the department of Operations Research
and Financial Engineering at Princeton.
“Please use some color and/or pictures,”
said Stella Kafka from the Carnegie
Institute of Washington’s department
of terrestrial magnetism.
Now, many of us recognize the
importance of images—but forget the
captions. We have photos of things that
are important to us but unidentifiable
to those who visit our sites! “Nice photo.
Is it decoration? Art? Should it have a
caption? Are we supposed to guess what
it is?” asked Nancy Morrison, professor
emerita of astronomy at the University
of Toledo. I heard that sentiment several
times: Please post descriptive captions
that every scientist can understand.
Generosity: that’s not a
value that was emphasized when I was in graduate school. But science
has evolved since then,
and in today’s collaborative environment, it seems
to be a sought-after trait.
PowerPoint slides that send a warm
message of science love.
Next time I’m up late tweaking
my website, I’ll know just what to
post: full contact information with an
email address on the homepage; video
and pictures with descriptive captions;
a passionate written description of my
research; and generous freebies that my
colleagues can download.
Marc J. Kuchner (marc@marketingforscientists.
com) is an astrophysicist at NASA, a country
songwriter and the author of the book Marketing
for Scientists: How To Shine In Tough Times.
His website can be found at www.marketingfor-scientists.com.
Passion and generosity
So far, you might have the impression that we were merely proofreading
each other’s sites. But one element that
multiple reviewers asked for caught me
by surprise. If I could summarize it in a
word, it would be passion.
“Maybe the homepage could include
your personal motivation,” suggested
Phil Yock, a professor in the department
of physics at the University of Aukland.
“I really like to know what scientists
are passionate about, so I’d love to see a
short write-up of what fascinates you the
most about the universe.” That comment
was from Emilie Lorditch, news director
and manager at the American Institute
The other feedback that really
touched my heart was expressed well
by Yale astronomy professor Debra
Fischer. “I was impressed that you offer
PowerPoint slides, poster presentations
and tools/data from your papers: It’s
generous and collaborative and makes
me want to follow your example,” she
said. Generosity: that’s not a value
that was emphasized when I was in
graduate school. But science has evolved
since then, and in today’s collaborative
environment, it seems to be a sought-after trait. That generous site, by John
Debes at the Space Telescope Science
Institute, is chock full of free tools and
Successful Websites at Every Career Level
This site, created by a postdoctoral fellow at the National
Center for Ecological Analysis
and Synthesis, features an
inviting smile and a good use
of white space. A steady stream
of updates attests to a busy
research program. Contact
information is easy to find.
This site for Robert Vanderbei
at Princeton University
features lots of graphics and
is well-labeled. It displays a
creative personality with a
vast array of professional and
When the group of
reviewers visited this
site for astronomer John
Debes, they loved the
“tools” page with its