Basic Research

Category archives for Basic Research

Do you know the real price of a piece of beef? Here is a nice, round number to chew on: The environmental cost of beef is ten times that of dairy, eggs or poultry. This means that if you chose to eat a steak over an omelet, (assuming they have equal amounts of protein) the…

At the level of biomolecules, life boils down to two basic principles: sequence and folding. We know, for example, that the sequence of nucleotides in the DNA contains our genetic blueprint, but the way that our DNA is folded and wrapped up in each chromosome helps determine which genes are easily accessible for copying. Proteins…

A Visit to the fMRI

I’ve heard that for some the experience of undergoing an MRI scan is claustrophobic, but I find it oddly comfy and cocoon-like. OK, there are those gear-grinding screeches and thumps interrupting the music in the earphones. And the cumbersome set-up for imaging breasts, along with the usual admonition to keep perfectly still, does not leave…

Today’s new articles involve flow: the flow of positrons through the Universe and the flow of particles around the tiny cilia of corals. They involve beauty and mystery, as well. The particle flow, imaged in brilliant colors, won first place in the photography category of the 2013 Science/National Science Foundation International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge.…

Capturing the High End

Perovskite (say it: pə-ˈräv-ˌskīt, -ˈräf-). It may never become a household word, and the chemical formulas (eg., CH3NH3PbI3−xClx ) are as long as the name. But if you find yourself, in the not-so-distant future, adding new-and-improved solar panels to your roof, they may well contain a perovskite layer. If they do, it will be these…

A Matter of Time

  The next time you reach into the fridge for a midnight snack – take heed: New research by Weizmann Institute scientists has shown that the time at which you eat your meals might have a profound effect on your liver triglyceride levels. Their research was conducted on mice, but if found to be true…

“Billions of dollars are being spent on weapons of mass destruction. A small fraction of that could go so far to engage more Israeli and Arab scientists in collaborative projects in order to create a critical mass that will bring about peace.” The speaker is Dr. Zafra Lerman, President of the Malta Conferences Foundation, which…

Today’s guest post is by Weizmann Institute physicist, Prof. Micha Berkooz. Berkooz, a string theorist, recently organized a conference at the Institute on “Black Holes and Quantum Information Theory.” We asked him about Hawking’s recent proposal, reported in Nature under the headline:”There are no black holes.”   Celebrated theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has opened a…

Prof. Mario Livio takes the long view on science. In his newest book, Brilliant Blunders, he points out some of the mistakes made by some icons of science — Einstein and Pauling among them. More importantly, he insists that researchers must be free to make mistakes. Livio recently gave us a taste of his subject…

Science Haiku 3×3

More science-themed haikus. I seem to keep writing them because we tend to put out three “mini press releases” at a time (a relic of the days when they were printed on two sides of a fold-up page and mailed). So I could pick just one to blog about, or I could try to fit…