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Archives for June, 2009

In our timezone we’ve nearly reached the end of day three of the Nobel Laureates Meeting 2009. As before, the conference has been dominated by two conjuctures: The atmosphere of pure wit that about 600 scientists spread and scorching temperatures. Nevertheless it is time to sum up what has been concerning us on ScienceBlogs Germany:…

In a recent New York Times article, Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers to Play It Safe, the National Cancer Institute and parent institution NIH were taken to task for their biased funding of low-risk studies, which lead to what the article claims are few breakthroughs in effective treatment. The article critiques the funding of research…

Last Tuesday, West Virginia State Police arrested NASA climate scientist James Hansen for trespassing on a Massey Energy-owned coal plant near the state’s Coal River Valley. Thirty-one demonstrators–also including actress Daryl Hannah and former West Virginia Representative Ken Hechler–were apprehended while protesting the company’s practice of mountaintop removal mining, which both perpetuates the use of…

The congress center “Inselhalle” at the opening

Ask an informed layman what he or she thinks is the greatest science-based industrial discovery or invention of all time and the person will likely name the computer, the transistor, the telephone, the incandescent light or perhaps even the blast furnace. But key as all these inventions were to humanity’s progress, there is perhaps one…

The cockchafer speech

The what??? Well, you see, one of the traditional events at the Lindau Nobel Laureates Meeting is the annual cockchafer speech. Let me explain that. The first conference in 1951 ended with a gathering of all attending Nobel laureates and their host, Count Lennart Bernadotte, to take a group photograph. Unfortunately it turned out that…

In the course of anthropological history, several developments served to set humans apart from other mammals: Tools, language, and domestication all played an instrumental role in shaping our evolution. Now, Razib of Gene Expression reviews a recently published book, Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human, that argues that the ability to extract maximum energy…

The Buzz: Scientists Tune In

A recent NEA survey of the arts revealed a dismaying trend: a consistent decline in public participation across nearly every discipline studied, including music, theater, dance and the fine arts. And while ScienceBlogger Chad Orzel points out that the survey neglected to include rock or pop music, film, or other video art, he also speculates…

Does the AMA Still Matter?

As the field of health care changes, so do its most staid institutions. Since its reorganization in 1900, the American Medical Association (AMA) served as a body of powerful political influence during the 20th century. But as Revere of Effect Measure and Joseph of The Corpus Callosum explain, membership in the AMA began declining with…

When the chemist Wilhelm Ostwald received the Nobel prize for his research on catalysis in 1909 he probably didn’t expect that his field of work would still be one of the most important topics in modern chemistry one hundred years later. Nevertheless all three Nobel Prizes in chemistry in the last years were given to…