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Free Friday Science Seminars resume Oct. 5 at SOU.

Free Friday Science Seminar features ‘replication crisis’

The fall series of Southern Oregon University’s popular Friday Science Seminars opens Oct. 5 with a presentation by Jim Hatton, SOU’s mathematics program chair, on the so-called “replication crisis.”

Hatton will review causes and some proposed solutions to the scientific crisis, which stems from social scientists’ frequent inability to reproduce important studies. Statistical methods commonly used by the scientists has been called into question.

The lecture will be in SOU’s Science Auditorium (Science Building, Room 151), from 3:30 to 5 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, with light refreshments provided by the university’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Division.

A 2016 poll of 1,500 scientists by the journal “Nature” found that 70 percent had failed to reproduce at least one other scientist’s experiment and 50 percent had failed to reproduce experiments of their own.

The inability to replicate studies could have serious consequences for scientific fields in which significant theories are based on experimental work that cannot be reproduced. Replication of experiments is an essential element of scientific research.

The replication crisis, which was identified in the early 2010s as awareness of the problem grew, has been a significant issue in the fields of social psychology and medicine, where several efforts have been made to replicate classic studies or experiments, and to determine the reliability of results.

Hatton teaches developmental mathematics and precalculus at SOU, and publishes his mathematics explorations and other thoughts on his blog, Math Thoughts. He received his bachelor’s degree from Rice University and his master’s degree in operations research from Stanford University.

SOU’s weekly Friday Science Seminars cover a variety of topics from academic, industrial, commercial and nonprofit sectors in the fields of biology, chemistry, mathematics and computer science.

Other lectures in the next month include “A Frame Semantic Approach to Metaphoric Meaning” on Oct. 12 with SOU German language instructor Maggie Gemmell; “Assessment of Virulence Mechanisms used by Pathogenic Vibrio Species” on Oct. 19 with Blake Ushijima, an Oregon State University postdoctoral researcher of coral disease; and “Fall into Chemistry,” on Oct. 26 with the SOU Chemistry Club.

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