Editor's Buzz

Social Science and the September Issue of Lab Manager Magazine

The September issue is en route to all our subscribers and the feature this month is Social Science. Is climate change real or the hysterical imaginings of environmentalists? Is seafood from the Gulf of Mexico safe to eat? Are organophosphate pestic

Pamela Ahlberg

The September issue is en route to all our subscribers and the feature this month is Social Science. Is climate change real or the hysterical imaginings of environmentalists? Is seafood from the Gulf of Mexico safe to eat? Are organophosphate pesticides the prime cause of ADHD? And which scientist's answers to any of these questions should the public believe? "While scientific and technical analyses are essential, they will not and arguably should not carry the day unless they address, substantively and procedurally, the issues that concern the public," says Baruch Fischhoff, Carnegie Mellon University Professor of Social and Decision Sciences and Engineering and Public Policy in a recent article in the journal Science. "We have the science needed for meaningful public involvement," he said. "However, in order to use it, senior leadership must view two-way communication as a strategic commitment," says Fischhoff.

As this month's cover story makes patently clear, the days of scientists and researchers holed up in academic or industrial labs detached from society are over. These days they must proactively communicate scientific information to the public in ways that stress "personal relevance and common shared values or risk ceding the stage to rivals and competing interests."

Other articles of interest this month include a case study describing how the J&J Alza facility in Vacaville, CA used simulation-based planning of optimize operations in response to changing market needs and financial pressures. The article shows how simulation was used to predict the load on staff and equipment as well as how the lab schedule was integrated with the production stream model for a complete end-to-end flow.

In "Recycling Closed Laboratories," John Borchardt explains that instead of spending scarce capital to purchase or build a laboratory, firms can rent facilities in one of the large laboratories closed as a result of corporate mergers and acquisitions and reopened, usually under new ownership, as rental facilities. These facilities enable small and midsized companies to rent first-class laboratory space at relatively modest cost.

Introduced for the first time last month, our new Survey Says feature in September covers purchasing practices for centrifuges, glassware washers and water purifi cation systems. If you happen to be in the market for the latter, we feature a product focus article on water purification systems on page 52, as well as a Lab Design & Furnishings article, "What to Consider When Designing a Customized Lab Water System" on page 34. For more information on glassware washers, turn to this month's pull out – an "Independent Guide to Purchasing a Lab Glassware Washer."

But to get the most out of this month's issue, go page by page to find all the amazing articles of specific interest, from the role of customer service in your lab, to what's involved with using electronic signatures, to how to set up a cell culture lab. I'm sure there is something of value for everyone. http://www.labmanager.com/digital/