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Science magazine seemed to imply there was some grousing about the new Fundamental Physics Prizes awarded by billionaire Yuri Milner, but we in Rehovot think it’s a good thing. While one can quibble about which fields are still underfunded, we believe that any support for truly basic research — the kind whose applications, if they…

You’ve heard of the carbon cycle, maybe even the nitrogen cycle. But have you given much thought lately to the sulfur cycle? New research in last week’s Science suggests that we should be paying a bit more attention to the way this element moves through the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and land. Over the last 500…

We were just getting used to the idea of our digestive tract as an ecosystem. There are 10 times as many bacteria in our gut as there are cells in our bodies, and the ecological balance between the different types might affect everything from our tendency to gain weight to our general health and susceptibility…

Rose Eveleth talks to Assaf Vardi today on the Scientific American Expeditions blog: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/expeditions/2012/07/11/you-wanted-to-know-who-are-these-scientists-introducing-assaf-vard

Scientists at Sea

One of our scientists, Dr. Assaf Vardi, is off on a month-long cruise. He is on the Knorr, a research vessel operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, with a team from the Weizmann Institute and another four research teams on a route that will take them from the Azores to Iceland. On the way,…

Blurring, chopping and blocking. Three online items this week all deal with some pretty dynamic phenomena. The blurring is in our perceptions. It turns out that if you even think you have lost money in an experiment, your ability to distinguish between musical notes will be hampered. What’s the connection? Dr. Rony Paz has been…

Game Changers

Geneticist Dr. Maya Schuldiner has a lab full of the latest, shiniest robotic equipment. So why is she showing us pictures of socks? What she and her lab group mean to illustrate is that they have trained their research robots to find pairs – not of socks, alas, but of proteins. The team and their…

Would you learn a language by taking a written text and changing letters here and there, or moving a few words around, and asking whether the meaning has changed? That may not be the most efficient way to learn French, but a Weizmann Institute scientist is betting that it will be a very useful way…

Not many Israelis make it all the way to the South Pole. (In fact, very few people go there, at all. Not only is it really, really cold, it is extremely difficult and expensive to transport people, gear and necessities to this remote and inhospitable corner of the earth.) So when we learned that Dr.…

New online articles this week highlight two forays into the world of synthetic biology. Each, in its own way, gives a different perspective on how sophisticated the field has become in the past few years, since smiley-face DNA was first introduced. Prof. Benjamin Geiger of the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Joachim Spatz of the Max…