Presenting Research, Humorously

The powerpoint-driven Scientific Seminar is a mainstay of academia in general, and graduate education specifically. Variations in scientific content aside, these talks share a remarkable consistency of format and tone. At this years Neuroscience Program student retreat, we (now former) first-year graduate students riffed on the ubiquitous nature of neuroscience seminars; the common use of overly artistic representations of the brain, the buzzword filled introductory slides, and the obligatory neuronal stains by Ramon y Cajal (complete with tribute photograph of that most esteemed scientist). To continue the celebration of the Scientific Seminar, a demonstration from a recent AAAS session, that makes the entirely humorous observation that those who present science often employ remarkably stereotyped verbal patterns. So stereotyped that you can almost follow the gist of the talk even if you couldn't understand the content of the presentation. Or if there was, in fact, no content at all...

(And for those of you wanting a closer look at some of those figures/formulae)


Astra Bryant

Astra Bryant is a graduate of the Stanford Neuroscience PhD program in the labs of Drs. Eric Knudsen and John Huguenard. She used in vitro slice electrophysiology to study the cellular and synaptic mechanisms linking cholinergic signaling and gamma oscillations – two processes critical for the control of gaze and attention, which are disrupted in many psychiatric disorders. She is a senior editor and the webmaster of the NeuWrite West Neuroblog