Experimental Soft Matter Physics

Scientific Writing (DS-TS 1615), spring semester 2016

Did you ever have a manuscript rejected from a journal? Or did you get a second chance, but a long list of criticisms from the referees? You are not alone; indeed these are experiences all scientists go through. But you can reduce the risk of these undesired outcomes considerably by being aware of how to write an abstract so it immediately grabs the attention and interest of the reader, knowing how to write an introduction so it makes the reader want to continue reading, knowing how to prepare visuals so they truly support a paper, and knowing how to structure and plan the article logically and to build a convincing argument. This course will give you the skills to present your ideas and results in writing with a convincing, clear and appealing voice, and to avoid mistakes that are unnecessary, yet unfortunately not uncommon, and which can have fatal consequences for the dissemination of your research.

Rough syllabus:
25.03.2016: Introduction and welcome; writing with the reader in mind; choosing a title; the Introduction section.

04.04.2016: The abstract; preparing visuals; a few language tips; the Conclusions section

21.04.2016: Some words on writing software; managing references; the cover letter; coping with rejection; Ph.D. thesis structure versus article structure.

As course literature, we will use Jean-Luc Lebrun's excellent book "Scientific Writing 2.0", together with many examples of excellent articles published in top journals.

Each course day will run from 9:00 to 16:00 and we will be in the Salle des Conseils in Kirchberg.

The slides shown in the class (only for participating students) can be downloaded here.