This tumblr's for all the great men and women of science for whom we owe our current understanding of the natural world; their achievements, their failures, and even their quirks, we celebrate them all.
For Science. For Inquiry. For Humanity.
Texas Finally Gave The Go Ahead For Evolution
The Texas State Board of Education finally casted the final vote to approve science textbooks based on actual science. This includes everything from teaching about evolution to climate changes.
T4 bacteriophage via electron microscope — Creeeepy, cool
This is Buckminsterfullerence (bucky-ball) which is a spherical molecule of carbon. Each vertex is an atom of carbon.
Buckminsterfullerene is the most commonly naturally occurring fullerene (composed completely of carbon) molecule, as it can be found in small quantities in soot. Solid and gaseous forms of the molecule have been detected in deep space. The chemists who discovered the molecule won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1996.
On October 7th, 1939 (74 years ago, today) Harry Kroto, a man who was key to the discovery of the molecule was born.
Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA Teaches ‘Big Bang’ Theory With Rhyme At University of Toronto
“If you’re looking for an education in science (that’s mixed with pure amazing), then you absolutely need to take in this course taught by the Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA.
GZA recently gave a lecture on “Consciousness, Creativity and Music” at the University of Toronto where he also previewed some of his upcoming album “Dark Matter.”
(via Huffington Post)
Amazing. I loved this! :)
Irene Joliot-Curie (1897 – 1956)
Physics and Chemistry
The daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie, Irene Joliot-Curie is a notable scientist in her own right, winning a Nobel Prize in Chemistry with her husband, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, in 1935 for the discovery of artificial radioactivity, making the Curie family the most Nobeled family in history and a significant scientific dynasty.
How Bad Science Could Have Changed The World…Or At Least The Father Of Evolution: Physiognomy
We all know the basic course of the development and dissemination of the theory of natural selection. A young Charles Darwin embarks on the second voyage of the HMS Beagle, visits the Galapagos islands, collects countless specimens, and writes extensively about his theories of natural selection and evolution. Prompted by a similar (if much simplified) paper being written and refined by Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin presented his own theory to the Linnean Society of London in 1859.
At the end of 1859, Darwin published On the Origin of Species, which expounded upon his original paper, and was the cornerstone of evolutionary biology, genetics, paleontology, and ethnology (for better or for worse) for the next several decades. Alfred Russel Wallace was much less interested in publishing his own theory (which was very similar to Darwin’s, if not as in-depth) than collecting and documenting the plants, animals, and peoples of the Amazon and other tropical regions.
If Darwin had not been as interested as he was in explaining his theories to his colleagues (and staying in Europe with his wife instead of exploring more), all of the aforementioned fields would have been set back decades, possibly until Wallace actually published his own complete works - and possibly even later, as Wallace didn’t have the clout that Darwin did by the end of his life.
But why would Darwin have not been able to develop his theories?
You know how most of his theories were really fleshed out and how he began to really understand how biogeography and speciation occurred when he analyzed the finches and tortoises of the Galapagos?
Darwin was almost denied the position upon the HMS Beagle - because of the shape of his nose.
Captain Robert FitzRoy knew that Charles Darwin fit all of his requirements for a ship naturalist and personal companion. He was ready to accept him - until he saw Darwin in person.
As FitzRoy was an adherent to the theories of Johann Lavater, the Father of Modern Physiognomy, he strongly believed that the nose of Charles Darwin meant he had a serious “lack of determination”. Along with the less-important (to these men) difference of FitzRoy being a Tory, while Darwin was a Whig, the young naturalist was lucky he was not turned away at the door.
After spending a week together and finding each other agreeable, FitzRoy and Darwin negotiated a contract, set sail, and made history.
Despite being in vogue well into the 20th century, phrenology, and its partner physiognomy, have been proven time and again to have no basis in science. While certain facial or skeletal features can occasionally lead doctors to diagnose certain conditions (such as Down syndrome or hydrocephaly), there is no link between facial or cranial structure and personality.
Top and Middle: Young Charles Darwin. Wikimedia Commons
Bottom: Charles Darwin’s head. Judged to be strong in “preceptive”, “semi-precetptive" (indicating intelligence), and weak in "combatativeness" and "willfullness" (not violent or determined?).
How to Read the Human Head and Face. H. Ellis Foster, 1903.
Introduction to the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease
As with many neurological conditions that are predominantly developed in old age, it is increasingly difficult to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzhiemer’s is a form of dementia, and it is well recognised that there are certain clinical challenges in diagnostics, managements and therapeutics. The illness is often associated with extracellular β -amyloid deposits as neuritic plaque.
Amyloids are a group of insoluble fibrous proteins that aggregate together, and is derived from the Amyloid Precursor protein (APP). APP is cleaved by alpha, beta or gamma- secretase enzymes to form AB1-40 and AB1-42, precursors to Amyloid Fibrils that are highly neurotoxic.
The presence of these deposits are noted to cause cerebral angiopathy. Hence there is a greater susceptibility to strokes.
Among extracellular plaques, there are strong correlations that AD patients have neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). As protein aggregates that cause neuronal death, both NFTs and Aβ is associated with neuronal loss-induced cognitive dysfunction.
Diagnosis of dementias is increasingly more important in an ageing population, and more research needs to be done for management of the disease. Techniques of scanning currently involve MRI, CT or PET scanning.
If you’re interested in how PET scanning works, click here.
In which I fangirl about evolution. Enjoy.
(oh hey, find me on twitter too @julia_sci )
Frederick Sanger- ‘Father Of Genomic Era’ Dead At 95
LONDON (AP) — British biochemist Frederick Sanger, who twice won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, has died. He was 95.
The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute announced the death Wednesday. It did not provide further details.
Sanger first won the Nobel Prize in 1958 for his work determining the sequence of the amino acids in insulin and showing how they are linked together.
In 1980, he won a second Nobel Prize. That related to his development of a technique to sequence human DNA.
Sanger retired in 1983.
Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, called Sanger “the father of the genomic era.”
Source: Huffington Post
Scans that prove Leonardo da Vinci was right all along: New show reveals ‘startling accuracy’ of anatomical sketches which lay undiscovered for hundreds of years
The startling accuracy of Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings will be highlighted by a new exhibition that compares the artist’s work with modern medical scans.
Long praised as one of the finest artists of the Renaissance era and a visionary inventor, da Vinci’s work as an anatomist was also well ahead of its time.
The forthcoming show will pitch his studies of the human body against today’s high tech medical imaging technologies to show just how groundbreaking his investigations of the human body were.
Thirty sheets of the artist’s work kept by the Royal Collection Trust are set for display at the Edinburgh International Festival in August to show just how far-sighted da Vinci’s work was.
Da Vinci first began researching the human body to help him keep his paintings as ‘true to nature’ as possible, but the project soon took on a life of its own and he had ambitions to write an illustrated treatise on anatomy.