Saturday July 22nd 2017

‘Recent Work’ Archives

Retractions: Righting the wrongs of science

Retractions: Righting the wrongs of science

  If the results from an experiment look too good to be true, look again.   Those are wise words to remember. Consider, for example, a recent case of what looked like a breakthrough in treating the deadly virus HIV. The findings turned out to be bogus. All it took [Read More]

Perovskite’s solar promise

Perovskite’s solar promise

In the last few years, the sun-to-power efficiency of perovskites has surged at an unprecedented rate. This material is easier to use than conventional silicon, and if scientists can figure out the right way to keep it stable, it could be the future of solar power. I wrote [Read More]

Where will lighting strike?

Where will lighting strike?

  Michael McQuilken will never forget the day lightning struck his younger brother.   On August 20, 1975, he and Sean hiked to the top of Moro Rock together with their sister Mary and her friend Margie. This granite dome resides in California’s Sequoia National [Read More]

How we got to Ceres

How we got to Ceres

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft recently reached the orbit of Ceres, a dwarf planet and the largest object in the asteroid belt. Read more about the journey here. [Read More]

Archimedes in the Fence

Archimedes in the Fence

According to ancient historians, Archimedes spent the last moments of his life drawing figures in the dirt, so deeply entranced with the pleasures of geometry that he failed to notice the bloody pillage of Syracuse right outside his door. Aloofness, it’s tempting to [Read More]

Mathematics in Metal

Mathematics in Metal

      A mathematical surface known as the Klein bottle is like a mischievous, mathematical cousin of the Moebius Strip, where the inside and the outside are the same side. Among topologists, the Klein bottle is well known as an example of a closed, [Read More]

Paging Dr. Data

Paging Dr. Data

For doctors who treat trauma patients, prediction is key: Will a patient die in the next 30 minutes? Why or why not? What about the next six hours? And after that? What’s the best treatment? How might the patient respond to that treatment in the best- and worst-case [Read More]

Numbers and verse

Numbers and verse

  The universe is a grand book, Galileo noted in 1623, written in the language of mathematics. Those poor souls who don’t understand that language, he cautioned, wander about in a “dark labyrinth.”   I wrote a short piece about math in poetry [Read More]

Northern Hibernaculum

Northern Hibernaculum

  For years, biologist Susi von Oettingen at the US Fish and Wildlife Service tracked the devastation in New England wrought by White Nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease that infects hibernating bats. By some estimates, the disease has killed nearly seven million bats since [Read More]

More than a signature

More than a signature

  Three days before Christmas in 1995, Linda Horton, a medical researcher in Nashville, Tenn., was diagnosed with a large, fast-growing tumor in her breast. She quickly began her treatment course: chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, followed by a mastectomy—her doctors [Read More]

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Latest Topics

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

Resurrecting the Riverkeepers

Under cover of darkness, thieves dove into the inky waters of Tennessee’s river sanctuaries and scooped up [Read More]

Predicting the whirlwind

Predicting the whirlwind

  In more than 20 years as a meteorologist, Joshua Wurman had seen – and chased – more than 150 tornadoes. But [Read More]

Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

Auto-focus eyeglasses rely on liquid lenses

With round lenses set in super-thick frames, these new eyeglasses look like they belong on a cartoon character. But [Read More]

How Bose–Einstein condensates keep revealing weird physics

How Bose–Einstein condensates keep revealing weird physics

A Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), the first of which was shown experimentally 22 years ago, isn’t your garden variety [Read More]

Seeking a Second Opinion

Seeking a Second Opinion

In November 2012, when she was 52 years old, Shannon Semple was diagnosed with a disease she didn’t have. She credits [Read More]

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