Following my retirement, we have closed our company for new business.

Please do not hesitate to contact me directly, our email portal remains open and I would be delighted to hear from you and provide ongoing support or advice.

Richard Thomson

Companies represented up to the end of December 2023. Please now contact them directly.

k-Space Associates, Inc.
Phone: +1 (734) 426-7977

Phone: +49 8761 76 24 0

Friday 12 July 2013

In brief

China leads to way with Tianhe-2 the top supercomputer
Sharp Corporation has produced a solar cell conversion efficiency of 44.4%, using a concentrator triple-junction InGaP/GaAs/InGaAs solar cell

CSIRO circumnavigate Abbe’s limit to show how 1000 terabytes could be stored on one DVD

Wednesday 10 July 2013

More chips next year?

According to the market research firm Gartner the market for chip manufacturing equipment will be $35.8 billion in 2013, a fall of 5.5 percent from 2012. They state that the semiconductor industry's overall capital spending, which includes additional items such as the construction of buildings, will decrease on average by 3.5 percent in 2013. However, logic spending will be the strongest segment, declining only 2 percent driven by the aggressive investment of the few top players. Gartner say that 2014 and 2015 will be boom years across most of the types of semiconductor manufacturing, test and assembly and packaging. In 2014 capital spending will increase 14.2 per cent, followed by 10.1 per cent growth in 2015. The next cyclical decline will be a drop of 3.5 percent in 2016, followed by a return to growth in 2017.

Monday 8 July 2013

Gender bias

A paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology looks at why the number of male invited speakers at a key biology congress exceeded those of female invited speakers. Women were under-represented even when taking into account that they are a smaller proportion of the pool of potential speakers. On delving deeper into the data from the 2011 congress, they found women were under-represented as invited speakers, not because men were invited proportionally more than women, but because men accepted invitations more often. They propose two major reasons for this. Firstly, uneven sharing of family/baby responsibilities. Secondly, women are less likely then men to self-promote.  Readers can test their own gender bias at this link.

Friday 5 July 2013

Moving experience

Many readers will have been involved in the sometimes painful activity of moving laboratory equipment from one location to another. That elevator door that is just an inch too narrow being a favourite. Spare a thought for the scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island NY who are moving a 15 ton, 50-foot-wide electromagnet 3,200 miles over land and sea to its new home at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. The month long land and sea journey will take the magnet around the tip of Florida and up the Mississippi, Illinois and Des Plaines rivers to Illinois. You can follow the journey via this link.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

No pressure, no diamonds?

Thomas Carlyle is quoted as saying: no pressure, no diamonds. Last month the pressures for academic success led to a 52 year old French mother attempting to sit a baccalaureate exam for her daughter. The pressure to publish or perish is not new to the scientific world but there are growing concerns about fact-fabricators. Retractions of scientific claims by medical journals will probably exceed 500 in 2013. A recent open letter from over 80 signatories mainly from the psychology and behavioural sciences discussed the pressures for publications to be positive, novel, neat and eye catching leading to practices such as cherry-picking data or analyses. One of their points being that negative results, complicated results, or attempts to replicate previous studies rarely make it into the scientific record. They note that one peer-reviewed outlet has offered authors the opportunity to publish a type of article called a registered report.  Registered reports are reviewed before scientists collect data. If the scientific question and methods are deemed sound, the authors are then offered "in-principle acceptance" of their article, which virtually guarantees publication regardless of how the results turn out.

Whilst I feel that the data collection and statistical analysis methodologies in the physical sciences are often more advanced than in the behavioural sciences, the letter is worth consideration.