Science is a communal venture. This has always been true, but is probably more true today than ever before. To make scientific progress, we must all “stand on the shoulders of giants”, building upon past work to further our understanding of natural phenomena. As our sciences delve into ever-more-complex phenomena, the reliance on the collective power of a scientific community has never been greater. Gone are the days of the lone thinker or experimentalist who delivers a eureka moment: science is now built upon the slow accumulation of understanding, with each scientist contributing to a larger whole. The massive collaborative effort that is modern science is made possible by unprecedented tools for communicating and sharing results. It is a good — albeit humbling — time to be a member of the scientific community.
I have been a consistent participant in the scientific community in the usual ways: attending meetings, contributing to the peer review process as a referee, and volunteering for the professional societies to which I belong. I write a lot of book reviews, which I conceive of as a form of service to my fellow scientists. And this site is also designed to make a contribution to the scientific community through the provision of free teaching tools, lesson ideas, reviews, and other informative blog posts.