On a summer day in 1968, professor Julian Stanley met a brilliant but bored 12-year-old named Joseph Bates.
On a summer day in 1968, professor Julian Stanley met a brilliant but bored 12-year-old named Joseph Bates.
From Ensia (find the original story here); reprinted with permission. July 19, 2016 — Ten miles south of Tel Aviv, I stand on a catwalk over two concrete reservoirs the size of football fields and watch water pour into them from a massive pipe emerging from the sand.
The digital revolution is in full swing. How will it change our world? The amount of data we produce doubles every year. In other words: in 2016 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind through 2015.
It is the central question in quantum mechanics, and no one knows the answer: What really happens in a superposition—the peculiar circumstance in which particles seem to be in two or more places or states at once? Now, in a new paper a team of researchers in Israel and Japan has proposed an experi
Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them.
A stressed-out and traumatized father can leave scars in his children. New research suggests this happens because sperm “learn” paternal experiences via a mysterious mode of intercellular communication in which small blebs break off one cell and fuse with another.
If the memory center of the human brain can grow new cells, it might help people recover from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, deepen our understanding of epilepsy and offer new insights into memory and learning.
A client sits before me, seeking help untangling his relationship problems. As a psychotherapist, I strive to be warm, nonjudgmental and encouraging. I am a bit unsettled, then, when in the midst of describing his painful experiences, he says, “I'm sorry for being so negative.”
In a viral YouTube video from October 2011 a one-year-old girl sweeps her fingers across an iPad's touchscreen, shuffling groups of icons. In the following scenes she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they too were screens.
On June 28, 2009, the world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking threw a party at the University of Cambridge, complete with balloons, hors d'oeuvres and iced champagne. Everyone was invited but no one showed up.
Peter Carruthers, Distinguished University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Maryland, College Park, is an expert on the philosophy of mind who draws heavily on empirical psychology and cognitive neuroscience.
Most of us learn how to ride a bike during childhood. But as we grow older, many of us stop riding and put those once-beloved bikes in storage. Years later, when we discover these relics and hop on, it’s as if we never stopped biking.
In Brief Economic inequality is higher in the U.S. than in virtually all other advanced countries. The American political system, coupled with high initial inequality, gave the moneyed enough political influence to change laws to benefit themselves, further exacerbating inequality.
In Brief Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.
NEW YORK—If you, me and every person and thing in the cosmos were actually characters in some giant computer game, we would not necessarily know it. The idea that the universe is a simulation sounds more like the plot of “The Matrix,” but it is also a legitimate scientific hypothesis.
Marcelo Gleiser, a 60-year-old Brazil-born theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College and prolific science popularizer, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. Valued at just under $1.
Picture the stereotypical pot smoker: young, dazed and confused. Marijuana has long been known for its psychoactive effects, which can include cognitive impairment.
Meet Grok. According to his online profile, he is a tall, lean, ripped and agile 30-year-old. By every measure, Grok is in superb health: low blood pressure; no inflammation; ideal levels of insulin, glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. He and his family eat really healthy, too.
Does the language you speak influence how you think? This is the question behind the famous linguistic relativity hypothesis, that the grammar or vocabulary of a language imposes on its speakers a particular way of thinking about the world.
Who are You Calling “Smart”? No doubt you know several folks with perfectly respectable IQs who repeatedly make poor decisions. The behavior of such people tells us that we are missing something important by treating intelligence as if it encompassed all cognitive abilities.
Escaping predators, digestion and other animal activities—including those of humans—require oxygen. But that essential ingredient is no longer so easy for marine life to obtain, several new studies reveal.
Physicists have a problem with time. Whether through Newton’s gravitation, Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Einstein’s special and general relativity or quantum mechanics, all the equations that best describe our universe work perfectly if time flows forward or backward.
It was a faustian bargain—and it certainly made editors at National Public Radio squirm. The deal was this: NPR, along with a select group of media outlets, would get a briefing about an upcoming announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a day before anyone else.
Elite memory athletes are not so different from their peers in any other sport: They face off in intense competitions where they execute seemingly superhuman feats such as memorizing a string of 500 digits in five minutes.
In a candid conversation with Frank Rich last fall, Chris Rock said, "Oh, people don’t even know. If poor people knew how rich rich people are, there would be riots in the streets.
The link between a mother and child is profound, and new research suggests a physical connection even deeper than anyone thought.
In Brief The claim that gun ownership stops crime is common in the U.S., and that belief drives laws that make it easy to own and keep firearms. But about 30 careful studies show more guns are linked to more crimes: murders, rapes, and others. Far less research shows that guns help.
Our political opinions and attitudes are an important part of who we are and how we construct our identities. Hence, if I ask your opinion on health care, you will not only share it with me, but you will likely resist any of my attempts to persuade you of another point of view.
The stresses of everyday life may start taking a toll on the brain in relatively early middle age, new research shows.
At one time or another, we have all been frustrated by trying to set a password, only to have it rejected as too weak. We are also told to change our choices regularly. Obviously such measures add safety, but how exactly? Here is the logic behind setting hack-resistant passwords.
As Olympians go for the gold in Vancouver, even the steeliest are likely to experience that familiar feeling of "butterflies" in the stomach. Underlying this sensation is an often-overlooked network of neurons lining our guts that is so extensive some scientists have nicknamed it our "second brain".
We have heard for years that planting trees can help save the world from global warming. That mantra was mostly a statement of faith, however.
Research on the unconscious mind has shown that the brain makes judgments and decisions quickly and automatically. It continuously makes predictions about future events.
SA Forum is an invited essay from experts on topical issues in science and technology. If there’s a gene for hubris, the 23andMe crew has certainly got it. Last Friday the U.S.
When is the last time a stereotype popped into your mind? If you are like most people, the authors included, it happens all the time. That doesn’t make you a racist, sexist, or whatever-ist. It just means your brain is working properly, noticing patterns, and making generalizations.
The Food and Drug Administration’s approval in March of a depression treatment based on ketamine generated headlines, in part, because the drug represents a completely new approach for dealing with a condition the World Health Organization has labeled the leading cause of disability worldwide.
How useful is it, really, to know thyself? The idea that self-insight is good for us dates all the way back to the inscriptions on ancient Greece’s Temple of Apollo in Delphi.
Michael A. Lombardi, a metrologist in the Time and Frequency Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., takes the case.
When it comes to home projects, I am a step-by-step kind of girl. I read the instructions from start to finish, and then reread and execute each step. My husband, on the other hand, prefers to study the diagrams and then jump right in. Think owner’s manual versus IKEA instructions.
There seems to be a simple way to instantly increase a person’s level of general knowledge. Psychologists Ulrich Weger and Stephen Loughnan recently asked two groups of people to answer questions.
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Although a few drugs manage temporarily certain cognitive symptoms of the illness, none can stop or meaningfully slow its progression.
We’ve all heard the adage: practice makes perfect! In other words, acquiring skills takes time and effort. But how exactly does one go about learning a complex subject such as tennis, calculus, or even how to play the violin? An age-old answer is: practice one skill at a time.
Nearly a year has passed since Rebecca Knickmeyer first met the participants in her latest study on brain development.
Donald Trump has selected one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead his U.S. EPA transition team, according to two sources close to the campaign.
Jan van Deursen was baffled by the decrepit-looking transgenic mice he created in 2000. Instead of developing tumours as expected, the mice experienced a stranger malady. By the time they were three months old, their fur had grown thin and their eyes were glazed with cataracts.
In a 1946 essay in the London Tribune entitled “In Front of Your Nose,” George Orwell noted that “we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right.
There’s something mysterious coming up from the frozen ground in Antarctica, and it could break physics as we know it. Physicists don’t know what it is exactly.
Melissa and J.J. met on the finish line of an obstacle course race. “We were both winded and covered in mud yet we still managed to flirt. It felt weirdly authentic,” Melissa told me in our first psychotherapy session. “He was into triathlons and obstacle courses like I was.
1. Does humanity have a future beyond Earth? “I think it’s a dangerous delusion to envisage mass emigration from Earth. There’s nowhere else in the solar system that’s as comfortable as even the top of Everest or the South Pole. We must address the world’s problems here.
Chances are you have heard about the “marshmallow test.” Put a marshmallow in front of a child and give them two choices: eat it now or wait 15 minutes and get two.
Some varieties of wood, such as oak and maple, are renowned for their strength. But scientists say a simple and inexpensive new process can transform any type of wood into a material stronger than steel, and even some high-tech titanium alloys.
The quantum world is a weird one.
Recognizing when a friend or colleague feels sad, angry or surprised is key to getting along with others. But a new study suggests that a knack for eavesdropping on feelings may sometimes come with an extra dose of stress.
In Brief Playing Nice Even kindergartners have a sense of fair play and will share more with specific groups—family, friends and people who have been generous with them. Parents can tap this notion of fairness to encourage children to cooperate with one another and avoid spiteful behavior.
For every inside there is an outside, and for every outside there is an inside; though they are different, they go together. —Alan Watts, Man, Nature, and the Nature of Man, 1991 I grew up in a devout and practicing Roman Catholic family with Purzel, a fearless and high-energy dachshund.
Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation from InsideClimate News.
Editor's Note: Our April 22 article elicited a lengthy response from Dean Ornish, which we publish here, along with a rebuttal from Melinda Wenner Moyer.
Does your hometown have any mathematical tourist attractions such as statues, plaques, graves, the cafe where the famous conjecture was made, the desk where the famous initials are scratched, birthplaces, houses, or memorials? Have you encountered a mathematical sight on your travels? If so, we invi
The French poet Paul Valéry once said, “The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.” In that spirit, consider a situation many of us will find we know too well: You're sitting at your desk in your office at home.
More than 60 years ago Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the double-helical structure of deoxyribonucleic acid—better known as DNA. Today, for the cost of a one-year Netflix subscription, you can have your DNA sequenced to learn about your ancestry and proclivities.
A new 3D printing technique can replicate complex structures—such as Rodin’s famous sculpture, “The Thinker,” seen here—using projections of light into a special resin.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have met with enormous public opposition over the past two decades. Many people believe that GMOs are bad for their health – even poisonous – and that they damage the environment.
Hypothesis. Theory. Law. These scientific words get bandied about regularly, yet the general public usually gets their meaning wrong. Now, one scientist is arguing that people should do away with these misunderstood words altogether and replace them with the word "model.
In E. B White's beloved novel Charlotte's Web, an old sheep advises the gluttonous rat Templeton that he would live longer if he ate less. “Who wants to live forever?” Templeton sneers. “I get untold satisfaction from the pleasures of the feast.”
As intangible as they may seem, memories have a firm biological basis. According to textbook neuroscience, they form when neighboring brain cells send chemical communications across the synapses, or junctions, that connect them.
New research suggests it is possible to slow or even reverse aging, at least in mice, by undoing changes in gene activity—the same kinds of changes that are caused by decades of life in humans.
The world’s most worrisome military flashpoint is arguably not in the Strait of Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, Iran, Israel, Kashmir or Ukraine. In fact, it cannot be located on any map of Earth, even though it is very easy to find.
Selfies, headshots, mug shots — photos of oneself convey more these days than snapshots ever did back in the Kodak era. Most digitally minded people continually post and update pictures of themselves at professional, social media and dating sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Match.com and Tinder.
The concept of mindfulness involves focusing on your present situation and state of mind. This can mean awareness of your surroundings, emotions and breathing—or, more simply, enjoying each bite of a really good sandwich.