From medicine to the movies, the horrifying to the holy, and history to the present day — we’re kinda obsessed with blood. This hour, we consider the power and magic of the red liquid that runs through our veins.
Tagged with “biology” (57)
In his new book, Letters to a Young Scientist, biologist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Edward O. Wilson aims to inspire a new generation of scientists. Among his observations and advice: Geniuses don’t make the best scientists, and don’t worry if you aren’t good at math.
With wit and unflagging curiosity, Mary Roach has explored the posthumous human body (Stiff), ectoplasm and the afterlife (Spook), sex (Bonk), and the scientific oddities of space travel (Packing for Mars). “One of those rare writers who can tackle the most obscure unpleasantness and distill the data into a hilarious and informative package,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, Roach probes the creepy aspects of life we all wonder about but are usually too polite to mention. Her new book Gulp is an exploration of human digestion.
In conversation with Anna Dhody, Curator, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum.
Simon Winchester is the bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, The Map That Changed the World, A Crack in the Edge of the World, The Man Who Loved China, and more than a dozen other books. Mr. Winchester was made Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Elizabeth II in 2006. Winchester discusses his fascinating new book Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection. In this captivating and visually stunning book, Winchester explores an array of more than 300 animal skulls, from the aardvark to the red-bellied piranha, and shares the fascinating story of the man who amassed much of the collection: an obsessive Englishman named Alan Dudley.
Synthetic biology can sound kind of bland. Like polyester pants. Nylon stockings. Synthetic – no big deal.
But think about it. Synthetic biology. Biology fully, deeply, maybe radically remade by man. It’s well underway.
Re-engineering biology to make food, fuel, medicine. Seeds that grow into houses. Stronger, smarter humans. Maybe even bring back the dead. The extinct
My guest today has written about finding an “extremely adventurous” woman to give birth to a Neanderthal. And he’s not kidding.
This hour, On Point: synthetic biology creating new and very old life.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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