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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…

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…