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Your search has returned 132 articles:
  • Reviews & Previews

    Fossils sparked Charles Darwin’s imagination

    Darwin’s FossilsAdrian ListerSmithsonian Books, $19.95

    Charles Darwin famously derived his theory of evolution from observations he made of species and their geographic distributions during his five-year voyage around the world on the H.M.S. Beagle. But in the introduction of On the Origin of Species, the naturalist also cites another influence: the thousands of fossils that he...

    04/08/2018 - 08:00 Evolution, History of Science, Paleontology
  • Reviews & Previews

    Why the Nobel Prize might need a makeover

    Losing the Nobel PrizeBrian KeatingW.W. Norton & Co., $27.95

    Dust may seem insignificant, but in science, it can cost you a Nobel Prize.

    That’s what happened to Brian Keating, a major contributor to the BICEP2 team that claimed in 2014 to have found the first definitive evidence of cosmic inflation (SN: 4/5/14, p. 6), a period of extremely rapid expansion just after the...

    04/02/2018 - 09:00 Cosmology, History of Science, Astronomy
  • Reviews & Previews

    The truth about animals isn’t always pretty

    The Truth About AnimalsLucy CookeBasic Books, $28

    Nearly 2,000 years ago, Pliny the Elder reported that hippopotamuses find relief from overeating by piercing their skin in a hippo version of bloodletting. Eventually, scientists learned that the oozing red stuff Pliny described isn’t even blood but a secretion that may have antibacterial and sun-blocking properties. While...

    04/01/2018 - 08:00 Animals, History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    How past disasters can help us prepare for the future

    The Big OnesLucy JonesDoubleday, $26.95

    People call Lucy Jones the “earthquake lady.” For nearly 40 years, Jones, a seismologist, has been a leading voice in California on earthquake science and safety. A few months after retiring from the U.S. Geological Survey in 2016, she founded the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society to bring policy makers and scientists together to...

    03/25/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society, History of Science, Earth
  • Reviews & Previews

    How biology breaks the ‘cerebral mystique’

    The Biological MindAlan JasanoffBasic Books, $30

    At a small eatery in Seville, Spain, Alan Jasanoff had his first experience with brains — wrapped in eggs and served with potatoes. At the time, he was more interested in finding a good, affordable meal than contemplating the sheer awesomeness of the organ he was eating. Years later, Jasanoff began studying the brain as part of his...

    03/12/2018 - 07:00 Neuroscience, History of Science, Psychology
  • Context

    Remembering Joe Polchinski, the modest physicist who conceived a multiverse

    Modesty is not a quality often found in abundance in physicists. Maybe that’s because Joe Polchinski had all of it.

    Substantial ego is arguably a necessary qualification for anyone attempting to wrest nature’s deepest secrets from their mathematical lairs. And in many cases, ego seems proportional to the magnitude of a physicist’s accomplishments. But if you divided Polchinski’s...

    02/27/2018 - 15:01 Cosmology, History of Science
  • Context

    Top 10 papers from Physical Review’s first 125 years

    No anniversary list is ever complete. Just last month, for instance, my Top 10 scientific anniversaries of 2018 omitted the publication two centuries ago of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It should have at least received honorable mention.

    Perhaps more egregious, though, was overlooking the 125th anniversary of the physics journal Physical Review. Since 1893, the Physical Review has...

    02/08/2018 - 11:00 History of Science
  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Death: A Graveside Companion’ offers an outlet for your morbid curiosity

    Death: A Graveside CompanionJoanna Ebenstein (ed.)Thames & Hudson, $40

    Death: A Graveside Companion makes for an unusual coffee-table book, with its coppery etched Grim Reaper on the cover. Yet you may be surprised by how much fun it is to pore through the book’s lavish artwork of skulls, cadavers and fanciful imaginings of the afterlife.

    There is, after all, a reason for...

    02/04/2018 - 08:00 Science & Society, History of Science, Anthropology
  • Editor's Note

    Memory remains elusive, but the search continues

    In Theaetetus, Plato likened memory to a wax tablet, which would adopt the image of whatever was impressed upon it. Aristotle is said to have called memory “the scribe of the soul.” Others have viewed memory as a stomach, storehouse or switchboard, while acknowledging that it sometimes seems like a leaky bucket.

    St. Augustine and Robert Hooke also thought deeply about memory. But...

    01/24/2018 - 13:35 Science & Society, History of Science, Neuroscience
  • Context

    Speed of universe’s expansion remains elusive

    Unless you are a recent arrival from another universe, you’ve no doubt heard that this one is expanding. It’s getting bigger all the time. What’s more, its growth rate is accelerating. Every day, the universe expands a little bit faster than it did the day before.

    Those day-to-day differences are negligible, though, for astronomers trying to measure the universe’s expansion rate. They...

    01/16/2018 - 12:52 Astronomy, History of Science