Science Matters


Science Matters-Scientific terms should be used properly, but oftentimes aren't

Many scientific terms are also used to describe everyday experiences. In doing so the scientific meaning of those words is often lost or distorted.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - 'Theory' has specific meaning

It's no wonder the public is confused and often misled about the use of the word "theory" in science. Its meaning to the scientific community is significantly different from its colloquial usage.I recently witnessed this disparity while watching a detecti

Science Matters-Laws can help sort order from chaos

'Laws" have all kinds of implications. They're onerous if they represent seemingly arbitrary restrictions. They're unfair if not equally applied. They're an imposition if enforced by a capricious authority.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Rapid progress hallmark of our ancestors

When did human ancestors begin leaving Africa and why did it take them so long to start?

Science Matters-Road to bipedalism, tool use long, twisty

When did human ancestors begin to use tools? It is important to first understand a pitfall in thinking about how human traits were acquired. The problem arises from statements such as, "Walking upright on two legs (being bipedal) freed up the hands of hom

Science Matters-Lineage shows progression toward humanity

How did the lineage of extinct human ancestors change over the course of millions of years? What changes made our predecessors more humanlike? When did those changes occur and why?

Science Matters-Human origins far from simple

Understanding human origins is difficult for a number of reasons. Foremost, among them being the bewildering array of fossils that have been discovered and to which, it seems, specimens are continually being added.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTER - It's difficult to know why Neanderthals disappeared

Who might you meet if you could visit Europe 35,000 years ago?If you ran across people who looked pretty ordinary, you'd have met Cro-Magnon people, or "European Early Modern Humans." However, you might run across folks who are somewhat shorter and stocki

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Dream lives on for fusion power

I studied medium energy nuclear physics in graduate school, but I had been tempted to try plasma physics. Why had plasma physics intrigued me 37 years ago? I was excited by the prospect of plasma physics leading to an effectively limitless source of energ

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - New tack can shed light when politics clouds discussion

Sadly, global warming has become politicized. Putting all the data together is not easy. However, there are ways of approaching the matter objectively. In the end, the conclusions each of us draw will depend on our different perceptions of risks and who w

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Multiple views illuminate origins of universe

On a clear night, some regions of the sky, such as the Milky Way, have higher densities of stars than others.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Microscopes unlock invisible world

The Royal Society of London's first major publication was in 1665. It didn't anticipate this work would be a harbinger for a great leap in understanding of life. Within 15 years this august scientific society would find it necessary to abandon its ideas a

Science Matters-DNA a complex recipe for life

Comparing the general organization of the bodies of living and extinct organisms shows evidence of both lineal relationships and improvisation. Likewise, the DNA of organisms tells the same story.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - All living organisms related, 'cobbled together'

Living things are wondrous for many reasons, but two stand out. First, all living organisms are related to one another. Comparative anatomy, embryology, DNA, the fossil record, the structure of molecules from which life is built and the metabolic processe

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Computer coding tackles element of chance in research

Monte Carlo is recognized as a Mecca for high stakes gambling. In the realm of computer software, the term "Monte Carlo" refers to a method of doing simulations of complex phenomena where odds play an essential role.