Speaking of Science

May 2011's selection of notable quotes

By | May 26, 2011


Two responses to Edge.org’s The World Question Center 2011: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?”

Human beings tend almost invariably to be better at remembering evidence that is consistent with their beliefs than evidence that might disconfirm them….Overcoming this mental weakness, known as confirmation bias, is a lifelong struggle; recognizing that we all suffer from it is an important first step.

Cognitive scientist Gary Marcus, New York University

This biotech century will be microbe enhanced and maybe microbe inspired….Confronting a difficult problem we might fruitfully ask, “What would a microbe do?”

Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalog; cofounder and cochairman of The Long Now Foundation



The Anthropocene, on current evidence, seems to show global change consistent with the suggestion that an epoch-scale boundary has been crossed within the last two centuries.

Jan Zalasiewicz et al., in a special issue of Phil Trans Royal Soc A devoted to atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen’s call for naming a new geologic epoch defined by the actions of humans (Mar. 13, 2011)

The easiest way to manipulate the press is to embargo some result and then send a press release about it to a thousand different news organizations.

—New York Times journalist Dennis Overbye, in an interview on the blog Marketing for Scientists (Mar. 25, 2011)

Science is…an unending argument between a great multitude of voices. It resembles Wikipedia much more than it resembles the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Freeman Dyson, reviewing James Gleick’s The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood(The New York Review of Books, Mar. 10, 2011)

There is a desperate need to develop methods with the same precision for an individual’s environmental exposure as we have for the individual’s genome. I would like to suggest that there is need for an “exposome” to match the “genome.”

University of Leeds molecular epidemiologist C.P. Wild, in Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev (Aug. 2005)


Send us timely and interesting quotes, along with context, to quotes@the-scientist.com.

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You



Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo

Popular Now

  1. How Plants Evolved Different Ways to Make Caffeine
  2. Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists
    The Nutshell Thomson Reuters Predicts Nobelists

    According to citation statistics, researchers behind programmed cell death pathways and CRISPR/Cas9 are among those in line for Nobel Prizes this year.

  3. Monsanto Buys Rights to CRISPR
    The Nutshell Monsanto Buys Rights to CRISPR

    The US agribusiness secures a global, nonexclusive licensing agreement from the Broad Institute to use the gene-editing technology for agricultural applications.

  4. Reviewing Results-Free Manuscripts
    The Nutshell Reviewing Results-Free Manuscripts

    An open-access journal is trialing a peer-review process in which reviewers do not have access to the results or discussion sections of submitted papers.