Lately, paleontologists have been choosing odd bedfellows to study rare, precious fossils: particle physicists. At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this weekend, several researchers reported on how synchrotron particle accelerators—the world’s most powerful X-ray machines—are revealing new details about biological relics such as amber-trapped Cretaceous bugs, the celebrated bird-dinosaur Archaeopteryx, and what appears to be the world’s only fossilized brain.
You can almost see scientists rubbing their hands (or groaning) whenever a new Hollywood film rolls out, riddled with scientific errors. But one astronomer recently voiced a possibly blasphemous suggestion – maybe it's ok if a movie flubs the facts, as long as it gets the big picture right about science and scientists.
Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute comes with his own experience on Hollywood sets, having served as scientific advisor on the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still. His biggest problem wasn't with the alien technology of Klaatu, the extraterrestrial harbinger of doom played by Keanu Reeves. Instead, he fought for the filmmakers to stop showing the scientists as number-crunching stereotypes.
Can drooling make you a better kisser? Scientific evidence suggests that wet, sloppy smooches pack a bigger biochemical punch than dry kisses and thus may be more likely to lead to sex and reproduction, says Rutgers University researcher Helen Fischer, who spoke today at the AAAS conference in Chicago.
Scientists hit the dance floor for a shot at fame and glory
By Bjorn Carey
Posted 12.15.2008 at 4:06 pm 0 Comments
At this year’s AAAS meetings, scientists will be given the opportunity to express their research through interpretive dance. The idea is to "shatter a few stereotypes about stuffy, lab-bound researchers." If past years’ scientist/media parties have taught me anything, it’s that these scientists are as uninhibited as they are uncoordinated on the dance floor. If ever there was a reason for us to take a video camera to AAAS, this would be it.
After the jump, check out the entry videos of the four research groups who’ll receive professional choreography help to present their dances at the meetings. My favorite is “Resolving pathways of functional coupling in human hemoglobin using quantitative low temperature isoelectric focusing of asymmetric mutant hybrids”, but “The role of vitamin D in beta cell function” gets high points for entertainment.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.