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“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…

Breaking the Law

A recent paper by Weizmann Institute scientists suggests that we might be able to break the third law of thermodynamics. This is how that law was originally formulated in 1908 by Walther Nernst: “It is impossible for any procedure to lead to the isotherm T = 0 in a finite number of steps,” (source: Wikipedia).…

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…

In the future, stem cells created from our own skin cells will be used to renew damaged organs or grow new ones. We know this promise has often been made before, but the latest research in the lab of Dr. Jacob (Yaqub) Hanna is producing some solid findings that may make you believe in the…

Physical Benefits

Of the four new articles online on our website, three happen, purely by accident, to be on physics research. The three are very different, and yet each is an illustration of the ways that basic physics research changes our world – in small and large, practical and enlightening ways. And each is situated at a…

Here is a photo of one of the Golem computers on which Arieh Warshel and Michael Levitt — this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry winners, along with Martin Karplus — did much of their original work.   My dad was a computer programmer at that time, so I have some idea of what their work…

A Genetic Balance of Terror

Cancer, we are told, is a disease of the genes. It originates in mutations in the DNA. But a paper published by a Weizmann Institute group in Cell Reports flips that idea sideways by about 90 degrees: For at least some types of the disease, the healthy, non-mutated version of a gene is no less…

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…