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- May 26 20161 minute
Spark of Science: Robbert Dijkgraaf: The director of the Institute for Advanced Study on the wonders of his childhood attic.
Robbert Dijkgraaf will sometimes let himself drift back to his childhood attic in the Netherlands. It was there that he did some of his first physics experiments, playing with discarded binocular optics that his father kept stacked in boxes. As he ha
- May 30 20131 minute
Graphing Human Uniqueness
Throughout this issue, we’ve explored the question of whether humans are unique, and if so, in what ways. In one interactive piece, “The Vocabulary of Our Uniqueness,” we asked readers which words best described what makes us special. And here are th
- Jun 1 20164 minutes
A Head of STEAM
Regular readers of this column may recall that my father was a scientist at Bell Telephone Laboratories. Beginning his work in the 1950s, when computers were the size of classrooms and programming was something that was done by executives at one of t
- May 14 201512 minutes
The Trouble With Scientists: How one psychologist is tackling human biases in science.
Sometimes it seems surprising that science functions at all. In 2005, medical science was shaken by a paper with the provocative title “Why most published research findings are false.”1 Written by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford U
- Dec 10 201615 minutes
In Defense Of Facts
A new history of the essay gets the genre all wrong, and in the process endorses a misleading idea of knowledge.
- Mar 22 20172 minutes
Are We Being Too Superficial About the Gender Problem in Science?
Why should the share of women in a given occupation affect its average pay? It’s a curious inverse relationship. Census data show that when the former increases, the latter decreases—when certain occupations see large influxes of female labor, they s
- Dec 28 20164 minutes
My Personal Hero: Priyamvada Natarajan on Martin Schwarzchild (and Mr. Carter)
I was an inquisitive child and my parents encouraged me and actively cultivated my curiosity. My first truly independent adventure, when I was 10, was to secretly take a public bus on my own to the Delhi Public Library. Given how quickly I was wolfin
- Oct 1 20156 minutes
Why Science Needs Metaphysics: Science can’t tell us whether science explains everything.
Technology cannot keep pace with theoretical predictions about subatomic reality coming from physics. The same applies to our ability to observe the far reaches of the universe. Theory outstrips data and can become more extravagant with the claims it
- Apr 13 20171 minute
Decorate Your Space With These Beautiful Science Art Posters
Stack Commerce In a world that values the Kardashians over Kelvin, the true beauty of science is often overlooked. These stunning Science and Space Art Posters change the game, celebrating amazing engineering and the wonders of astronomy with an arti
- Apr 13 20179 minutes
To Fix the Climate, Tell Better Stories: The missing climate change narrative.
Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a direct and
- Aug 1 20164 minutes
When Do African Problems Need African Solutions?
According to the world bank, 12 percent of humanity lives in africa, yet it produces only about 1 percent of global research output. this gap persists because governments don’t emphasize science and t
- Apr 22 20171 minute
PHOTOS: Scientists Take To Washington To Stress A Nonpartisan Agenda
The science community feels threatened under the current administration. Researchers, educators and activists took to the nation's capital to say that cuts to scientific funding affect us all.
- Mar 16 201711 minutes
Melinda Gates: The Tech Industry Needs to Fix Its Gender Problem—Now
“If we don't have women in the tech space, we won't even be asking ourselves some of the right questions.”
- Apr 10 20179 minutes
Will the March for Science Matter?
Here’s a hypothesis worth testing: If anybody concerned with science was left on the fence about whether the April 22 March for Science was a worthwhile endeavor, a flurry of news in late March catalyzed them to action. Let’s look at the data. On Mar
- Mar 7 20176 minutes
What Exactly Are People Marching for When They March for Science?
The March for Science began unceremoniously on January 25, with vague ambitions, a hastily designed logo, and a Facebook page inspired by a throwaway Reddit comment. Six weeks later, and it has blossomed into a huge movement. It has attracted both su
- Mar 10 20174 minutes
The Iraqi Princess Fighting for Women in Science
Nisreen El-Hashemite is a medical doctor and geneticist. She is also an Iraqi princess. Now, she is using the words of Islam to advocate for women in science.
- Sep 16 20133 minutes
Fame’s Troubling Ability to Turn Off the Brain
Fame may be an unavoidable aspect of reality, an inherent part of the human condition, or just a quirk in the minds of some smart, social primates. In any case, it brings with it big problems. Here is the trouble with fame: It too often makes the rec
- Mar 16 20176 minutes
Scientists Brace for a Lost Generation in American Research
The work of a scientist is often unglamorous. Behind every headline-making, cork-popping, blockbuster discovery, there are many lifetimes of work. And that work is often mundane. We’re talking drips-of-solution-into-a-Petri-dish mundane, maintaining-
- Jan 26 20173 minutes
How to Overcome Political Irrationality About Facts
Some Trump supporters are willing to lie about his inauguration attendance to preserve their ideological identities. A new study explains how curiosity can help resist reflexive partisanship.
- Jun 12 20165 minutes
Scientists Have No Defense Against Awe
Eileen Pollack, author of The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science Is Still a Boys’ Club, hinted at the complexity of the relationship between science and the soul in a recent essay: “We need scientists who recognize the reality of this illusion we st
- Apr 21 20173 minutes
How the March for Science Misunderstands Politics
If protesters want to change policies, they need to target the values, interests, and power structures that shape how research is applied.
- Apr 22 20176 minutes
Meet The Everyday Scientists, Doctors And Engineers Of NYC's March For Science
Scientists, doctors and grad students alike took to the March for Science to stand in support of evidence-based politics.
- Apr 19 20173 minutes
Why Bill Nye Is Set To March On Washington
F. Scott Schafer/PopSci Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nye remembers the very first official Earth Day, when Senator Gaylord Nelson founded an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970. "I went to Washington and locked my bike to some flag pole," Nye mu
- Apr 11 20173 minutes
Top Scientists Revamp Standards To Foster Integrity In Research
The National Academy of Sciences has toughened up its guidelines to call cutting corners, dubious statistics and not fully sharing research methods "detrimental" to science.
- Aug 17 20164 minutes
Why We Shouldn’t Accept Unrepeated Science—Our Author Responds to His Critics
Last month a long thread evolved on Hacker News, a popular discussion forum, in response to my Nautilus article, “We Should Not Accept Scientific Results That Have Not Been Repeated.” Much to my delight, it generated a rich conversation involving sci