Cloning trees

_“18 April 1944 April is glorious, not too hot and not too cold, with occasional light showers. Our chestnut tree is in leaf, and here and there you can already see a few small blossoms.”_ Sixty-three years later, this tree is still standing, but very sick. It’s being attacked by...

Soporific seminars

I have a confession to make: I sometimes fall asleep during seminars. I can feel it happening, and try very hard to concentrate, but when the room is dark, and the speaker is mumbling softly, facing the screen instead of the audience, and all the slides are graphs or longwinded...

enter3

On the off chance that you’re going to be in Prague this weekend, make sure you don’t miss enter3 , the third international festival for arts, sciences, and technologies. In particular, you’d want to visit the performances and installations at various locations in the city. My picks: Proteic portrait by...

Meeting of Minds

Monday night I went to Meeting of Minds , a seminar about science, art, and popular culture. I had to go straight to orchestra rehearsal after that (in fact, I was skipping half of the rehearsal for the seminar) so I brought my violin along. As soon as I walked...

Alice’s Adventures in Animal Experimentation

In 1875 Lewis Carroll wrote Some Popular Fallacies About Vivisection for the publication Fortnightly Review. Carroll was strongly opposed to vivisection, but I think that if he were alive today, he would not have so much of a problem with current animal research procedures. In “Some Popular Fallacies About Vivisection”...

Alice through the Looking Glass exhibit in Bristol

I’m working on a blog post about an essay on vivisection that Lewis Carroll wrote in 1875, and while doing research I came across this: The Explore-At-Bristol science centre in Bristol (UK) is currently hosting an exhibit called Alice Through the Looking Glass. It runs until November, and is mostly...

Harry Potter Science (part 3) – Bezoars

Hogwarts students learn about bezoars in their first year potions class. They’re stones from the stomach of a goat that work as an antidote to most poisons. In book 6, Harry saves Ron’s life by giving him a bezoar after he accidentally drinks poisoned mead in Slughorn’s office. J.K .Rowling…

Facebook users prefer scientists over business people

Facebook allows people to run polls (for a fee), for opinion research among all users of the site or specific target groups. Today I saw the results of a poll asking Who do you most look up to? , and the choice was between scientists, business people, athletes, politicians, and…

Harry Potter Science (part 2)

During the first five Harry Potter books (or movies) I always felt that the potions class was the most like our muggle science classes. They learned what different potions and materials do, where they come from, how they’re made. There’s a strong hands-on part, like lab work, where method is…

Harry Potter science (part 1, with question)

This week Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opens in theatres, and later this month, on July 21st, the final book seven comes out. It’s a hype, but is it really a problem? Millions of kids are anxiously waiting to read a book, why complain? And you can…