Alan Turing is sometimes called ‘the founder of computer science’. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, Charlotte Stoddart went to Oxford to meet his biographer, physicist Andrew Hodges. In this podcast, they talk about Turing’s famous 1936 paper on computable numbers, his contribution to cracking the German Enigma ciphers, and his thoughts on machine intelligence. http://www.nature.com/nature/podcast/index-turing-2012-02-23.html
Tagged with “medicine” (7)
In a sweary episode, we begin by talking about the peculiarities of those who threaten to sue Goldacre for libel, and the way quacks will create misleading statistics. Then via Nick’s desire for robot doctors, we discuss whether doctors are obliged to tell the truth to their patients, how new technology may change the role of doctors in diagnosis, and the potential for conflicts of interest depending upon how doctors are paid. And Nick lets John speak after the first half hour.
We ponder the potential privatisation of the NHS, and the impact that may have on patients and doctors, what happens when you privatise blood donation, and in turn, the nature of an altruistic act. We ask what doctors should be doing with drugs they know don’t perform better than placebo, even if they appear to help patients.
"Medical breakthroughs often follow a strange path. The search for a cure can be advanced when one curious researcher stumbles across mold-covered dishes in the sink, for instance. Thousands of deaths in maternity wards can be forestalled when a single doctor wonders if his colleagues should disinfect their hands before making a delivery. Some advances will inevitably be achieved by people who look in the dark corners where others have not.
One of those dark corners is the stuff that we prefer to flush down the toilet. Human feces, as it turns out, may represent a new frontier for science. New research is unlocking the relationship between our intestinal bacteria and the factors that make us sick — and well.
In this episode, we’ll hear from Dr. Thomas Borody, whose research and clinical work at the Centre for Digestive Diseases in Australia shows that fecal matter may be helpful in treating disease, especially through (hold your nose) “fecal transplants.” And we’ll talk with Alex Khoruts at the University of Minnesota, who sees the potential therapies coming from poop as “the beginning of (a) new science … a wide-open new frontier.”"
Alok Jha talks to Rebecca Skloot about the intriguing story of Henrietta Lacks and why she has been so important to medical science. Plus, Ian Sample interviews British astronaut Tim Peake.
According to the popular notion of science history, the period between the ninth and thirteenth centuries was what has come to be called the Dark Ages.
Scientific advances ground to a halt and the world languished in an intellectual backwater and then the Renaissance happened. The world woke up and great science got going again, picking up where the ancient Greeks and Romans had left off.
But, as Professor Jim Al-Khalili will show in this series, that simply is not true.
While Europe may have been less productive during this period, elsewhere in the world a vast Islamic empire was buzzing with intellectual activity.
A massive movement to translate the work of other cultures allowed scholars working in Arabic to understand, build on and then surpass the scientific achievements of the past, leaving a valuable legacy to the scientists of the European Renaissance.
In part one Jim meets Professor Peter Pormann, a specialist in the history of medicine at the great library of the medical charity the Wellcome Trust in London. He introduces us to the great physician Mohammed Ibn Zakariya ar-Razi, whose groundbreaking work on differential diagnosis, specifically with measles and smallpox, was still being quoted in English and French texts hundreds of years after his death.
Jim also goes to the chemistry laboratory of Dr Andrea Sella, who tells us about Jabir Ibn Hayyan. Jim believes that Jabir was the true father of chemistry, responsible for elevating previous work to the status of a science.
Dr. Robot, I presume? Your appendix may be removed by motor-driven, scalpel-wielding mechanical hands one day. Robots are debuting in the medical field… as well as on battlefields. And they’re increasingly making important decisions – on their own. But can we teach robots right from wrong? Find out why the onslaught of silicon intelligence has prompted a new field of robo-ethics.
Plus, robo-geologists: NASA’s vision for autonomous robots in space.
- P.W. Singer – Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, and the author of Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century
- Wendell Wallach – Chair of a technology and ethics working group for Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and the co-author of Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong
- Pablo Garcia – – Principal engineer working on medical robotics at SRI International, Menlo Park, California
- Robert Anderson – Planetary geologist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
- Robyn Asimov – Daughter of author Isaac Asimov
Homo sapiens have been around for 250,000 years - surely long enough to have become fully evolved?
It was thought that the dramatic extension of life spans during the 20th century eliminated natural selection, but new evidence shows that to be false.
Will selection always be natural, or could postmodern also mean posthuman?