Ask science anything with #MendeleyWall @ New Scientist Live 22-25th September

If I could ask science anything…

Mendeley is inviting attendees of New Scientist Live to ask our community, and the wider scientific world, all their deep burning questions about science! Mendeley’s mission is to help researchers showcase their work to the world and this is a great opportunity to connect researchers and experts with the general public.

We’ll be collecting people’s questions through the medium of a message wall and Tweeting questions to our 15,000 followers using #MendeleyWall during the whole New Scientist Live event (22th – 25th September).

We’re at stand number 1224 near the Brains & Body demonstration area, so if you are attending come and say hi!

Besides the Great Mendeley Wall, our stand will feature hands-on science and technology activities. All the activities follow our Mendeley Hack Day idea in that they are reproducible and accessible to DIY.

Learn how to build a smartphone microscope, see and feel microscopic objects made tangible by our 3D printer, try some coding projects, and learn more about Citizen Science and how you can get involved with research!

NS-NS_Live_header_What_If_v1

We invite you, to use us as conduit for connecting with the New Scientist Live audience (an expected 25,000 attendees) by helping answer #MendeleyWall questions via Twitter, and hopefully inspiring people to walk away with a newly-ignited passion for science. We’ll be aligning topics with the New Scientist Live core themes, so expect questions on Earth, Cosmos, Technology, and Brain & Body.

To find out more about the #MendeleyWall and how you can get involved please feel free to reach out to jonathan.beyer@mendeley.com to discuss, please keep an eye on #MendeleyWall during the show and jump in if you see a question that you can answer!

Or if you have any questions you’d like answered comment down below.

There are still discount tickets available for the event here.

Follow us on social media to keep up to date
https://twitter.com/mendeley_com
https://www.facebook.com/mendeley

"Follow your passion and your curiosity" – Meet Dr Sarah Noble, Planetary Geologist at NASA

NASA_logoIn July, some of us Mendeleyans had the amazing privilege to fly over to Washington to visit the NASA HQ for the New Horizons Pluto Flyby. During our trip, we had the chance to meet some of NASA’s scientists, one of whom is planetary geologist and a program scientist Sarah Noble. Sarah’s specific interested are in space weathering on environments such as the Moon, Mercury, and asteroids.

We recently got in contact with Sarah again, to speak with her about being a women in planetary geology.

Who are you and what do you do?

I am a program scientist at NASA Headquarters. In my job I have two main hats to wear, grants management and mission work. I manage several Research and Analysis (R&A) programs for the planetary science division, making sure that we find and fund the best planetary research. I also serve as a program scientist on missions, like the recent LADEE mission to the Moon, and I’m currently the Deputy Program Scientist for our next Mars rover, Mars 2020. A program scientist serves as a sort of liaison between HQ and the science team, it’s our job to make sure that the mission actually produces good science. I also get to do a little science once in a while, my research is mostly working with Apollo samples to understand the effects of space weathering on the properties of lunar rocks and soils.

Is this what you wanted to be, when you were growing up? If not, what did you want to become?

I think I always knew that I would work for NASA, though as a kid, of course, I wanted to be an astronaut, didn’t every kid?

What is your background and how did you get to where you are now?

I started my undergrad as an aerospace engineering major (because it was the only major with the word “space” in it), but quickly realized that I was much more interested in science than engineering. I switched to geology and fell in love with it, I also minored in both political science and art, because why not? I continued on the geology path in graduate school, specializing in planetary geology. After completing my PhD, I took a year or so off from science to scratch my political science itch and went to work for Congress. As an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow, I worked as a committee staffer for the Space and Aeronautics subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology. Then I went back to science, in what I like to call my “NASA-nomad phase, where in the span of a few years I worked at NASA Johnson Space Center, then NASA HQ, then NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, then NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and finally back to NASA HQ.

Apart from being a lunar/planetary, what else are you/do you do?

In my spare time, I’m an artist. My day job tends to leak over into my art, most of my paintings are of the Moon and planets – they are so beautiful and amazing that I can’t help but paint them.

What are the best and worst parts about working in planetary geology?

In planetary science, we literally get to discover new worlds. Like NASA’s New Horizons mission that flew by Pluto this summer, giving us our very first pictures, and ESA’s Rosetta mission that has brought us incredible views of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. And every time, every new world, they are more amazing and incredible than we had imagined. But it’s a two-sided coin, space is hard, and vast, so our data is always limited. It took New Horizons nine and a half years to get to Pluto (and that’s just from launch, it doesn’t include the nearly three decades of work lobbying, planning, proposing, and building to get the mission off the ground), it will be a long time before we go back.

Is there a problem attracting girls/women to planetary science?

At the graduate school level, we are doing pretty well, about 40% of planetary grad students are women. Recruiting isn’t the problem, retaining is a bigger issue. Those numbers fall off precipitously among tenured faculty and senior researchers.

Have you had any role models or mentors in your field/during your career? If so, how did they support/encourage you?

My PhD advisor, Carle Pieters, was/is an amazing mentor.  She was a women in planetary science back when there weren’t any women in planetary science.  When I was her graduate student, her door was always open and whenever I would knock on it, no matter how busy she was (and believe me, she was always busy), she would give me her full attention. No phone calls, no quick glances at her computer, her full attention, which taught me that what I had to say was important and worthwhile.

Are there any particular challenges you’ve faced as a woman in STEM?

Imposter syndrome (the feeling that you are not as smart or qualified as those around you and that one day you will be found out) is something that I have struggled with. It turns out to be quite common among scientists, particularly female scientists, and actually I have found it to be very comforting and reassuring to realize that most of the people around me are struggling with the same feelings. One thing I try to remember to do when I mentor early career scientists is to talk about my failures, not just my successes, it’s important to realize that everybody fails sometimes and it’s not the end of the world. When we only talk about our successes it makes us appear superhuman, and that can be a tough standard to compare yourself to.

What has been your best experience, as a women in STEM?

I help run the Women in Planetary Sciences event at our annual meeting, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. I used to attend those events when I was a graduate student and it would be maybe twenty people crammed into someone hotel room swapping war stories. Now we fill up the big ballroom, well over a hundred women (and a few men) gathering to support each other and offer advice. Every year as the women are gathering, I take a minute to look around, take in the scene, and remember how far we’ve come.

Sarah Noble 4
Women’s in Planetary Science Event 2012

Is there anything you wish you’d had, to support your career path?

My career path has not been a straight line, I have stepped away from doing research, first to work for Congress, then again at HQ, and I wish there had been more people telling me that that was okay, that getting a tenure-track faculty job wasn’t the only correct path, that I wasn’t “throwing away my science career”. I have no regrets about those decisions, they were the right ones for me, and I love my job. There are lots of ways to be a scientist, and all of them are valid career choices if you end up happy and fulfilled.

Which woman in STEM, dead or alive, do you most admire, and why?

I’m a big fan of Poppy Northcutt – She was the first women engineer to work in mission control and helped to design the return-to-Earth trajectory for Apollo 8. There’s a great picture of her in mission control, fashionably dressed, tousled blond hair, sitting in the midst of a sea of men in short-sleeved white shirts with ties and horn-rimmed glasses – the unofficial uniform of Apollo. One of these things is not like the others, clearly, and yet, everything about her body language and expression says she was right where she belonged, comfortable and confident. It’s hard to be the first, the only, and I love that she didn’t shy away from her “otherness”, didn’t buy herself a white shirt and horn-rimmed glasses.

What advice and encouragement can you offer to girls wanting to enter a career in STEM?

Follow your passion and your curiosity. Science is hard, but if you love it, it’s worth it.

What is your science/tech dream?

Part of me still wants to be an astronaut, or more to the point, I want to visit the Moon, do some field geology, see the Earth rise over the horizon.

 

If you are, or know, a women in STEM who would be interested in contributing to our Women in STEM blog series, then please email us! We’d love to here your story!

New research features on Mendeley.com!

They’re here! Your new research features are now visible on Mendeley.com – check it out now!

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 14.43.39

Feature: Suggest
Mendeley’s Data Science team have been working to crack one of the hardest “big data” problems of all: How to recommend interesting articles that users might want to read? For the past six months they have been working to integrate 6 large data sets from 3 different platforms to create the basis for a recommender system. These data sets often contain tens of millions of records each, and represent different dimensions which can all be applied to the problem of understanding what a user is looking for, and providing them with a high-quality set of recommendations.

With the (quite literally) massive base data set in place, the team then tested over 50 different recommender algorithms against a “gold standard” (which was itself revised five times for the best possible accuracy). Over 500 experiments have been done to tweak our algorithms so they can deliver the best possible recommendations. The basic principle is to combine our vast knowledge of what users are storing in their Mendeley libraries, combined with the richness of the citation graph (courtesy of Scopus), with a predictive model that can be validated against what users actually did. The end result is a tailored set of recommendations for each user who has a minimum threshold of documents in their library.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 15.08.26

We are happy to report that two successive rounds of qualitative user testing have indicated that 80% of our test users rated the quality of their tailored recommendations as “Very good” (43%) or “Good” (37%), which gives us confidence that the vast majority of Mendeley reference management users will receive high-quality recommendations that will save them time in discovering important papers they should be reading.

For those who are new to Mendeley, we have made it easy for you to get started and import your documents – simply drag-and-drop your papers, and get high-quality recommendations.

fine tune suggest

On our new “Suggest” page you’ll be getting improved article suggestions, driven by four different recommendation algorithms to support different scientific needs:

  • Popular in your discipline – Shows you the seminal works, for all time, in your field
  • Trending in your discipline – Shows you what articles are popular right now in your discipline
  • Based on the last document in your library – Gives you articles similar to the one you just added
  • Based on all the documents in your library – Provides the most tailored set of recommended articles by comparing the contents of your library with the contents of all other users on Mendeley.

Suggestions you receive will be frequently recalculated and tailored to you based on the contents of your library, making sure that there is always something new for you to discover. This is no insignificant task, as we are calculated over 25 million new recommendations with each iteration. This means that even if you don’t add new documents to your library, you will still get new recommendations based on the activity of other Mendeley users with libraries similar to yours.

To find your recommended articles, check out www.mendeley.com/suggest and begin the discover new papers in your field!

Feature: Stats
If you are a published author, Mendeley’s “Stats” feature provides you with a unique, aggregated view of how your published articles are performing in terms of citations, Mendeley sharing, and (depending on who your article was published with) downloads/views. You can also drill down into each of your published articles to see the statistics on each item you have published. This powerful tool allows you to see how your work is being used by the scientific community, using data from a number of sources including Mendeley, Scopus, NewsFlo, and ScienceDirect.

HybridProfile

Stats gives you an aggregated view on the performance of your publications, including metrics such as citations, Mendeley readership and group activity, academic discipline and status of your readers, as well as any mentions in the news media – helping you to understand and evaluate the impact of your published work. With our integration with ScienceDirect, you can find information on views (PDF and HMTL downloads), search terms used to get to your article, geographic distribution of your readership, and links to various source data providers.

Please keep in mind that Stats are only available for some published authors whose works are listed in the Scopus citation database. To find out if your articles are included, just visit www.mendeley.com/stats and begin the process of claiming your Scopus author profile. If not, please be patient as we work further on this feature.

Feature: Profile
Mendeley has restyled and simplified the profile page to make it easier to use with improved layout and visual impact. The card-based design and progress bar make updating profile fields a breeze, while the brand new publications feature allows published authors to bulk import their publications from Scopus, de-duplicate them and showcase their work in the publications section. This more comprehensive publications list can also improve the quality of the article recommendations available via Mendeley Suggest.

Screen Shot 2015-11-03 at 15.11.58

Feature: Mendeley supports Elsevier sign in
If you’ve registered with another Elsevier product such as My Research Dashboard, ScienceDirect alerts or Scopus, you can now use the same username and password to sign in to Mendeley rather than registering a new account. This will save you from having to remember (yet another!) username and password, as well as giving you access to Stats based on Scopus if this information is already held in your Elsevier account.

Mendeley.com now features a new navigation, which makes it easier to move around the site and makes our Apps clearer and snappier. As always, we welcome your feedback – please comment on this post or head over to our feedback channel, and help us to improve Mendeley further.

Mendeley Celebrate New Horizons' Pluto Flyby in Washington D.C.

Mendeley DC 1

In June we announced that NASA’s Science Program Manager Adriana Ocampo had extended a very special invite for the Mendeley team to be at NASA HQ to witness the Pluto New Horizons Encounter! Naturally we were excited about this incredible opportunity… so much so that we focused four of our internal hack-days on space-themed hacks, and the hackers that received the most votes won places on the trip across the ocean (we’ll tell you all about the hacks in an upcoming blog post).

So after lots of planning and preparation, off we flew to Washington DC with 20 space enthusiasts from the Mendeley, Elsevier and Newsflo team…

NASA HQ

Upon arrival in D.C. the team was almost too excited to sleep in anticipation of the early rise for the July 14th New Horizon’s closest approach to Pluto at NASA HQ scheduled for 7.49 am (EST)!

We were struck with the real gravity of what was happening – The New Horizons mission, to the Dwarf Planet Pluto, is a pioneering feat of astronomical research that was launched back in January 2006, and this would be the first time ever that we’d be able to see properly see Pluto – and we were there to witness the final arrival at this far distant world.

“We don’t know exactly what we’ll see, but we know from decades of experience in first-time exploration of new planets that we will be very surprised” – Ralph McNutt, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL).

We waited patiently in the auditorium until the countdown began… 10… 9… 8… after 9.5 years, a total of 3463 days of traveling up to 47,000 mph for more than 3 billion miles, New Horizons was finally making it’s Pluto Flyby… 3… 2… 1… 0!!!!

After the excitement died down, we were lucky to be joined by two NASA staff – Planetary Geologist Sarah Noble and Planetary Science Division Program Officer Christina Richey. These two knowledgeable Women in STEM talked to us about the mission, answering all of our questions about New Horizons and Pluto.

During the event, we were joined in the auditorium by a class of Colombian school children who were learning about planetary science. Our Spanish speaking Software Engineer, Carles Pina, was subsequently involved in some spontaneous outreach and took the time to talk to the school group about programming and why it’s a useful skill – inspiring the next generation of Software Engineers!

We also had the privilege of interviewing Beth Beck, NASA’s Open Innovation Program Manager, about New Horizons as well as issues and solutions for women in data. You can watch the video here.

Museum

After lunch in the botanical gardens, we had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Our guide, U.S. Air Force veteran Vince, gave us a wonderfully educational guide, taking us on a journey from the first human flight attempts through the advancements in aviation, all the way to exploring the planets and human space travel.

Wilson Center2

On Wednesday July 15th, we hosted some Mendeley events to coincide with the publication of our report “New Horizons: From research papers to Pluto“, a document examining the role of academic publishing in launching and learning from deep space missions – which is freely available to download.

In the afternoon at the Wilson Center, our NASA’s New Horizons: Innovation, Collaboration and Accomplishment in Science and Technology event was attended by more that 100 people. Here, we presented a series of lightning talks from Paul Tavner (Educational Resources Manager, Mendeley), Jan Reichelt (Co-founder and CEO, Mendeley), Beth Beck (NASA Open Innovation Program Manager, HQ Office of Chief Information Officer), William Gunn (Director of Scholarly Communications, Mendeley), Callum Anderson (Development Manager, Mendeley), Rob Knight (Software Engineer, Mendeley), Robbertjan Kalff (Social Project Manager, Mendeley), our two space hack winners George Kartvelishvili and Richard Lynne, as well as the team of Policonnect. We will be sharing the video footage of these talks with you soon on our YouTube channel! In the mean time, check out our summary video here.

Laughing Man

In the evening, we held a networking meet-up at the Laughing Man Tavern. This event gave us a chance to meet some of our dedicated Mendeley Advisors, to discuss New Horizons, research and Mendeley. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet so many.

Finally, with an invigorated enthusiasm for space science, our NASA badges, and an awesome story to tell… we packed our bags and flew back to Europe.

 

Eyes on Pluto – Now you too can journey to the outer edge of our Solar System!

It says something very deep about humans and our society, something very good about us, that we’ve invested our time and treasure in building a machine that can fly across three billion miles of space to explore the Pluto system…..” Alan Stern, Astronomer and Aeronautical Engineer quoted in Smithsonian, June 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 12.09.16

The New Horizons mission to the Dwarf Planet, Pluto, is a pioneering feat of astronomical research, resulting in almost a decade of space travel at up to 47,000 mph, culminating in the closest approach on July 14th 2015. In the run up to, and in the days after, New Horizons will carry out an astronomic schedule of research initiatives aimed at revealing the first close up view of this cold, unexplored world.

Although we’re a long way off of a human mission to Pluto, you can still check out the almost 3 billion mile journey with NASA’s Eyes on Pluto simulation!

Keep up to date with the latest from the New Horizons mission by following NASA’s blogs.

Eyes on PlutoScreen Shot 2015-06-24 at 17.40.28 is the latest simulation from the Eyes on the Solar System team who have created a series of 3D environments full of real NASA mission data. These simulations allow you to explore the whole solar system from your computer.

Another aspect of the Eyes on Pluto project, is NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory  in California. The DSN is a network of three highly sophisticated antenna arrays, stationed in three locations around the globe. These sites, distributed at roughly 120-degree intervals around Earth ensure constant contact can be maintained with objects in deep space, including the New Horizons spacecraft.

Communications received from New Horizons are sent from DSN to mission control and used to check the probe’s progress. Scientific data is then relayed on to the Science Operations Center for processing.

It’s possible to track which of three DSN sites is currently in contact with New Horizons via DSN Now.

In July, we will be publishing a summary of New Horizons research, highlighting the path from papers to Pluto – we’ll let you know when it’s out.

NASA Museum Alliance

Screen Shot 2015-06-18 at 12.03.01

As the NASA Space probe, New Horizons, approaches Pluto, members of the NASA Museum Alliance are preparing to host various events to live-stream and celebrate this nine and a half year journey that culminates in a momentous Pluto Flyby!

New_Horizons_-_Logo2_big

The Museum Alliance is a NASA-centric STEM community of science educators, museums, observatories, planetariums, science-technology centers; aquariums, arboretums, aviaries, zoos; botanical gardens, nature centers, parks, NASA Visitor Centers and affiliates, theaters and auditoriums dedicated to astronomical shows, and other non-profit informal education organizations.

There are almost 1,100 professionals at over 575 U.S. and over 60 international members in the NASA STEM Museum Alliance. These organizations regularly use NASA educational products, images, visualizations, video, and information in their educational and public programs and exhibits.

Informal education professional, are invited to register with the Museum Alliance using the Partners Application, while individuals interested in attending an event can search for their nearest Museum Alliance venue

NASA New Horizons Mission Prepares for Historic Pluto Approach

… and you can be a part of it!

lego
Photo by Tom Atkinson @r3digital

You might have noticed a bit of a trend recently with Mendeley supporting some cool space-themed events, such as a talk by Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin (pictured below presenting a much-coveted “Get your Ass to Mars” t-shirt to Professor Stephen Hawking) and a debate at the Cambridge Union Society, which explored the issue of whether space exploration is worth the cost.

hawking
Image Courtesy of the Cambridge Union Society @cambridgeunion

The answer, it turned out, was a resounding “YES”. Dr Christine Corbett Moran, a computational astrophysicist who defended the value of space exploration in that debate, outlined the huge impact that space exploration research has had, which go well beyond the many well-known consumer applications such as non-stick pans:

“Nigeria launched its first satellite in 2003, and China, India and others strive to replicate and expand achievements in technology and science to drive space exploration forward. India’s space program and satellite constellations allow it to survey natural resources, enable communications, have disaster management support perform meteorology, and do pilot programs in tele-education and tele-medicine for an underserved population.”

The inspiration for supporting these initiatives came not only from our community of researchers in fields such as Astrophysics, but from talking to NASA’s Science Program Manager Adriana Ocampo, last year. And so, when Mendeley decided to sponsor the space exploration debate at Cambridge, she was naturally invited as one of the speakers on the proposition side. Although unable to attend as originally planned, Dr. Ocampo has since extended a very special invitation to the Mendeley team, which means some of us will get the chance to be present at NASA HQ to witness the Pluto New Horizons Encounter. A first-ever achievement for humankind.

The New Horizons mission was launched back in January 2006, and after nearly a decade and 3 billion miles travelled, the craft will finally approach Pluto in July 2015. After passing the Dwarf Planet and its five moons (The first 5 people to correctly Tweet the names of all those moons to @Mendeley_com with the hashtag #PlutoEncounter will get a bag of Mendeley goodies, by the way) the probe will continue to travel at a speed of 26,7000 mph along the Kuiper belt, which is located past Neptune’s Orbit.

new horizon
Image Courtesy of NASA @NASANewHorizons

It is difficult to overstate how exciting such an event is, as it represents the culmination of so much effort over many years of work and research. As Professor Stephen Hawking recently said in a post on his Facebook page:

“This would have been the subject of science fiction when I was at school, but is now science fact. I feel proud and honoured for such a momentous scientific mission to be completed within my lifetime, and plan to celebrate in my own way, with a Pluto party in July. My congratulations to everyone on the New Horizons team. With imagination and determination, it is humbling to see what we are capable of”.

This will be the first time ever we’ll be able to see Pluto as more than a tiny little speck, so we don’t know exactly what to expect. And that, according to Ralph McNutt, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), is one of the great things about such ground-breaking endeavours: “we don’t know exactly what we’ll see, but we know from decades of experience in first-time exploration of new planets that we will be very surprised”.

What does emerge very clearly from all the discussions we’ve had around space exploration is impacts all of society, and how the research output it generates is truly cross-disciplinary and collaborative. This is why we want to share the amazing experience with our entire Mendeley community. So watch this space and our social media channels for lots more on the Pluto Encounter, and please do share your thoughts, questions and ideas with us too! We’d specially love to hear from researchers, in any discipline, who felt the influence of space exploration research in their own work. Start the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using the #PlutoEncounter hashtag.