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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…

What effect does a constant stream of engaging stimuli have on our relationships? On our social structure as a whole? What percentage of our actions is influenced by others, and how does this translate, at some point, into group behavior? Neurobiologists Prof. Alon Chen and Dr. Elad Schneidman of the Weizmann Institute and their team…

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…

Google’s official blog has a post today on the first computer in Israel: WEIZAC, built at the Weizmann Institute in the 1950s. Prof. Aviezri Frenkel gives a charming description of the project, including the fireworks when the machine was first turned on, in the presence of  the VIPS who had come to see the new…

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…