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Book excerpt from Everyday Practice of Science

By | February 1, 2011

By Frederick Grinnell Book excerpt from Everyday Practice of Science In a selection from Chapter 3, “Credibility: Validating Discovery Claims,” author Frederick Grinnell details the difficulty in making discoveries that buck current scientific paradigms “Challenging the prevailing thought style” Nobel Laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi’s prescription for discovery was seeing what everybody else has seen and thinking what nobody else

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Capsule Reviews

By | February 1, 2011

By Bob Grant Capsule Reviews Quirk: Brain Science Makes Sense of Your Peculiar Personality by Hannah Holmes Random House (To be published February 22, 2011) Fast becoming adept at probing the science behind being human, science writer Hannah Holmes, author of 2009’s The Well-Dressed Ape, is at it again with Quirk. This time around Holmes dissects human personality into five distinct components: neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousne

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Contributors

By | February 1, 2011

Contributors “The greatest thing about science is being the first to know something,” says Fred Grinnell, a cell biologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.“That’s such an incredible high.” Grinnell, who researches wound repair and tissue engineering, also enjoys pondering the philosophy of science. In an essay Grinnell writes about the dubious nature of scientific knowledge, one of the topics explored in his book Eve

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Do Fruit Flies Dream of Electric Bananas?

By | February 1, 2011

By Björn Brembs Do Fruit Flies Dream of Electric Bananas? Visualizing neuronal activity in small brains over four dimensions Lucy Reading-Ikkanda Some people are amazingly focused, energized, and attentive. Others always seem to have their heads in the clouds, dreaming the day away. One might think that our brains doze off and switch to a resting state when we let our minds wander, but research using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to visuali

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Down but Not Out

By | February 1, 2011

By Richard P. Grant Down but Not Out HIDDEN JEWEL Normal cells do not grow and divide forever. Even before they get old and die, many cells in the body are quiescent: temporarily out of the proliferative cell cycle, waiting for a signal to wake up and become active again. Cells grown in culture will also enter such a state, either because they’re too crowded or have run out of nutrients. Princeton University’s Hilary Coller recently found that s

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Face to Face with the Emotional Brain

By | February 1, 2011

By Ahmad R. Hariri & Paul J. Whalen Face to Face with the Emotional Brain Amygdala responses to the facial signals of others predict both normal and abnormal emotional states. An understanding of the brain chemistry underlying these responses will lead to new strategies for treating and predicting psychopathology. Ikon Images / Corbis One of our favorite scientific studies of the past few years is a laboratory assessment of how people react to strangers,

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Freeze-Frame

By | February 1, 2011

By Kelly Rae Chi Freeze-Frame Tricks for probing a cell’s moving parts Close-up of an actin tail (green) with a kinase involved in catalyzing actin mobility (red) at the tip Curr Biol, 20:697-702, 2010 ln the daily life of a cell, vesicles and organelles shuttle along filament tracks, DNA unwinds, and mRNA is delivered to its proper destination. Cell motility—the movement of cells and their internal parts—is crucial to biology, often a matte

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Impure Genius

By | February 1, 2011

By Karen Hopkin Impure Genius Lewis Cantley has made a career of turning chemical contaminants into groundbreaking discoveries—including novel lipids, potent inhibitors, and kinases involved in cancer. LEWIS C. CANTLEY Professor of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School Chief, Division of Signal Transduction, Director of Cancer Research Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center F1000 Section Head: Cell Signaling Porter Gifford I didn’t set out to

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Jaume and the Giant Genome

By | February 1, 2011

The Japanese canopy plant's impressive DNA may confer novel evolutionary strategies.

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Light Therapy, circa 1939

By | February 1, 2011

By Cristina Luiggi Light Therapy, circa 1939 Around the turn of the 20th century—before sunscreens hit the market and the damaging effects of UV radiation were widely appreciated—physicians saw the sun mostly as a source of healing. Sunlit spas nestled high in the mountains became very popular among those who could afford them, and color lamps for treating a variety of illnesses were common fixtures in many rooms. Experiments on microorganisms, animals, and

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