Are Pandemics the Cost of Human Recklessness Towards Nature?

by Piyush Nandafigures by Corena Loeb In an area devastated by deforestation, an 18-month-old toddler from the nearest settlement, Meliandou in Guinea, was seen playing around a fallen tree swarming with bats. The child then contracted a mysterious illness, which spread to many who came in contact. After it had already killed 30 people, the illness was identified as Ebola. Comprehensive studies have since connected … Continue reading Are Pandemics the Cost of Human Recklessness Towards Nature?

Human-Made Materials Outweigh All Living Beings on Earth

Have you ever considered how the total weight of all the structures, vehicles, and infrastructure built by humans compares to all life on Earth? In their recent Nature paper Ron Milo and colleagues estimate that human made objects now weigh more than all living beings, and warn of an unsustainable trend with potential catastrophic consequences. Continue reading Human-Made Materials Outweigh All Living Beings on Earth

Chien-Shiung Wu — A Heroic Experimental Physicist

Xiaomeng Han is a graduate student in the Harvard Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience. She uses electron microscopy to study neuronal connectivity. Cover image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay This biography is part of our “Picture a Scientist” initiative. To learn more about the amazing men and women who paved the way for modern scientific discovery, check out our homepage. Continue reading Chien-Shiung Wu — A Heroic Experimental Physicist

3D printed corals grow algae that photosynthesize more efficiently

Central to coral reefs around the world is the deeply interdependent relationship between corals and algae. This interconnection is responsible for algae’s protected habitat, corals’ bright colors, and the mutual exchange of nutrients for photosynthesis. Algae growth is modulated by a process called self-shading, decreasing exposure to light. In an artificial setup, however, this process prevents researchers from growing coral quickly. To prevent this light … Continue reading 3D printed corals grow algae that photosynthesize more efficiently

An Evolutionary Argument for why Grandmas Rule

by Rebecca Silberman figures by Aparna Nathan Seen through the harsh, unsentimental lens of evolutionary biology, menopause doesn’t make sense. Why don’t women live like giraffes, like tarantulas, like pigeons, reproducing throughout their lives in order to maximize each person’s “fitness,” or reproductive success? Even in other long-lived, social species like elephants, females don’t stop having children before the end of their lives, and while … Continue reading An Evolutionary Argument for why Grandmas Rule