# Best Science Blog Posts of 2009

January 14, 2010 5:30 PM Subscribe

The Open Laboratory 2009: The 50 best science blog posts of the year. The complete list of over 700 submissions.

Nice post. I wish I felt confident I'd actually read more than one or two of these, because they look great.

posted by OmieWise at 7:37 PM on January 14, 2010

posted by OmieWise at 7:37 PM on January 14, 2010

I wonder if math counts as a science? Math blogging is sort of in its infancy, but there are some really good ones now which deserve their share of the publicity.

posted by escabeche at 8:06 PM on January 14, 2010

posted by escabeche at 8:06 PM on January 14, 2010

Some really interesting discoveries mixed with intellectual posts and a sprinkling of comedy (xkcd, Big Bang Theory). Thanks very much for the post.

posted by nickheer at 10:34 PM on January 14, 2010

posted by nickheer at 10:34 PM on January 14, 2010

*Math blogging is sort of in its infancy, but there are some really good ones now which deserve their share of the publicity.*

Show me the links! Or do a post on it!

posted by DU at 4:35 AM on January 15, 2010

The sheer number is overwhelming but, by randomly clicking through some of the entries that didn't make the cut, I have to say they are just as worthy. Examples:

Using Lovecraft's Elder Things to explain the principles of brain evolution

The importance of engineering motivation into intelligence

posted by bobobox at 5:22 AM on January 15, 2010

Using Lovecraft's Elder Things to explain the principles of brain evolution

The importance of engineering motivation into intelligence

posted by bobobox at 5:22 AM on January 15, 2010

There is some very enjoyable stuff here. I liked this one about Frankenstein's Monster: Is There Any Truth to It? That blog, A Schooner of Science, looks pretty enjoyable in general.

Thanks for the post!

posted by marxchivist at 5:40 AM on January 15, 2010

Thanks for the post!

posted by marxchivist at 5:40 AM on January 15, 2010

OK, this is too much fun. I'll shut up and do some work now. Lots of fodder for front page posts in here.

posted by marxchivist at 5:46 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by marxchivist at 5:46 AM on January 15, 2010

DU:

Terry Tao's What's New, mentioned by lukemeister above, is one of the most widely read math blogs. The other blog luke mentioned, Quomodocumque, is my blog, and it's only partially about math. Tim Gowers has a great blog, which is currently working on the Erdos discrepancy problem but also has non-technical posts, like this one about bad math in novels. John Baez's This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics is the blogfather of us all.

All of these are pretty technical: as far as I know, there isn't really a big math blog which is aimed at the math-literate-but-not-professional-mathematician public. Maybe Emmanuel Kowalski, who has a lot of technical posts in analytic number theory but also a lot of culture-of-math stuff, comes closest.

posted by escabeche at 6:31 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Terry Tao's What's New, mentioned by lukemeister above, is one of the most widely read math blogs. The other blog luke mentioned, Quomodocumque, is my blog, and it's only partially about math. Tim Gowers has a great blog, which is currently working on the Erdos discrepancy problem but also has non-technical posts, like this one about bad math in novels. John Baez's This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics is the blogfather of us all.

All of these are pretty technical: as far as I know, there isn't really a big math blog which is aimed at the math-literate-but-not-professional-mathematician public. Maybe Emmanuel Kowalski, who has a lot of technical posts in analytic number theory but also a lot of culture-of-math stuff, comes closest.

posted by escabeche at 6:31 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I second the recommendations of Tao and Gowers for math blogs; they seem to be the two that everyone knows, probably because they're the two Fields medalists that are also prominent bloggers. Some other math blog recommendations, perhaps leaning a bit more towards the "applied" side than escabeche's recommendations (mostly because he mentioned a lot of the good pure math blogs):

Secret Blogging Seminar,

Shtetl-Optimized (Scott Aaronson; really a theoretical CS blog);

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science;

The Endeavour (John Cook).

I'm not being systematic here; I just looked through stuff that's come through my RSS reader in the last day or so, and trying to give a good cross-section of the math blogosphere.

posted by madcaptenor at 6:34 AM on January 15, 2010

Secret Blogging Seminar,

Shtetl-Optimized (Scott Aaronson; really a theoretical CS blog);

Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science;

The Endeavour (John Cook).

I'm not being systematic here; I just looked through stuff that's come through my RSS reader in the last day or so, and trying to give a good cross-section of the math blogosphere.

posted by madcaptenor at 6:34 AM on January 15, 2010

Another math blog that may have appeal to non-mathematicians is God Plays Dice.

posted by alligatorman at 6:49 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by alligatorman at 6:49 AM on January 15, 2010

alligatorman: that's my blog! I was trying to avoid mentioning it, because it seemed somehow uncouth to promote myself. But thanks for the shoutout.

posted by madcaptenor at 6:53 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by madcaptenor at 6:53 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I hate to admit it, but the "appeal to non-mathematicians" blog is more what I'm looking for. Not because I'm afraid of math but because I'm looking for higher-level (and shorter) interest posts, not nitty-gritty details. Although for certain topics, I may want nitties and/or gritties.

posted by DU at 7:24 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by DU at 7:24 AM on January 15, 2010

DU, I'll admit that despite being a mathematician, on some math blogs -- especially ones that are posting in areas far from what I know well -- I skip the posts full of nitty-gritty details. It's nothing to be ashamed of!

posted by madcaptenor at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by madcaptenor at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2010

Actually, God Plays Dice isn't as non-mathematician as it looks from the top couple of posts. "model the population of the US as 1.9 billion Poisson random variables, each of mean 0.16" isn't something I say in everyday conversation too often.

posted by DU at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by DU at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2010

*"model the population of the US as 1.9 billion Poisson random variables, each of mean 0.16" isn't something I say in everyday conversation too often*

And you call yourself a Mefite?

*shakes head in dismay*

posted by lukemeister at 11:09 AM on January 15, 2010

Great post! *weekend vanishes*

posted by benzenedream at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by benzenedream at 11:29 AM on January 15, 2010

Genital mimcry in spotted hyenas is particularly enlightening.

posted by lholladay at 11:37 AM on January 15, 2010

posted by lholladay at 11:37 AM on January 15, 2010

*there isn't really a big math blog which is aimed at the math-literate-but-not-professional-mathematician public*

Tanya Khovanova's blog is usually very accessible and interesting (via my own most recent post).

posted by Wolfdog at 3:00 PM on January 15, 2010

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posted by twoleftfeet at 7:05 PM on January 14, 2010