Science & Nature

Making Continents Move: The Ocean Cartography of Marie Tharp (Women in Science 31)

Making Continents Move: The Ocean Cartography of Marie Tharp (Women in Science 31)

If you’re a scientist, and you’ve lived long enough, there’s a good chance that you’ll see your life’s work overwritten and forgotten in a long, piecemeal process blandly punctuated by retrospective award banquets every half decade or so. Science moves on, but usually at a pace that lets you keep your sense of self-worth well into your autumn years. Every so often, ho... »

The Monster in Dr. McClintock: The Twisted Tale of Jumping Genes

The Monster in Dr. McClintock: The Twisted Tale of Jumping Genes

Isolation makes monsters, and none so monstrous as those who willingly seek it. It is hard to work up a great deal of sympathy for individuals who, under the banner of intellectual freedom, demand the resources to do whatever they want, however they want to do it, and then routinely bite the hands of those who make their ideal life possible. The heroism of hyper individualism runs hard against our... »

The Illustrated Women In Science: Year One!

The Illustrated Women In Science: Year One!

Thrill to the jungle-crawling entomology of Maria Merian, cheer at the multi-dimensional mathematics of Maryam Mirzakhani, weep at the tragic end of Sofia Kovalevskaya, and gasp at the universe-cracking insights of Emmy Noether!  All 26 of the MadArtLab Women In Science cartoons and essays are now available in one handy volume, dear friends.  With luscious full color interiors and a lovely introdu... »

Our Neighbor Australopithecus: The Anthropology of Mary Leakey

Our Neighbor Australopithecus: The Anthropology of Mary Leakey

The 1960s and early 1970s were the Rock Star era of anthropology, when each year seemed to bring a stunning new glimpse into the early development of man, and being a top anthropologist was to be a household name on par with Buzz Aldrin or Leonard Bernstein. And while individual superstars like Donald Johanson shone meteorically from time to time in the firmament, the era as a whole belonged to on... »

Summing the Cosmos: Henrietta Swan Leavitt and The Saga of the Cepheid Stars (Women in Science 22)

Summing the Cosmos: Henrietta Swan Leavitt and The Saga of the Cepheid Stars (Women in Science 22)

Astronomy is the sifting science. Its practitioners rake the sky, star by star, collecting and cataloguing, and when they are done, they begin again, through years and decades and generations. What they leave behind are reams of papers, or stacks of photographic plates, singing to the future the shape of the sky they knew. Today, pouring over those records is the job of machines, which take the te... »

ATLAS Soared: Fabiola Gianotti and the Discovery of a Higgs Particle (Women In Science 19)

ATLAS Soared: Fabiola Gianotti and the Discovery of a Higgs Particle (Women In Science 19)

In a corner of a room, tucked unostentatiously away from the notice of the raving hordes of just barely contained school children using their field trip to Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science to wreak havoc, there lies behind glass a hundred year old circular object no bigger than a water canteen. It’s the world’s first cyclotron, held together by wire and wax, and built by Ernest O Lawrence in 19... »

The Ghost of Evolution, or Why We Still Have Avocados + Guacamole!

The Ghost of Evolution, or Why We Still Have Avocados + Guacamole!

Have you ever stopped to wonder about the avocado’s bizarrely large seed? How on earth this most scrumptious of plants could ever have propagated itself in the wild when swallowing such a seed could mean extreme discomfort when passing it or even death by choking? Unlike many other plants we eat that humans have genetically manipulated over the years to make larger, more nutritious, and more... »

Caveman genes — what our shared history with Denisovans means

Caveman genes — what our shared history with Denisovans means

A recent article in Nature determines, fairly conclusively, that a certain variant of a certain gene which allows Tibetans to thrive at high altitudes comes directly from interbreeding with Denisovans — from an extinct cousin of Homo Sapiens Sapiens. »

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