biology

  Sean Carroll, acclaimed theoretical physicist from Caltech, and author of the highly-praised books From Eternity to Here and The Particle at the End of the Universe, is a rockstar in and out of the science community—in fact, he was personally offered jobs by Stephen Hawking twice, and turned them both down!

In the vein of Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, Sean Carroll’s new book: The Big Picture takes readers on a journey of unprecedented scientific scope, examining everything from the matter that makes up the far reaches of our universe to the molecules that make up our DNA—and all the biology, physics, astronomy, and humanity in between.

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology who has worked on the foundations of quantum mechanics, the arrow of time, and the emergence of complexity. 

  In the late 1970s, the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon were heading toward extinction, victims of the combined threats of DDT, habitat loss, and lax regulation. Flight Paths tells the story of how a small group of New York biologists raced against nature’s clock to bring these two beloved birds back from the brink in record-setting numbers.

McGrath documents both rescue projects in never-before-published detail. At Cornell University, a team of scientists worked to crack the problem of how to breed peregrine falcons in captivity and then restore them to the wild. Meanwhile, two young, untested biologists tackled the overwhelming assignment of rebuilding the bald eagle population from the state’s last nesting pair, one of whom (the female) was sterile.

Darryl McGrath is a journalist who has written about upstate New York’s environment and rural regions for over twenty years.

  For a long time, veteran environmental journalist Fred Pearce thought in stark terms about invasive species: they were the evil interlopers spoiling pristine “natural” ecosystems. Most conservationists and environmentalists share this view. But what if the traditional view of ecology is wrong—what if true environmentalists should be applauding the invaders?

In The New Wild, Pearce goes on a journey across six continents to rediscover what conservation in the twenty-first century should be about. The case for keeping out alien species, he finds, looks increasingly flawed. As Pearce argues, mainstream environmentalists are right that we need a rewilding of the earth, but they are wrong if they imagine that we can achieve that by reengineering ecosystems.

    

  At some point during the last 100,000 years, humans began exhibiting traits and behavior that distinguished us from other animals, eventually creating language, art, religion, bicycles, spacecraft, and nuclear weapons—all within a heartbeat of evolutionary time. Now, faced with the threat of nuclear weapons and the effects of climate change, it seems our innate tendencies for violence and invention have led us to a crucial tipping point. Where did these traits come from? Are they part of our species immutable destiny? Or is there hope for our species’ future if we change?

With fascinating facts and his unparalleled readability, Jared Diamond intended his book, The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal, to improve the world that today’s young people will inherit.

Species interaction dictates a great deal of a location's biodiversity.

Susan Kalisz, professor of biology at the University of Pittsburgh, is linking the diet of deer to the success of the animals' surrounding flora.

RNA seems like the unsung little brother of DNA and protein.

But Yehuda Ben-Shahar, assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, is learning a great deal about their very important molecular responsibilities.

Dr. Yehuda Ben-Shahar is an assistant professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis. His research focuses on the roles of genes, genetics, and evolution in shaping and driving specific animal behaviors. He earned a PhD from the University of Illinois in 2002.

Studying how insects metabolize and process oxygen could bring some relief for farmers hoping to protect their crops without using dangerous pesticides.

Dr. Scott Kirkton of Union College is learning a great deal about the biochemistry that triggers a grasshopper's molting process.

Science is the topic this Wednesday as we host professors Ed Stander (geology), Andrea Worthington (biology), and Nancy Slack (biology), and Ken Welles (physics) to provide conclusions to your hypotheses. It's the Vox Pop Science Forum, hosted by Alan Chartock.

Vox Pop : Science Forum : 3/22/12

Mar 22, 2012

The Science Forum is underway. We gather our panel of experts in the areas of biology and chemistry once a month to respond to your science-related questions and comments. On today’s show: Barbara Brabetz, Ken Welles, Jim Pickett and Ed Stander. WAMC’s Ray Graf hosts.