Sarah Varney is a senior correspondent with Kaiser Health News. She also reports for NPR’s science and health desk and the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, and McClatchy newspapers. She has reported extensively on health policy and health disparities within the public health sphere, and she has contributed multiple stories to NPR’s "Living Large," a series on how obesity is changing life in America.

In her book, XL Love: How the Obesity Crisis is Complicating America's Love Life, she travels the country and tells the personal stories of men and women who are experiencing what millions of others feel every day, along with the stories of those who are in the business of helping them: physicians, researchers, scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and more.


  The Science Festival of The Capital Region is taking place this weekend – November 7th – 9th.

You can discover wall-to-wall science with more than 45 presenters from throughout the Capital Region and explore nanotechnology, robotics, natural sciences, chemistry, astronomy, and more with miSci, Girls Inc. Eureka Girls, the Adirondack Museum, Dudley Observatory, Time Warner Cable, Quirky, National Grid, Nano-Link, San Francisco’s Exploratorium, Scotia-Glenville Children’s Museum, WMHT and others.

Stephen Gottlieb: American Scientific Capital

Aug 19, 2014

A panel at a national meeting of historians I attended was devoted to the relation between the study of history and STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. One speaker explained that practical skills were widespread early in our history. Those skills, like surveying, sailing, or building canals, required both hands-on skills and the ability to perform calculations and experiment. American surveyors, navigators and builders were doing what we now call science and math, though they rarely got the credit. One surveyor wrote to a Frenchman around 1814 that no one was paying for astronomy, and no one was paying him for his astronomical investigations and calculations. But the speaker then pointed out that this gentleman was in fact being paid by the government for surveying and that his surveys required the astronomical observations he was making. He was doing the work, though not being recognized for it as his French friend would have been.

    Bob Berman is considered one of America's top astronomy writers. He is currently a columnist for Astronomy and the science editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac.

In his latest book, Zoom: How Everything Moves, From Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees, Berman explores how motion shapes every aspect of the universe. 

  Deborah Harkness is a scholar and writer specializing in the history of science and medicine. She has received numerous awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. Currently a professor of history at the University of Southern California, she is the author of the New York Times bestselling All Souls Trilogy, and the final book in that trilogy, The Book of Life, is out today.


  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.

  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.