What if we woke up one morning all of the dinosaur bones in the world were gone? How would we know these iconic animals had a165-million year history on earth, and had adapted to all land-based environments from pole to pole? What clues would be left to discern not only their presence, but also to learn about their sex lives, raising of young, social lives, combat, and who ate who? What would it take for us to know how fast dinosaurs moved, whether they lived underground, climbed trees, or went for a swim?
Welcome to the world of ichnology, the study of traces and trace fossils—such as tracks, trails, burrows, nests, toothmarks, and other vestiges of behavior—and how through these remarkable clues, we can explore and intuit the rich and complicated lives of dinosaurs.
Early studies of the human brain used a simple method: wait for misfortune to strike -- strokes, seizures, infectious diseases, horrendous accidents -- and see how victims coped. In many cases their survival was miraculous, if puzzling. Observers were amazed by the transformations that took place when different parts of the brain were destroyed, altering victims' personalities. Parents suddenly couldn't recognize their own children. Pillars of the community became pathological liars. Some people couldn't speak but could still sing.
In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients' memories, blind people who see through their tongues.
Brought to you by the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio, The Art of Tinkering is an unprecedented celebration of what it means to tinker: to take things apart, explore tools and materials, and build wondrous, wild art that’s part science and part technology. Join 150+ makers as they share the stories behind their beautiful and bold work—and use the special conductive ink on the cover to do some tinkering yourself!
Former New Paltz resident and 2003 Oakwood Friends School graduate Dr. Jennifer Yee, 29, will return to the School to present its annual Herzog Lecture, on Friday, May 2, at 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Yee, who has helped discover 15 planets, was one of five young astronomers in 2013 to be awarded a Carl Sagan Exoplanet Postdoctoral Fellowship by NASA. The prize fellowship, named for the late astronomer, was created to inspire the next generation of explorers seeking to learn more about planets, and possibly life, around stars other than the Sun. For her Sagan Fellowship, Dr. Yee is based at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass.
Dave Goulson became obsessed with wildlife as a small boy growing up in rural England, starting with an increasingly exotic menagerie of pets. When his interest turned to the anatomical, there were even some ill-fated experiments with taxidermy. But bees are where Goulson’s true passion lies—the humble bumblebee in particular.
Once commonly found in the marshes of Kent, the English short-haired bumblebee went extinct in the United Kingdom, but by a twist of fate still exists in the wilds of New Zealand, the descendants of a few pairs shipped over in the nineteenth century.
Dave Goulson’s quest to reintroduce it to its native land is one of the highlights of his book, A Sting in the Tale, that includes original research into the habits of these mysterious creatures, history’s relationship with the bumblebee, and advice on how to protect the bumblebee for future generations.
Science writer, Mary Roach, started out as a magazine journalist, but eventually parlayed her column for Salon.com into her first book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. Next, she investigated the afterlife in Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, then came Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.
In Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, Roach dives into the human body, beginning at the mouth, then moves, um, downward as she discusses digestion and elimination.
Birds are highly intelligent animals, yet their intelligence is dramatically different from our own and has been little understood. As scientists come to understand more about the secrets of bird life, they are unlocking fascinating insights into memory, game theory, and the nature of intelligence itself.
The Thing with Feathers explores the astonishing homing abilities of pigeons, the good deeds of fairy-wrens, the influential flocking abilities of starlings, the deft artistry of bowerbirds, the extraordinary memories of nutcrackers, the lifelong loves of albatross, and other mysteries—revealing why birds do what they do, and offering a glimpse into our own nature.
We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about a drug, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies.
miSci is Schenectady NY’s Museum of Innovation and Science. You can escape winter’s seemingly never-ending chill and discover hundreds of brilliantly colored native butterflies at miSci’s new indoor butterfly house which is open through April 19th.
Dr. Mac Sudduth is miSci’s Executive Director and he joins us to talk about the Butterfly House and other goings-on at miSci.
Expanding upon one of the most-read New York Times Magazine features of 2012, Smarterpenetrates the hot new field of intelligence research to reveal what researchers call a revolution in human intellectual abilities.
Shattering decades of dogma, scientists began publishing studies in 2008 showing that “fluid intelligence”—the ability to learn, solve novel problems, and get to the heart of things—can be increased through training.