Frances Ashcroft’s new book details how electricity in the body fuels everything we think, feel or do. She tells Fresh Air about discovering a new protein, how scientists are like novelists and how she wanted to be a farmer’s wife.
Tagged with “biology” (21)
Bees are remarkable among insects. They can count, remember human faces, and communicate through dance routines performed entirely in the dark. But are they intelligent? Even creative? Bee aficionado Stephen Humphrey, along with a hive of leading bee researchers and scientists, investigates the mental lives of bees.
We all know the eensey-weensey spider went down the water spout. But for a lot of us, that’s about all we know about spiders. They’re around. They spin webs. They have a lot of legs and make some people shriek.
A big new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History goes way on in to the spider story, with the fishing spider and the golden orb-web spider and the goliath bird eater spider – a spider as big as your hand. It’s got the story of spider venom and spider silk – stronger than steel! – and why we need spiders.
The author of more than 25 books, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning works of nonfiction, E.O. Wilson has won a raft of scientific and conservation prizes, including the prestigious National Medal of Science. Wilson’s writing explores the world of ants and other tiny creatures, illuminating how all creatures great and small are interdependent. A Harvard professor since 1953, his ideas have had an immeasurable influence on our understanding of life, nature, and society. He remains an outspoken advocate for conservation and biodiversity, fighting to preserve the wondrous variety of the natural world. In The Social Conquest of Earth, Wilson lays out a reexamination of human evolution—addressing fundamental questions of philosophy, religion, and science—in explaining how socially advanced species have come to dominate the earth.
In conversation with Steven L. Snyder, Ph.D.
These days anyone can contribute to a great scientific endeavour, whether it’s astronomy, molecular biology or sleep research. Clare Freeman investigates the growing importance of citizen scientists and crowdsourced research.
In this week’s show we delve into the world of crowdsourced science to find out why scientists are increasingly relying on members of the public to make observations, gather information and analyse vast clumps of data. The list of crowdsourced projects is seemingly endless, from folding proteins in computer games, to discovering new planets and searching for extraterrestrial intelligence.
Prof Chris Lintott started his first crowdsourcing project in 2007, Galaxy Zoo. He explains to Clare Freeman how this and all the other Zooniverse projects have developed over the years. It’s not just the technology that has advanced but also the community, with citizen scientists willing to spend more time than ever scouring data.
In the two months since our Science Weekly call-out, almost 6,000 Britons have contributed to Prof Russell Foster’s crowdsourced survey of sleep "chronotypes" – whether you’re an owl or a lark. He reveals the initial results comparing the sleep patterns of Germans and Britons.
Knowing your chronotype can help you maximise your intellectual performance, but could your school or employer be persuaded to let you start work later or earlier depending on your chronotype?
Stewart Brand, author of Whole Earth Discipline and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, is working on a new project to bring back extinct animals. From the passenger pigeon to the wooly mammoth, Brand explains why and how the project, "Revive and Restore," plans to bring back some extinct species.
Camels are the heart and soul of Arabic culture. Biologist Tessa McGregor travels to Oman to hear how they are venerated, even in an age of four-wheel drive and oil-money opulence.
Astronomer Dimitar Sasselov, director of Harvard’s Origins of Life Initiative, joins us to discuss his new book "The Life of Super-Earths" and to explain why he thinks planets larger than Earth offer the best prospects for finding life as we know it.
Juan Pérez Mercader talks to us about the origins of life and astrobiology. Juan Pérez Mercader directs the Synthetic Life project at Harvard’s Origin of Life Inititative.
IDEAS THAT ACCELERATE: SCIENCE MULTIPLIERS
The Dark Matter of Biology
Jonathan Eisen, Professor, University of California Davis
Compass Summit, a forum for true interaction and exchange, examines some of today’s most pressing problems through the lens of global citizenship, recognizing that human ingenuity is an unlimited resource. Guided by NPR’s Ira Flatow, an intimate group of some of the world’s best thinkers and doers convened along the rugged Palos Verdes coastline on Oct 23-26, 2011 at Terranea Resort to engage in meaningful conversation, ask questions, and challenge ideas — we invite you to join in the conversation.
Jonathan Eisen is a Professor at the University of California, Davis. His research focuses on the evolution of new functions and the genomic diversity of microbes and microbial communities. Eisen is also a vocal advocate for “open science”, the Academic Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Biology, an active and award-winning blogger (e.g., http://phylogenomics.blogspot.com), and a scientific prankster.
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