiser

Avida-ED for classroom research

By Mike Wiser on December 8, 2015 in Education, Research / 1 Comment
Avida-ED for classroom research

Laboratory components are often integral parts of both K-12 and college science courses. I certainly had a lot over the course of my science education; 5 courses with labs in high school, 8 in college. But for the overwhelming majority of them, I was essentially following a recipe and doing by rote things which had already been done and where the answers were already known. It was only in science-fair-style projects that I typically had any control over the questions I was asking, or how I would go about trying to answer them. But science education doesn’t have to be like that. Inquiry-based science practice is a growing part of the recommendations for science education1 2.  Thankfully, computational tools are making these practices more accessible. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By […]

What goes on in a closed-door defense session?

By Mike Wiser on November 10, 2015 in Graduate School, Information / 0 Comments
What goes on in a closed-door defense session?

Last week, I defended my dissertation. While I knew how to prepare the written dissertation, and the public talk, the third component – the closed-door session in which my committee examined me – was mysterious. I’d asked about 8 people over the years what their closed-door sessions were like, and all of them told me that they couldn’t remember. So, while my experience might not be typical, it is at least an experience, and thus potentially a useful data point. Your mileage may vary.

Measuring “fitness” in experimental systems

By Mike Wiser on September 8, 2015 in Information, Research / 0 Comments
Measuring “fitness” in experimental systems

Previously, I talked about what fitness means. Now, it’s worth taking a moment to talk about how we calculate fitness in a few of our experimental systems, both biological and computational. Because what exactly we choose to measure can result in different outcomes, the way in which we measure something is important and therefore valuable to think critically about.

What is “Fitness”?

By Mike Wiser on June 30, 2015 in Information / 1 Comment
What is “Fitness”?

One of the key concepts in evolution is fitness. You’ve probably even read something about how evolution is “survival of the fittest”. But what does that mean?   Like many terms, fitness has a specific meaning in science that’s somewhat different from what it means in everyday life.