Category Scientific English

Do you care for feedback?

Since a substantial part of the material covered in this blog comes from my encounters with scientific papers and talks, I am wondering how many of you would actually like to get feedback regarding potential shortcomings regarding their English skills. I have never been a fan of public practise talks, simply because I think that

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Mathematical English: How to pronounce Gaussian

As you may remember from school, the bell-shaped curve that plays a key role in statistics, often referred to as a normal distribution, is also called a Gaussian. I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion and variation regarding the pronunciation of the word Gaussian, in particular among German native speakers. The reason

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How to pronounce et cetera

The Latin phrase et cetera (usually abbreviated as etc.), which may be translated as “and so forth” or “and other things”, is commonly used in the English language. While listening to this video, I remembered that I had previously heard a number of people pronounce et cetera in an unusual way. The correct pronunciations (there

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Be careful with full

I have noticed that words such as careful, beautiful or sinful are often misspelled as carefull, beautifull or sinfull. A spell checker will often flag such mistakes. However, in scientific writing, there are many technical expressions not recognized by the spell checker anyway, so that such mistakes will remain unnoticed. The best example I can

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How to pronounce copper

The chemical element copper has an enormous number of applications in every-day life and in science. I have noticed that there is a bit of a confusion concerning its correct pronunciation. The correct British pronunciation is [ˈkɒpə(r)], whereas the correct American pronunciation is [ˈkɑːpər], see here. The key difference between these two pronunciations is that

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How to pronounce Dirac, honeycomb, and ribbon

Use of the name Dirac and the words honeycomb and ribbon has grown almost exponentially since the experimental realization of graphene (stressed on the second syllable) in 2004. Because of its shape, the hexagonal pattern in which carbon atoms are arranged in graphene is called a honeycomb lattice. On such a lattice, electrons near the

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