Tag Archives: science

To understand Science, study History

To understand Science, study History

I love the sciences. Because my father was a scientist, I grew up surrounded by talk of running gels, western blots, and poorly calibrated centrifuges. I desperately wanted to be a scientist. First and foremost, to prove to my dad that I could—he was convinced that science was not for me. But also because its … learn more→

Distinguishing science from nonsense

Distinguishing science from nonsense

As Americans enter 2014, there is grave concern among our political leaders that we are lagging behind other nations in terms of our children’s scientific literacy. An international survey confirmed in December that many American kids don’t understand science, and that they continue to fall behind children from other nations—many much poorer than we are—in … learn more→

Testing the theory: taking Einstein to primary schools

Testing the theory: taking Einstein to primary schools

School students today are taught physics based on obsolete theories and outmoded ways of thinking. Instead of the truth, most learn a naive simplification – the 300 year-old Newtonian physics, itself based on disproved 2,300 year-old Euclidean geometry. But why? Simply put, the thinking has long been that one can’t learn the truth without first … learn more→

Separating the pseudo from science

Separating the pseudo from science

The term “pseudoscience” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, most notably in debates about the dominant consensus on anthropogenic climate change. Say “pseudoscience,” and immediately a bunch of doctrines leap to mind: astrology, phrenology, eugenics, ufology, and so on. Do they have anything in common? Some posit unknown forces of nature, others don’t. … learn more→

The ‘impact’ of research carries weight (but ripples matter more)

The ‘impact’ of research carries weight (but ripples matter more)

What has been the impact of the invention of the telescope? What has been the impact of Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, or the splitting of the atom? Yes, that’s right: the idea of measuring the “impact” of research is back in a big way. Within the research community and within government, plenty of people … learn more→

What lies ahead for science and science writing?

What lies ahead for science and science writing?

The MIT Graduate Program in Science Writing turns 10 this year, and this Saturday saw many of the program’s 61 alumni back on campus to catch up and reminisce with fellow graduates, professors and mentors. A daylong symposium, titled “Telling the Stories of Science,” was a celebration of the past 10 years of science writing … learn more→

'Lost world' discovered around Antarctic vents

‘Lost world’ discovered around Antarctic vents

Communities of species previously unknown to science have been discovered on the seafloor near Antarctica, clustered in the hot, dark environment surrounding hydrothermal vents. The discoveries, made by teams led by the University of Oxford, University of Southampton, the National Oceanography Centre, and British Antarctic Survey, include new species of yeti crab, starfish, barnacles, and … learn more→

Do we need a ‘science of evidence’?

Do we need a ‘science of evidence’?

Evidence is key to many topical debates such as global warming, evolution, the search for weapons of mass destruction, DNA profiling, and advances in science and medicine. A new book asks whether, considering the importance of evidence for so many disciplines, a general ‘science of evidence’ is possible – or even desirable. Evidence, Inference and … learn more→

Birth of bling: world’s first art studio found in South Africa

Birth of bling: world’s first art studio found in South Africa

Could we have found the first artist’s studio in human history? We may well have. We all recognise the material signs of wealth. Fast cars, large yachts and sparkling bling all tell us who has more. Crowns, insignia, mayoral gowns are material signs of rank or status. Archaeologists have long pondered when these public displays … learn more→

Can indigenous peoples be relied on to gather reliable environmental data that meet the standards of science?

Can indigenous peoples be relied on to gather reliable environmental data that meet the standards of science?

No one is in a better position to monitor environmental conditions in remote areas of the natural world than the people living there. But many scientists believe the cultural and educational gulf between trained scientists and indigenous cultures is simply too great to bridge – that native peoples cannot be relied on to collect reliable … learn more→