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John Joyce is a laboratory informatics specialist based in Richmond, VA.

Computerized Systems in the Modern Laboratory: A Practical Guide

May 13, 2015 8:29 am | by John R. Joyce, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

Scientific Computing periodically features special informatics focus articles that attempt to help you with such complex tasks as selecting a laboratory information management system or interfacing systems together. Unfortunately, there is only a limited amount of information that one can cram into one of these articles. Where we are limited to just a few pages for each of our attempts, Joe Liscouski has written a whole book on the subject

Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide

April 8, 2015 3:05 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

This delightful and informative guide from my friends at No Starch Press comes with the...

Explorations of Mathematical Models in Biology with Maple

February 10, 2015 9:29 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The author of this wonderful text delivers a brief, easy-to-absorb, yet very comprehensive text...

Book Review: Applied Bayesian Modelling, 2nd Edition

January 13, 2015 8:59 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

This is not a text for the novice. However, for those math/statistics aficionados, there is much...

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John Wass is a statistician based in Chicago, IL.

Exploration and Analysis of DNA Microarray and Other High-Dimensional Data

November 18, 2014 3:10 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The introduction of newer sequencing methodologies, DNA microarrays and high-throughput technology has resulted in a deluge of large data sets that require new strategies to clean, normalize and analyze the data. All of these and more are covered in approximately 300 pages with extraordinary clarity and minimal mathematics.

In summarizing this interesting book, it does have many useful hints, tips and tricks to addressing specific types of problems, as well as pitfalls. I would appreciate far more scientific examples than the business ones that were in abundance.

Doing Data Science: Straight Talk from the Front Line

June 5, 2014 11:53 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

I can most simply describe this book by quoting from the back cover: Motivation — “…how can you get started in a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary field that’s so clouded in hype?” Background Needed — “If you’re familiar with linear algebra, probability, and statistics, and have programming experience…”

Book Review: Applied Regression Modeling

September 1, 2013 5:47 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

It is always a pleasure to review a text that is easy to read and understand, when targeted to a novice audience. This book was written for business majors at the junior undergraduate level, and not statistics majors. However, it is recommended that readers have a course in introductory statistics before using this book.


Common Errors in Statistics (and How to Avoid Them)

March 15, 2013 3:38 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

It is always a pleasure to review a book on statistics (bias intended)! Especially one that is well-written, compact and well-constructed for its intended audience. Common Errors in Statistics (and How to Avoid Them), 4th Edition, is written for the non-statistician and can be readily assimilated by undergraduate students with a single statistics class under their belt.

The Manga Guide to Relativity: Real Relativity, Real Easy!

May 10, 2012 12:43 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

Making an intensely complex subject understandable to the non-physicist John A. Wass, Ph.D. Well, relatively! I didn’t ask to review this book, but my wonderful contact at No Starch Press (read Geeks Anonymous) sent The Manga Guide to Relativity thinking that the subject may interest me. After sitting on it for too many months, I finally got around to reading a few pages. After 10 pages, I was hooked

Genomics in Drug Discovery and Development

May 16, 2011 9:58 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

This month’s column reviews a book from three of my former colleagues at Abbott Laboratories. Their areas of expertise are toxicogenomics, pharmacogenomics and oncology. Naturally, the subject matter reflects the authors’ research interests.

Mathematica Cookbook: Not a tutorial, but a Useful Guide

January 7, 2011 3:58 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

As readers of this column probably know, Mathematica is software that does mathematics. Its symbolic code offers not only math, modeling and simulation, but a complete documentation and deployment tool. This cookbook assumes a basic knowledge of the program and is not a beginner’s guide. Rather it ‘jumps right in’ with code and examples. Lots of them!

Model Selection and Model Averaging: Cambridge Series in Statistical and Probabilistic Mathematics

April 5, 2010 6:34 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

Many scientists have frequent use for model construction, and as the biological and physical processes are studied and modeled on ever more complex levels, this tool, Model Selection and Model Averaging, would be a very useful addition to the analytic repertoire. Unfortunately the math will be found challenging by many


Head-First Data Analysis: A Brain-Friendly Guide

March 26, 2010 11:28 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The fluff, reviewers comment, and marketing hype around this book include such revelations as "Load important statistical concepts directly into your brain" and "Wouldn’t it be dreamy if there was a book on data analysis that wasn’t just a glorified printout of Microsoft Excel help files?" However, this volume is just a little bit different from what you may be used to in an intro book or “Dummies Guide."

Modeling Differential Equations in Biology

November 13, 2009 7:20 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The back cover of Modeling Differential Equations in Biology explains that, as college level science students only take the rudiments of calculus, this book fills a gap in teaching the biology students how to use differential equations in their research. The text uses actual scientific papers for examples and, therefore, reinforces the relevance of the methodologies.

Manga Strikes Again! The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology

November 13, 2009 6:17 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

All living things are made of cells. And thus begins the adventures of Rin and Ami, two Japanese college students who have skipped too many of their intro molecular biology classes to satisfy the attendance requirement. As a result, their teacher, Professor Moro, has “sentenced” them to a summer of makeup classes on his private island. To facilitate their studies, they use a virtual reality machine 

On Biological Applications of Statistics

August 28, 2009 10:32 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

A volume that can be recommended to both statisticians and life scientists The review this month is for Statistical and Computational Pharmacogenomics , an interdisciplinary text by CRC. It turned out to be an exceedingly pleasant experience, as it is a volume that can be recommended to both statisticians and life scientists

At Long Last, Readable Mathematics! Princeton Companion to Mathematics is one-of-a-kind reference

June 30, 2009 7:20 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

After many years of slogging through textbooks that presented too many proofs and demonstrations that were left to the student or lacking numerous intermediate steps, after encountering numerous "introductions" that were obtuse and highly theoretical and after digesting far too many explanations with maximal equations and minimal verbiage, we arrive at the happy medium.


Manga Guide to Statistics: Statistics with heart-pounding excitement (well, maybe)

May 15, 2009 7:20 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

This is something new. Not to the world, but to readers of this column. For those of you not into cartoons or comic books, Manga is (are) a genre of Japanese comic books and cartoons. They are usually drawn in black and white format and cover a wide range of subject matter. Wikipedia has some good background information, in case you are interested.

Mathematical Physiology II: Systems Physiology

April 17, 2009 11:32 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

For those readers who have perused my review of the previous volume on cellular physiology, it is apparent that these interdisciplinary texts are meant to offer a little biology to the engineers and mathematicians and a lot of math to any life scientist bold enough to turn the pages.

A Discourse in Mathematical Physiology

March 6, 2009 6:25 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The book herein reviewed, the second edition of Mathematical Physiology I: Cellular Physiology, is an interdisciplinary text. The authors state in the preface that their major goals were to expand the discussion of many models and principles from the first edition, and to provide pointers to recent works in as many areas as possible. They have succeeded remarkably well in the first goal

Statistics in a Nutshell: A really nifty practical guide

January 23, 2009 7:55 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The title here should include “on a Number of Levels,” as this simple text has so much to recommend it. No, it is not watered-down statistics! It is a practical guide to quickly getting the reader up to speed on those items most used in describing data, performing hypothesis testing and conveying some of the more fascinating aspects of statistics in research

Investigating NIST’s Digital Library of Mathematical Functions

September 8, 2008 11:59 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

What I first encountered was rather sobering, as it was soon apparent that I was in way over my head John A. Wass, Ph.D. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently released five preview chapters of its online Digital Library of Mathematical Functions (DLMF) .

Exploring MathWorld

July 2, 2008 11:37 am | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

My occasional rants usually involve my twin interests of genomics and the mathematical education of scientists. This month’s column is a natural extension of the latter in that Wolfram’s MathWorld Web site is a nice place for the semi-literate practitioner (or the very astute educator) to get grounding in many areas of mathematics, and perhaps an impetus to upgrade their skills, however slightly.

Mathematical Biology Redeaux: Mathematical adventures in biology

April 30, 2007 8:00 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The second half of the above title comes to us via a delightful feature article in the January 2007 issue of Physics Today . The author, Michael Deem, is a professor of physics and astronomy and biochemical and genetic engineering at Rice University (interesting combo). He begins by stating, "The contemplation and resolution of questions at the interfaces of biology, mathematics and physics promise to lead to a greater understanding ...

Mortimer's Mathematics for Physical Chemistry

March 31, 2006 7:00 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

ccording to the cover blurb, Mathematics for Physical Chemistry is a text for chemistry undergraduates with emphasis on preparation for physical chemistry courses. As such, it contains the usual exposition, examples and problems, but also may be useful as a review to those in a variety of other fields.

Mathematics and 21st Century Biology: Some thoughts on the matter from the NRC

December 31, 2005 7:00 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The above title is from a recent report from the National Academies that attempts to identify opportunities and challenges presented by the rapid convergence of knowledge in mathematics and the life sciences. If the interested reader can get by the rather stiff and formal language of the Executive Summary, then the rest of the document is rather good reading

Calling All Mathematica Enthusiasts!

November 30, 2005 7:00 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

Normally, I would avoid use of the word "programming" in a title for fear of immediately losing my audience but, as my readers seem to be mostly chemists and engineers, I may not have so much to fear (I think). This month's column is a review of a really nice introductory text on programming with the Mathematica language.

Mathematica Navigator: Mathematics, Statistics, and Graphics

February 28, 2005 7:00 pm | by John A. Wass, Ph.D. | Articles | Comments

The Navigator is one of the more recent additions to the line of books that, by explanation and example, facilitate the use of one of the most popular symbolic/numeric mathematical programs. Mathematica has been reviewed many times in this and other publications and is frequently used software for advanced mathematics

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