Science Matters


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.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Mathematics: Road map of science

Most scientific endeavors require the application of some kind of mathematics. Foremost, it is important for modeling a wide variety of phenomena. And, where observations are quantifiable (measurable), it is used to characterize data.

Science Matters-SCIENCE MATTERS - Math holds keys to greater understanding

A school science project designed to illustrate the solar system might include an assemblage of Styrofoam balls held together by wires. This is, quite literally, a model of the actual solar system in an easily visualized representation.Scientists develop

Science Matters-Light from afar holds secrets of time and distance

Upgrades performed on the Hubble telescope last year are now yielding images of objects that are 13 billion light years away. But how do astronomers know how far away those objects are?

Science Matters-Building blocks of universe got start in the stars

It is awesome to imagine the principal elements making up our bodies, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and a few others, have their origins in the incredibly hot cores of stars.The bulk of the physical universe is composed of basic elements. Ninety-two elements a

Science Matters-Consistency key to understanding of the universe

The universe would seem incomprehensible if knowledge of matter and physical laws was contradictory on vary large and small scales. Hypotheses on the workings of the universe must demonstrate consistency across all scales of size.Understanding the smalles

Science Matters-Unproven treatments give false hope, can prove to be harmful

It is unfortunate the news media and the general public are so vulnerable to sensational claims made by charlatans and undisciplined purveyors of unproven medical practices. I was recently reminded of this by a CBS 60 Minutes program.The story was recou

Science Matters-'Greenhouse gas' complicated, but must be understood

We hear about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint. This primarily refers to limiting our generation of carbon dioxide gas by burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide is the principle "greenhouse gas" contributing to global warming.The story of how