《台灣女科技人電子報》 004期—書籍簡介

性別與科技論文/書籍介紹

Using PowerPoint to Your Advantage

作者:Corinne A. Marasco
期刊:Chemical & Engineering News
出刊日期:2008/03/31

善用說故事技術 改進你的電腦簡報 (C & EN,2008/03/31)
Five guidelines to improve the impact of your PowerPoint presentations: 1. Use sentence headlines. 2. Storyboard your presentation. 3. Move text offscreen. 4. Use pictures. 5. Slash and trash.

C & EN (Chemical & Engineering News) March 31, 2008

Home Career & Employment 》 Using PowerPoint to Your Advantage

Using PowerPoint to Your Advantage

By adopting a storytelling technique, you can improve your presentation's impact
Corinne A. Marasco

Preparing a scientific talk can be a daunting task, especially if you have just 15 or 20 minutes to discuss research you've been working on for months. Familiarity with your topic and confidence in your research are not enough, though. Advance preparation is critical to creating a quality presentation using the most ubiquitous tool, PowerPoint.

Many presentations tend to follow the same structure as scientific papers: introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, and conclusions. What that also means is that scientific papers are simply transferred onto PowerPoint slides, complete with tables and dense text that are difficult to read in a darkened meeting room. When information overload happens, a communication barrier rises between the speaker and the audience. The audience loses interest, and the speaker loses a valuable opportunity to stimulate discussion.

Cliff Atkinson wants to change that. Atkinson—an independent management consultant, speaker, and writer—is the author of "Beyond Bullet Points" (Microsoft Press, 2007), a book that describes a process to help people think about their presentations and the messages they want to communicate. He advocates adopting a storytelling technique to encourage people to move away from the entrenched way things have been done in the past. The book, he says, introduces a story template to ensure that the audience is engaged from the very beginning and to help them answer the question, "What's in it for me?"

"Presenting effectively requires a shift in thinking," Atkinson admits. "The structure of your talk should engage your audience; it should let them know why your work is relevant and interesting and why they should care. If filmmakers can communicate with narration and pictures and no text on the screen, so can anyone."

Atkinson was inspired by the work of Richard E. Mayer, a professor of educational psychology at the University of California , Santa Barbara . Mayer's research interests include multimedia learning, such as determining the effect of illustrations and narration on how people learn. According to Mayer, if your goal is simply to present information, then whether or not the audience retains that information isn't a high priority. But if your goal is to make sure that the audience remembers what you've said, then you need to design your multimedia presentation in a way that is consistent with that priority. PowerPoint, Mayer says, doesn't work when it's used to present information without regard for how people learn.

The following are five guidelines to improve the impact of your PowerPoint presentations, reduce information overload, and improve compatibility with people's learning styles.

1. Use sentence headlines.

Slides with phrased titles like "Research Results" or "Materials and Methods" don't adequately summarize the content of a slide or help the audience quickly grasp the main point. Atkinson advises that writing a complete sentence headline instead of using a phrase improves the audience's ability to process the information on a slide. "It's like reading a newspaper," he says. "You decide which story you're going to read based on the headline because the headline summarizes the story." Headlines are written with a subject and a verb: for example, "Extra Electrons Are Key To Forming Ammonium Salt."

Research by Michael Alley and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University supports Atkinson's advice. They have found that using headlines in presentation slides significantly improves retention and recall among college students ( Tech. Commun. 2006, 53, 225). This experiment took place in a large, lecture-based geosciences course. They used slides with traditionally phrased titles in two class sections and slides with succinct sentence headlines in two additional sections. "When asked to recall the main assertions of slides, the students in the sections taught with the sentence-headline slides had significantly higher recall," according to the authors.

2. Storyboard your presentation.

Moviemakers use storyboards to help visualize scenes and identify potential film problems. It's a process that can help create more interesting and compelling presentations too. Typically, people compose presentations in the " Normal " computer-screen view, which focuses on just one slide at a time. Atkinson recommends reviewing your presentation frequently in the "Slide Sorter" view to see how well your presentation flows.

In his book, Atkinson uses the metaphor "the eye of the needle" to describe the limited capacity of people's short-term memory to process new information. When you present more information than short-term memory can handle, the audience will only remember fragments. As a presenter, you can increase the amount of information the audience retains by decreasing the amount of extraneous information that appears on each slide and by seamlessly coordinating your visuals with your narration. By using the Slide Sorter, you can break your presentation into digestible portions by identifying and then editing slides that contain too much information. If you have more slides than your allotted presentation time allows, the Slide Sorter can help you decide how to narrow your focus.

"Start with a structure that engages your audience and lays out the map of information to follow," Atkinson says.

3. Move text offscreen.

It's tempting to fill the wide-open space of a PowerPoint slide with lots of text, but that's exactly what you should not do. It's too much information to fit through "the eye of the needle" and overwhelms the audience.

"A slide is not a research paper," Atkinson says. "They are two different mediums. The evidence shows that when you read the text that's presented on the screen, you impair the audience's ability to comprehend. People process what they read and what they hear at two different speeds."

To reduce the visual load, Atkinson recommends moving the bulk of the text off the slide and using it as the narrative for your talk. If you do this by using the "Notes Page" view, you can plan what you want to say for each slide. Adding a graphic to the slide, which ties the headline and narration together, allows the audience to focus on what you're saying because the main point of the slide should be clear.

Look at the screen and the paper as a team. When possible, have copies of your paper available to be read later, but the live presentation should distill the most important information for the audience.

4. Use pictures.

As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Sometimes those thousand words all seem to show up on one slide. Admittedly, it's easier to use bullet points on a slide, largely because they remind you of what you want to say. When you reduce the amount of information on one slide for the audience to digest, you're left with a smaller amount of information to illustrate.

Atkinson says the slides and the narrative need to work together. "The spoken words are the backbone, and you guide understanding with images," he says. "The world is visual. We're shifting from predominantly presenting ideas in text to a visual-verbal way of communicating."

5. Slash and trash.

If you have information that does not support the main topic of your presentation, get rid of it. "When you're writing a paper, you're immersed in facts, methodology, outcomes, and data," Atkinson says. "You've spent so much time on the topic that you know it well. In a live presentation, you have to focus on your listeners and figure out the most relevant facts they may be interested in." If you cut information, you can always add it back later.

Atkinson is his own best advertising. In 2005, he designed a PowerPoint presentation, with more than 250 slides, that helped persuade a jury to award a $253 million verdict to the plaintiff in the nation's first Vioxx trial. In September 2004, Merck withdrew the drug voluntarily after studies confirmed an increased risk of cardiovascular events for patients on Vioxx ( C&EN, Oct. 4, 2004, page 8 ).

"We told a simple story that explained the science in a way that the jurors understood," he says. "The other side used a traditional PowerPoint approach with complex charts and graphs that went over the jurors' heads. If you can't explain things in a way that people understand, you've lost your ability to persuade them to adopt your ideas or change their mind."

"If filmmakers can communicate with narration and pictures and no text on the screen, so can anyone."

"The structure of your talk should engage your audience; it should let them know why your work is relevant and interesting and why they should care."

Applied Science

Better PowerPoint Through Cognitive Science

Harvard University cognitive scientist Stephen M. Kosslyn explained how cognitive science has contributed to improving PowerPoint presentations at last month's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Kosslyn, the author of "Clear and to the Point," is an expert in visual mental imagery and visual communication. His book extends the principles of cognitive science to delivering information in a clear, compelling, and memorable way.

In his talk, Kosslyn summarized his four rules of PowerPoint.

Goldilocks Rule: Present just the right amount of information for what you want to say—not too much or too little. Too much information doesn't help the audience understand your main point. Too little information leaves the audiences to puzzle out what you're saying.

Rudolph Rule: Make information stand out and guide your audience to important details, much like Rudolph the Reindeer's red nose. If there's a relevant piece of data in your slide, for example, use a different color, use boldface type, or put a circle around it.

Rule of Four: The brain can generally hold four pieces of visual information simultaneously, so don't overwhelm your audience with slides that are jam-packed with text and data.

Birds of a Feather Rule: Organize information into groups. For example, use the same color.

More details of Kosslyn's talk can be found at the science blog io9 ( io9.com/357063/how-cognitive-science-can- improve-your-powerpoint-presentations ).

 

Creationist postdoc loses lawsuit

作者:Alla Katsnelson
期刊:The Scientist
出刊日期:2008/04/29

The Scientist NewsBlog: http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/print/54616/

Creationist postdoc loses lawsuit Posted by Alla Katsnelson
[Entry posted at 29th April 2008 10:53 PM GMT ]

View comments(43) | Comment on this blog    

A Massachusetts federal court judge last week (April 22) dismissed the case against a researcher at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution who allegedly fired a postdoc in his lab because of the postdoc's creationist beliefs.

The postdoc, Nathaniel Abraham, was dismissed from his position in the lab of molecular toxicologist Mark Hahn in November, 2004, after revealing that he believed in the literal truth of the Bible and considered evolution to be not a fact but a theory. Hahn's lab studies the evolution of molecular mechanisms of chemical signaling and adaptation to chemical exposure.

Abraham filed a discrimination complaint against Hahn, which was rejected by the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination. He then filed suit against Mark Hahn and the institute last November, arguing, according to court documents, that he had been hired to work in Hahn's lab because of his expertise in zebrafish developmental biology, toxicology, and programmed cell death, and that "acceptance of evolution as scientific fact rather than theory (in contravention of his sincerely held religious beliefs) was in no way a bona fide occupational qualification of employment."

The defendants, however, argued that Abraham did not file the lawsuit within the timeframe specified by law. Furthermore, the court documents stated, research in Hahn's lab "would have involved application of evolutionary principles without qualifications concerning the acceptance of evolution."

Hahn's attorney declined to comment on the case; Abraham's attorney did not return a phone message requesting comment.

Rate this article Rating: 3.74 /5 (66 votes )

Comment on this blog

 

DNA光環背後的奇女子—羅莎琳˙法蘭克林的一生

作者:Brenda Maddox
譯者:楊玉齡
出版:天下文化
/2004

羅莎琳•法蘭克林所拍的第五十一號 DNA 照片是「有史以來拍得最漂亮的 X 射線照片之一」。在她不知情的情況下,照片流到華森手上,他一眼看出這是 DNA 螺旋的明證。

華森與克里克於 1953 年解開了雙螺旋結構,堪稱二十世紀生物學最重大的發現。克里克後來寫道:「我們之所以能摸索出 DNA 的結構,是基於韋爾金斯、法蘭克林以及與他們合作的人員所提供的 X 射線圖形……」

1962 年,華森、克里克與韋爾金斯因而榮獲諾貝爾生理醫學獎。然而,一般人仍不知道羅莎琳是誰。直到 1968 年,華森發表自傳《雙螺旋》講述這段歷史,把她化身為名叫「羅西」的壞脾氣女學究。

但羅莎琳已於 1958 年因卵巢癌早逝,無法為自己辯解。本書還原她的真實面貌——美麗又有天分、勇敢卻又敏感;讓她重新為世人所認識。

本書贏得:
2002 年洛杉磯時報科學及科技書獎、 2003 年瑪許傳記獎!
入圍: 2002 年惠特筆傳記書獎的決選名單!

作者簡介
布蘭妲•馬杜克斯( Brenda Maddox )曾任《經濟學人》雜誌的內政新聞主編、英國科學作家協會主席,目前為英國皇家學會科學暨社會委員會的成員。現在居住於倫敦及威爾斯中部。
委員會的成員。現在居住於倫敦及威爾斯中部。曾多次贏得最佳傳記獎,作品翻譯成十種以上的文字。她的著作《諾拉:喬哀思夫人傳》( Nora: A Biography of Nora Joyce )接連贏得《洛杉磯時報》傳記獎、銀筆獎、法國的最佳外語書籍著作獎,並入圍英國布克獎的決選名單;《勞倫斯:已婚男人》( D. H. Lawrence: The Married Man )贏得 Whitbread 傳記獎。《葉慈的鬼魂:葉慈的祕密生活》( Yeats\ ' s Ghosts: The Secret Life of W. B. Yeats )入圍 Samuel John son 獎決選名單。

譯者簡介
楊玉齡,輔仁大學生物系畢業。曾任《牛頓》雜誌副總編輯、《天下》雜誌資深文稿編輯。目前為自由撰稿人,專事科學書籍翻譯、寫作。
從事科學傳播工作多年,採訪報導作品散見《牛頓》雜誌第六期至第九十四期;著作有《台灣蛇毒傳奇》、《肝炎聖戰》(皆與羅時成合著)、《一代醫人杜聰明》,譯作有《雁鵝與勞倫茲》、《基因聖戰》、《人類傳奇》、《伊甸園外的生命長河》、《達爾文與小獵犬號》、《大自然的獵人》、《螞蟻與孔雀》(上、下)、《DNA的語言》、《瘟疫與人》、《想像的未來》、《我的生日不見了》、《露骨──X射線檔案》、《露骨──醫學造影檔案》、《佛克曼醫師的戰爭》、《生物圈的未來》、《試管中的惡魔》、《DNA光環背後的奇女子》(皆為天下文化出版)以及《番茄一號》(遠流出版)。其中,《肝炎聖戰》榮獲科學普及著作的最高榮譽「第一屆吳大猷科學普及著作獎──創作類金籤獎」,《生物圈的未來》獲「第二屆吳大猷科學普及著作獎──翻譯類金籤獎」。

 

布巴奇計謀》
作者:翟若適(Djerassi)
編者:鄭至麗
出版:聯合文學/1999

本書以深入淺出的描述,介紹了曾獲一九九三年諾貝爾化學獎的重大發現--PCR﹝聚合連鎖反應﹞。PCR已成為當今所有DNA檢驗不可或缺的生化技術。作者更以他一向關懷女性議題的立場,塑造一位聰明、自信、學術有成的老太太;她專研十八世紀的法國史,對當代的婦女人物更是如數家珍。老太太坦然面對自己的死亡與情慾,在故事中以主角的姿態不僅設計出「布巴奇計謀」,更推展了一段黃昏之戀。

本書是Djerassi所創作的「四部曲」小說中的第二部,和「康特的難題」同樣是以科學界的人物為角色,而且在書名上也用了數學界的人物。不過,本書的內容卻是與標題極為契合。

「布巴奇(Bourbaki)」事實上是一個虛構的人物,不過「他」的確在數學史上佔有一席之地。「他」是由一群法國數學家所組成的群體,使用集體筆名「尼可拉斯•布巴奇」來發表有關於數學的論文。據說布巴奇的成員時常變動,由於「他」的名氣漸增,大家也不再去推敲「他」(或他們)的真實身份了。或者用網路術語來講,布巴奇是數學界當中的一個「公用帳號」。

本書是以四位生化界的退休教授為主軸,他們不願承認自己已缺乏科學創造力,因此便藉著一個捏造的人名-「黛安娜•思果第歷斯」,以及一位年輕的女博士研究生的參與,繼續參與學術研究,為的是要證明自己的能力。除了這些角色之外,作者還塑造了一位年進八旬的前衛女性,在本書中,她不僅催生了這個團體,而且也提供了另一個觀察科學研究運作的觀點。正如作者所說,這本書探討著兩個議題:「學界同氣連枝的關係」以及「現代科學核心的合作精神和科學家內心深處對個人名聲的熱望互相衝突」。主角原本是出於「報復」的心理,而衍生出這個團體。當他們深入進行研究時,昔日的學術熱情、創造力又再度湧現。然而當這個虛擬角色-黛安娜•思果第歷斯,獲致重要的學術地位時,他們又必須去面對自己不甘於「隱姓埋名」的心情。其中的起伏,正是以人入勝之處。

本書同樣也是一本科學小說,當中另一個主角就是PCR(聚合連鎖反應)。作者也企圖藉由本書將PCR革命性的發展(當然不是書中的情節)可能的應用,以平易近人的語言解說清楚。當然作者依舊在書中,再度表達出對科學界蔑視女性科學研究者的批判。

此外,書中也提出了三種「布巴奇」運作模式,然而不論是「歸納整理」型、或是「質疑批判」型、或是「研究創新」型,都勢必要面對「渴望個人名聲」的挑戰。或許「功成不居」並不是個容易的選擇。

 

 

我所認識的翟若適教授和他的四部曲小說

吳嘉麗

十年前經由當時在淡江客座的印度卡普爾教授之介紹,我們非常高興在國科會的贊助下,得以邀請在化學界,尤其是有機化學界,無人不曉的翟若適教授來訪。在此之前,專業為有機天然物化學的我,只知道在質譜和旋光的應用方面,常常用到翟教授的書和理論。看了他的簡介,才知道原來今天很多婦女仍然在服用的避孕藥,就是他當年合成的,也因此獲得美國國家科學獎(1973年),並選入美國國家發明人榮譽廳的榮譽榜(1978年)。他的科學成就與獲獎無數,身為美國國家科學院的院士,以及美國藝術與科學院的院士,大約已可簡明代表。

一九八九年翟教授來訪時,我有幸接待。更詫異的發現他竟然也在史丹福大學的婦女研究中心開課,諸如「生育控制的生物社會觀」之類。他從避孕藥的合成,而自然的關心到節育問題、人口問題、蟲害問題、第三世界的問題,乃至婦女問題。身為婦女新知基金會創始至今的義工,我與翟教授之間當然又多了一個議題可談。翟教授的夫人,米德布魯克(Middlebrook,Diane)教授,任教於史丹福大學英文系,一向關心女性議題,也曾擔任該校婦女研究中心主任。

翟教授喜歡現代藝術,他自己就是一位收藏家。為了紀念過世的藝術家女兒,1979年成立了一個基金會(Djerassi Foundation),在舊金山近郊有一個廣大的莊園,接待世界各地年輕的藝術家在那兒免費居住數週至數月,以便提供一個最佳的創作環境(Resident Artists Program at SMTP Ranch)。

翟教授興趣廣泛,科學研究從不會只停留在一個領域。他常說他不是純科學家,年輕時因緣際會,加入墨西哥的墨合(Syntex)製藥公司而參與了避孕藥的合成與上市。後來他雖然走入學術界,也從來沒有完全離開過工業界,先後創立過數個新公司或擔任公司顧問。翟教授還喜歡文學,他常常寫詩,往往利用會議中無聊的時刻一心二用,完成詩作,已有一本詩集出版。他寫自己的傳記,寫短篇小說,仍然意猶未盡,終於完成了這一套四本的長篇小說,他稱為四部曲,因為書中的幾位主角在四個故事中穿插出現。

四本小說都以科學界為背景,探討科學界的人、事、物。第一本《康特的難題》(Cantor's Dilemma) 原文本於1989年出版。這個故事以名教授康特為主角,他在腫瘤研究方面有傑出的成就與創新的理論,因此與他的博士後研究員,也是他當年的博士生共同榮獲諾貝爾獎。但是他最受矚目、且因而被提名的那篇論文實驗,卻被同行的另一競爭對手發現無法重複驗證。翟教授藉著這個虛構的故事,探討科學界的倫理關係、師生關係、同行競爭、人文與科學界論文發表的習慣差異,甚至女性科學家的窘境,也略有觸及。也許為了故事情節的發展,也為了反應當今美國社會的某些現象,同居、同性戀、師生約會等情節都在小說中出現。

第二本《布巴奇計謀》(The Bourbaki Gambit)原文本於1994年出版。這個故事以幾位退休教授為主軸,他們不甘心承認自己已無科學創造力,為了證明自己的能力,遂隱性埋名,藉著一個捏造的人名和一位年輕的女博士研究生之參與,發表了一系列的論文。沒想到他們的一項發現—聚合連鎖反應,PCR—竟是一項生物化學界的突破。如何接受頒獎,誰去領獎引起爭議之外,也開始檢驗人性。從事科學研究真的不想求名嗎 ?

PCR是真有其事,1993年的諾貝爾化學獎即頒給此項發現。簡單說,這項生物技術是去氧核糖核酸(DNA)的複印機,已成為今日各項DNA檢驗不可或缺的技術,在這本小說裡,作者還塑造了一位年近八十歲的傑出前衛女性,她研究十八世紀的法國婦女史,在她寡居的歲月,主動追求愛情。反之,故事中較年輕的男主角教授則被動、羞怯、保守。

第三本小說《曼那欽的種》(Menachem's Seed) 英文本於1997年出版。這個故事雖然也是以科學家為主角,卻幾乎未談及科學理論。背景是以有名的「布格瓦科學與國際事務研討會」(Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs)為藍本,虛擬為 「克齊堡研討會」,在這個會議中來自美國、研究生殖技術的女主角,與來自以色列某大學已婚的副校長有一段大膽的激情。年近不惑的女主角利用她所熟悉的體外受精先進生物技術,偷了自認為早年因受核輻射已不可能生育的男主角的精子,而產下一子,成為單親媽媽。

故事中較嚴肅的部分則穿插了中東政治問題,以色列對核武的立場,以及轟炸伊拉克等討論。「布格瓦研討會」一向邀請世界頂尖的科學家,討論科學與全世界相關的各種議題,如核子武器、人口節育、環保、臭氧層等問題。1995年的諾貝爾和平獎即頒給了主張並推動限制核武的這個會議。

《曼那欽的種》故事的續集出現在作者的第四部曲《NO》這部小說中。《NO 》的英文本於 1998 年出版。《NO》的字面翻譯是「不」或「否定」,但這個化學符號代表的卻是一氧化氮。這個小小的氣體分子近年來可是風雲角色,1995年的諾貝爾化學獎和1998年的諾貝爾醫學獎的頒發均與它有關。1998年治療男性陽痿的藥「威而剛」上市,造成全球轟動。而《NO》這個故事的主角雖然不是威而剛,卻有異曲同工之妙。本篇情節除了介紹不少真實的生物醫學理論外.更談及科技工業化的問題。美國科技界的「外國人」愈來愈多,尤其亞洲人。所以作者以一個自大學起即在美國讀書的印度女科學家為主角,企圖帶入種族文化,女科學家的專業與家庭,產品上市的集資與行銷,避免不了的法律訴訟,單親家庭,男性管家等等議題。

從翟教授的這四本小說中,處處可見他本人的風采與理念。他將科學的生硬知識、科學社群的生態及真人真事以淺易生動的小說形式介紹;小說中的女性都具有聰明、睿智、獨立、自信而且開放的特色 ; 某些科學家的音樂、藝術修養似乎就是作者本人的化身。如果說翟教授的小說不似一般言情小說般的令人感動,實在是因為他企圖在小說故事中負載太多的使命。

翟教授於1992年再度獲頒美國化學會的最高榮譽普利斯萊獎,以表彰他過去幾十年來在科學與社會方面的貢獻。1997年美國化學會75週年,由會員票選75位百年來傑出貢獻的化學家。這些高票獲選者中,35位為諾貝爾獎得主,28位為美國化學會的普利斯萊獎得主,在世者有32位,翟教授即為其中之一。在小說《布巴奇計謀》中,即將或已退休的教授仍努力從事科學研究,以期證明他們的創新能力,而現實世界中,已退休的翟教授則是從小說寫作中開創他的另一片天空。

翟若適教授網頁 http://www.djerassi.com