Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ask A Biologist

Dave Hone, whom I know of primarily through his blog, Archosaur Musings, recently posted a request for questions for another site he works on: Ask A Biologist. Here is a description from that site:
This is a special site aimed at schools and devoted to providing the best scientific information available to school kids around the UK. But don’t be put off, we will accept questions from anyone who asks.

I'm sorry to say that we are not here to do your homework for you, but if you want more information on any aspect of biology ( the study of life) or palaeontology (the study of the history of life) then we are here to help. We want to take you beyond the classroom - if you want to know more, then come here to ask us and find out.
And from the call for questions,
...this is a site where people can leave their biology based questions and a team of researchers from all over the world will pitch in and try to answer. There’s no middle man, no filter of journalists, precis, reviews or anything else, you ask us, we answer.

And really answer in some cases, discussions of detailed or intricate questions have run to days or weeks over dozens of posts. We seem to operate a less formal peer review with people correcting each others’ errors, discussing points of taxonomy and definitions, philosophy of science and more. It’s a great introduction to the workings of academia and all the while bringing first hand information and knowledge to those who want it.

The newly relaunched site has received some grant and other money, and is in the process of being refurbished and having some new features added. So if you are a teacher, a kid, or a kid at heart, with a question about the living world (or the once-living world), as of April 19 (a week from tomorrow), these guys will be ready to answer it for you.

I would have waited until the relaunch was a little closer, but I tend to lose and forget anything much older than a few days back. Plus it gives you a week to work up a really good question... but do check the index and make sure it hasn't already been answered.

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