Can AI Help You Develop a Research Proposal?

Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into the process of scientific research offers a wealth of efficiency-boosting tools that are transforming the ways scientists can approach their work. Many are already using AI to refine code, automate data processing, and edit papers, presentations, abstracts and more. Personally, I find generative language models like ChatGPT to be invaluable “editorial assistants” in my work as a science writer, helping me work through wonky sentence structures, be more concise and get over writer’s block, to name a few applications.

An AI-generated image of a man in a white lab coat who has a thoughtful look on his face. He is looking off camera with his hand on his chin. The background is a field of light bursts and bright lines against a dark backdrop.
Image generated using Adobe Firefly

But a scientist’s work doesn’t only involve writing or analyzing data, making presentations or keeping up with the literature. An essential component of any research scientist’s skillset is their ability to develop entirely new ideas and novel research proposals. Coming up with research questions and plans is a central component of graduate education and research careers, both in academia and industry.

As AI continues to advance and find broader use, a critical question arises: Can AI play a pivotal role in the creative process of developing entirely new ideas, such as crafting novel research proposals?

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Enhancing Creativity: The Promega Employee Art Show 2020

What hangs in the hallways of your workplace? Advertising? Awards? Commercially-sourced artwork? The Promega campus in Madison, WI, is composed of eight buildings. In many of these buildings you’ll find all of the above.

But as you enter the atrium of the BTC (Biopharmaceutical Technology Center) building where the Employee Art Show hangs, you’re greeted by handmade, homemade artwork, including drawings, ceramics, paintings, photographs and quilts.

Promega employees examine artwork in the BTC during the 2020 Employee Art Show opening.

These art pieces hold the distinction of being created by talented Promega employees, their families and friends. The annual Promega Employee Art Show opened Friday, January 17, with approximately 150 works displayed, including pieces created by parents of employees, employees and their children. These art pieces are on display to the public through the end of February 2020.

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To Quilt, Perchance to Discover

What is it about Quilting?

Not yet a quilt, this is a stock photo image.
Not yet a quilt, this is a stock photo image.

There is a really big quilt show going on in town right now. The annual Wisconsin Quilt Expo runs Thursday through Saturday, September 8–10, 2016 here in Madison, WI.

This quilt expo is the State Fair for quilters. It is to quilters, what Summerfest, or a Lollapalooza festival is to music fans. It is the Stitch-Stitch fest for those with thimbles (and fabric, of course).

To give you another idea of the size of Quilt Expo, busloads of quilters and quilt fans come to this expo, and there are awards for the best quilt in each of ten categories. Can you imagine the time it takes to judge quilts in 10 different categories?

Quilt Expo is sponsored by Wisconsin Public Television and quilter-in-chief Nancy Zieman, host of the popular public television show “Sewing with Nancy”. Her store, Nancy’s Notions is a destination quilting shop in Beaver Dam, WI. I’ve been to this store twice, both times with dedicated quilters. Each time, my quilter counterpart stopped talking immediately upon entering the store. They looked around once, took a cart and went deep into shopping. I gave up on attempts at conversation, due to a lack of response. Continue reading “To Quilt, Perchance to Discover”