November 24, 2009 |
Today, a century and a half after Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection," the overwhelming majority of scientists in the United States accept Darwinian evolution as the basis for understanding how life on Earth developed. But although evolutionary theory is often portrayed as antithetical to religion, it has not destroyed the religious faith of the scientific community. According to a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center in May and June this year, a majority of scientists (51%)
March 18, 2013 |
Roosters, famously, crow in the early morn -- but scientists don't fully understand why they unleash their voices when they do. After all, roosters have also been known to make a racket when other animals or birds are about, when a car starts, or when lights turn on in the middle of the night. So do they crow because they see the morning light, or because they hear other roosters? Or do they have some kind of internal body clock that lets them know that's it's time to unleash their peals?
March 31, 2014 |
My Sunday column comparing private philanthropy and government social programs has revived the old debate over who is more charitably inclined, conservatives or liberals? Skipping to the last page of the story first, the answer is neither: As two MIT political scientists determined in a 2013 paper , the inclination to give appears to have virtually no relationship to one's partisan or ideological views. There are distinctions, however, in the kind of giving between the two poles. First, some context.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 3, 1999
Whether it's the vaccination that protects us from polio or the telephone that lets us talk with the neighbor down the street or around the world, our lives are enriched by the work of scientists. But what motivates people to study how and why things work, to dream up inventions that save lives or enable space travel? And why is it important to study galaxies or to view the activities of a single cell?
February 3, 2011 |
It has been 10 years since scientists sequenced the human genome and published the results. To celebrate that anniversary, the journal Science is publishing a series of reflections on the accomplishment -- and its importance on science today and in the future. The first musings appeared Thursday and included "vignettes" from the scientists who led the two teams that decoded the genome, Francis Collins and J. Craig Venter. Collins, now National Institutes of Health director, wrote glowingly about medical advances that have emerged from genome sequencing -- including the case of a 6-year-old boy whose inflammatory bowel disease may have been cured by scientists who sequenced his DNA and discovered a mutation that may have caused his symptoms.
July 22, 2011 |
To many, human-animal chimeras--animals that contain human cells--sound like the stuff of nightmares. If you can picture a frog with a human head, a monkey with human vocal chords or a dog with opposable thumbs, you can see why some people want to put the brakes on any sort of scientific experiment that mixes cells from different species. The reality of chimeras is much less dramatic: Picture instead a pig that produces human insulin or a mouse getting chemotherapy for its human cancer cells.