Basic Research

Category archives for Basic Research

First, there was the great hope of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and then there was the inevitable letdown. When the announcement came, in 2006, that simple adult skin cells could be reprogrammed – reverted back to an embryonic stem cell state by the addition of just four genes – it seemed like an almost…

Last month we reported on the first people who, around twelve thousand years ago, were lining their loved ones’ graves with flowers. This month, we have a piece on the “extinct” frog that was “resurrected” and then discovered to be a living fossil. Both of these studies were led by Israeli researchers from other institutions.…

Science Haiku 2

Since the haiku post was well received, and since we have another three pieces online today – each on a different finding and each interesting in its own right – I have decided to return to the haiku format. Among other things, there is something quite satisfying about distilling complex scientific findings down to 17…

Right above the tree tops — where most people might think there is just air — Prof. Dan Yakir sees a distinctive atmospheric layer in which all sorts of complex exchanges are taking place. CO2, of course, is one of the important ones, and we still don’t understand all of the ins and outs of…

Mice on Camera

Take a bunch of peculiar individuals, put them all together in one setting; film their every move, every second of the day. Sound familiar? Dr. Tali Kimchi is explicit about the resemblance of her experiments to a well-known reality TV show. The difference, of course, is that Kimchi’s subjects are mice. She places large groups…

The world – or at least a large swathe of Israel – was their classroom. An unusual international conference for science teaching experts started out at the Clore Garden of Science, on the Weizmann Institute campus. From there the “nomadic” conference made its way down to Eilat at the southern tip of the country, Jerusalem…

To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day. Lao Tsu Apparently our nervous systems develop according to the Chinese philosopher’s principle of being and not being. As our nerve cells grow, they send out long extensions – axons – throughout the developing tissues. And as they reach out, some…

Have you complained about the weather recently? On the gas giants at the edges of our solar system, Uranus and Neptune, hurricane-like storm systems as big around as Earth blow 1000 km/h winds for years on end. Voyager II image of Neptune, showing storm features. Image: NASA But wait…What exactly constitutes weather on a giant…

Poetry is finding its way into our consciousness at the Weizmann Institute: At the recent, fourth annual Science on Tap evening, which the Institute hosts in Tel Aviv, several poets joined in the fun, reading from their work before and after the talks given by scientists in over 60 filled-to-capacity pubs and cafes around the…

When we navigate through our environment, do we track mostly in two dimensions or in three? Clearly, we can move in all three dimensions, but does our internal map relate to the vertical direction in the same way as it does to the horizontal axes on the ground? That question has not yet been definitively…