In his new book Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life, Craig Venter writes of the brave new world synthetic biology may some day deliver: from consumer devices that print out the latest flu vaccine to instruments on Mars landers that analyze Martian DNA and teleport it back to Earth to be studied or recreated.
Tagged with “biology” (46)
As E.O. Wilson accepts his 2007 TED Prize, he makes a plea on behalf of all creatures that we learn more about our biosphere — and build a networked encyclopedia of all the world’s knowledge about life.
British zoologist Richard Dawkins turned evolutionary theory on its head when he published his book, ‘The Selfish Gene,’ in 1976. His recently released autobiography, ‘An Appetite for Wonder,’ sheds light on the first 35 years of Dawkins’ life, from his birth in Kenya, to his fascination with science at Oxford, to the origin of his gene-centered view about natural selection. He joins us in the studio.
Scientist, broadcaster and writer Adam Rutherford discusses his new book Creation which explores the chemical origins of life on Earth, and reveals why he believes our future is in the hands of genetic engineers.
Alok Jha is joined by Adam Rutherford to discuss how life began some 4bn years ago – and the manipulation of its blueprint, DNA, through genetic engineering. Adam’s latest book, Creation: The Origin of Life/The Future of Life, is two books in one. The first details the latest research into how the first cellular life form emerged, and the second looks at the rapidly developing science of synthetic biology.
A team of scientists has discovered that dung beetles climb on dung balls and dance around in circles before taking off. This dance is not one of joy, however — the insects are checking out the sky to get their bearings. Melissa Block and Audie Cornish have more.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Edward O. Wilson has revolutionized science and inspired the public more often than any other living biologist. Now he is blending his pioneer work on ants with a new perspective on human development to propose a radical reframing of how evolution works.
First the social insects ruled, from 60 million years ago. Then a species of social mammals took over, from 10 thousand years ago. Both sets of “eusocial” animals mastered the supremely delicate art of encouraging altruism, so that individuals in the groups would act as if they value the goal of the group over their own goals. They would specialize for the group and die for the group. In recent decades the idea of “kin selection” seemed to explain how such an astonishing phenomenon could evolve. Wilson replaces kin selection with “multi-level selection,” which incorporates both individual selection (long well understood) and group selection (long considered taboo). Every human and every human society has to learn how to manage adroitly the perpetual ambiguity and conflict between individual needs and group needs. What I need is never the same as what we need.
E. O. Wilson’s current book is The Social Conquest of Earth. His previous works include The Superorganism; The Future of Life; Consilience; Biophilia; Sociobiology; and The Insect Societies.
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