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Schrodinger and Hawking in the Starbucks line

This list of entries entitled 'literary Starbucks' speculates what different well-known writers and fictional characters would order based on their personalities if they were to suddenly turn consumerist and appear in the Starbucks around the corner. Show More Summary

Frankenstein and the monster in an age of NIH funding

Frankenstein and his monster on Broadway(Image: dvdbeaver.com) The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Robert Laughlin is one of those rare minds who combines a wide-ranging knowledge of many fields with a wicked sense of humor and a devil-may-care attitude. Show More Summary

Isaiah Berlin, science and the dangers of certainty

Isaiah Berlin (Image: hannaharendt.org) The essence of science is uncertainty. The scientific process gropes, not finds, its way to the truth. And yet there are those who have sought certainty and sacred truth not just in the science but in human affairs. Show More Summary

Ahmed Zewail and the challenges of intercultural chemistry

A few days ago I was reading the fine biography of the Caltech chemist Ahmed Zewail who won the 1999 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his wonderful work on laser femtosecond spectroscopy which allows us to literally peer into the secret lives of molecules. Show More Summary

On Freeman Dyson, cadmium estimation and the joy of chemistry

Cadmium sulfide (the solution has a muchdeeper, brilliant yellow color) Freeman Dyson who is a hero of mine and who I have had the privilege of meeting at length several times is someone who has done a lot of interesting things during a long and fruitful life. Show More Summary

David Greenglass and Robert Oppenheimer: A lesson from history

David Greenglass and Robert Oppenheimer(Images: NYT and NDTV) The name of David Greenglass must have almost completely faded from memory for people of my generation. Greenglass himself probably wanted his name to fade from all of history, although history is seldom so kind. Show More Summary

Who's the world's greatest living chemist?

Roald Hoffmann: My candidate for title of 'world's greatest living chemist' Since we have been making lists of Nobel Prize candidates for the last few weeks and since we already have a few lists of "greatest chemist in history", I thought...Show More Summary

The demise of ScienceOnline

So it seems that the pioneering science communication conference Science Online is no more. It's a sad piece of news, especially since I attended the conference twice and had registered to attend it again in Atlanta next year. The news...Show More Summary

Edward Witten, chemistry and the problems with falsification

Science writer and journalist John Horgan who wrote the notorious and thought-provoking book "The End of Science" in the 90s has an interesting interview with theoretical physics giant Edward Witten. Witten, who won the Fields MedalShow More Summary

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry and tool-driven scientific revolutions

Image: Nobelprize.org Last year I wrote a post detailing the views of historian Peter Galison and physicist Freeman Dyson of science as being as much of a tool-driven revolution as an idea-driven one. Now here's a great instance of that...Show More Summary

Updated #chemnobel odds for tomorrow

So today's physics Nobel Prize was awarded to three physicists who worked on blue LEDs, devices that make light bulbs glow brighter and last longer than normal ones. It's a well-deserved recognition, really one for a physics-based invention...Show More Summary

Maryland Congressman asks the NIH to fund more young scientists

Maryland Congressman Andrew Harris Now here's something that you don't get to see everyday - a politician taking (the right kind of) interest in the NIH's activities and asking the agency to support the most important ideas in basic biomedical research by funding young scientists. Show More Summary

The hidden dangers of HIV

HIV particles swarming the defenses of a macrophage I have written a few times about the myriad obstacles thwarting our efforts to design drugs against pressing medical problems, but perhaps none are as formidable as some of the challenges that evolution itself has set up for us. Show More Summary

Peer Reviewed Play List

It’s probably no news to most of use that puns, quotes and lyrics crop  up on a fairly regular bases in titles of research papers. But scientists making humorous and cultural references in their published work does appear to be news in some quarters. A group of Swedish scientist have caught the medias with their 17 … Continue reading »

Prof. Erland Stevens's online medicinal chemistry course

This spring I had a post up about an online medicinal chemistry course taught by Prof. Erland Stevens of Davidson College. It looks like the course was received quite well, with 14,000 students signing up. Now it's going to be taught again, starting from October 13th. Show More Summary

It's the most wonderful time of the year...#2014Nobels

...and the carolers are already out. Thomson Reuters already have their 2014 Nobel Prize prediction list, and past tradition obliges me to respond. C&EN is also having a nice panel discussion on the prize at 3:30 PM EDT on September 29th, so if you want to contribute to the chest-thumping/eye-gouging polite discussion feel free to join. Show More Summary

The Minecraft Chemistry Challenge

Minecraft is an truly awesome game. Think of it as digital lego set in a infinitely explorable world. But its real draw is that is encourages creativity on so many level. Players can build what they like, but also the code is open source, allowing creative coders to fiddle with rules and resources in the game. The … Continue reading »

First Friday: Ask a Scientist

Soon after moving to Tallahassee my wife (Debbie) and I were encouraged to check out First Friday, an eclectic, once-a-month gathering of local musicians, artists, food trucks, and performers. Located in a lumber yard-turned-art park...Show More Summary

What if the Manhattan Project had been like an Alzheimer's disease drug discovery project

The vast K-25 gaseous diffusion plant at Oak Ridge - anengineering endeavor (Image: Nuclear Secrecy Blog) Every once in a while you will find someone comparing a major scientific or technological challenge to the Manhattan Project - among such comparisons would be the Human Genome Project and the Brain Map Initiative. Show More Summary

Happy Birthday to the man who found life slipping away from his fingers

“In my quest for the secret of life I started my research in histology. Unsatisfied by the information that cellular morphology could give me about life, I turned to physiology. Finding physiology too complex, I took up pharmacology....Show More Summary

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