Innovation is an Evolving Process of Trial and Error

Out of all these ideas, will one rise to the top? KlingSup/Shutterstock.com    By Dr. Edward Wasserman and Dr. Eric Scerri / 06.22.2017 Wasserman: Professor of Experimental Psychology, University of Iowa Scerri: Science Author and Chemistry Lecturer, University of California, Los Angeles Scientific discovery is popularly believed to result from the sheer genius of intellectual stars[…]

Tracing the Links between Research and Real-World Applications

Basic research and applications coexist in a tangled two-way ecosystem. lenggirl, Shutterstock    By Dr. Benjamin F. Jones (left) and Dr. Mohammad Ahmadpoor (right) / 08.10.2017 Jones: Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy Ahmadpoor: Postdoctoral Fellow of Strategy J.L. Kellogg School of Management Northwestern University What does hailing a ride with Uber have to do with 19th-century geometry and[…]

Science versus Religion in American Law

Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Steven Goldberg Professor Emeritus of Sociology City College of New York Introduction The power of organized religion has waxed and waned dramatically throughout human history. In many preindustrial societies, the church provided not only answers to what we think of today as scientific questions, but strict guidance to political leaders as[…]

The Scientific Process

Figure 1.14 Formerly called blue-green algae, the (a) cyanobacteria seen through a light microscope are some of Earth’s oldest life forms. These (b) stromatolites along the shores of Lake Thetis in Western Australia are ancient structures formed by the layering of cyanobacteria in shallow waters. (credit a: modification of work by NASA; scale-bar data from[…]

Scientific Revolutions

The First Thanksgiving, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, 1621 / Library of Congress By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science The Trouble with Parables We all learn parables along the way to being educated. It’s part of everyone’s intellectual upbringing. The trouble[…]

An Introduction to the Philosophy of Science

Neural network / Creative Commons By Dr. Bryan W. Roberts Associate Professor of Philosophy, Logic, and Scientific Method London School of Economics & Political Science An Exercise in the Incredible Let’s start with an exercise: what would you say is the most important forces for human existence? Think about that for a moment. Try to[…]

Scientific Theories aren’t Mere Conjecture – To Survive, they Must Work

There wouldn’t be statues acclaiming Darwin and his theory if it couldn’t stand up to decades of testing. CGP Grey By Dr. Tom Solomon / 03.07.2017 Professor of Physics and Astronomy Bucknell University “The evidence is incontrovertible. Global warming is occurring.” “Climate change is real, is serious and has been influenced by anthropogenic activity.” “The[…]

The Scientific Revolution Revisited, 1550-1700

The French Academy of Sciences was established in 1666. / Wikimedia Commons By Dr. Mikuláš Teich / 04.21.2015 Emeritus Fellow, History and Philosophy of Science Robinson College University of Cambridge Introduction I This is about interpreting the Scientific Revolution as a distinctive movement directed towards the exploration of the world of nature and coming into[…]

Shakespeare’s Astronomy

Portrait of William Shakespeare 1564-1616. Chromolithography after Hombres y Mujeres celebres 1877 / Barcelona Museum Lecture by Dr. Michael Rowan-Robinson, Museum of London / 11.30.2016 Emeritus Professor of Astronomy Gresham College ‘Shakespeare’s allusions to the planets are very often made astrologically.  In but few instances are they made from a purely astronomical point of view’[…]

‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’: Basic Transmission Genetics

Genetic transmission is the mechanism that drives evolution. DNA encodes all the information necessary to make an organism. Every organism’s DNA is made of the same basic parts, arranged in different orders. DNA is divided into chromosomes, or groups of genes, which code for proteins. Asexually reproducing organisms reproduce using mitosis, while sexually reproducing organisms[…]

The Science of Connection

By Fritjof Capra / 02.05.2017 Modern Science is Realising the World is a Living Network One Earth, One Humanity, One Future, is a concept that has been conveyed by poets, philosophers and spiritual teachers throughout the ages. One of its most beautiful expressions is found in the celebrated speech attributed to Chief Seattle of the[…]

SmallSat Revolution: Tiny Satellites Poised to Make Big Contributions to Essential Science

Tiny CubeSats are ready to be our eyes in the skies. Earth Background: NASA; HARP Spacecraft: SDL; Montage: Martins, UMBC By Dr. J. Vanderlei Martins / 01.26.2017 Professor of Physics University of Maryland, Baltimore County Tiny satellites, some smaller than a shoe box, are currently orbiting around 200 miles above Earth, collecting data about our[…]

Getting a Scientific Message Across Means Taking Human Nature into Account

Yeah, I’m not hearing that. / Shutterstock By Rose Hendricks / 01.10.2017 PhD Candidate in Cognitive Science University of California, San Diego We humans have collectively accumulated a lot of science knowledge. We’ve developed vaccines that can eradicate some of the most devastating diseases. We’ve engineered bridges and cities and the internet. We’ve created massive[…]

Languages Still a Major Barrier to Global Science, New Research Finds

Over a third of new conservation science documents published annually are in non-English languages, despite assumption of English as scientific ‘lingua franca’. Researchers find examples of important science missed at international level, and practitioners struggling to access new knowledge, as a result of language barriers. 12.29.2016 English is now considered the common language, or ‘lingua[…]

Would You Pay $30,000 to Have a Beer Tailored to Your DNA?

A London-based brewery has recently launched a unique service that uses cutting edge genetic profiling to create “the world’s most personalised beer”, based on the client’s DNA profile. And it “only” costs £25,000 ($30,550). Ciaran Giblin, the brewmaster of Meantime Brewery, was the world’s first brewer to have a beer tailored to his own DNA, and was so[…]

These Gamers Chase Atoms, Not Aliens

12.13.2016 Looking to help humanity explore the cosmos? Advance our knowledge in biology or brain science? How about quantum physics or nanotechnology? Grab your Playstation and get to work! By playing science-based video games online, nonscientists are accelerating research in all these fields and more. Researchers tap collective brainpower by designing video game challenges related to[…]

Catching Lightning in a Fossil – and Calculating How Much Energy a Strike Contains

Very powerful, try to avoid. / Shutterstock By Dr. Matthew Pasek / 12.08.2016 Associate Professor of Geosciences University of South Florida For most of human history, people have been terrified by lightning. Frightening bolts from above, lightning was a tool of the gods to smite mortals for their hubris (or their unfortunate penchant for seeking[…]

World’s ‘Smallest Magnifying Glass’ Makes it Possible to See Individual Chemical Bonds between Atoms

The presence of the sharp metal tip on a plasma sphere concentrates the electric field into its vicinity, initiating a spark. Credit: NanoPhotonics Cambridge Using the strange properties of tiny particles of gold, researchers have concentrated light down smaller than a single atom, letting them look at individual chemical bonds inside molecules, and opening up[…]