(25) posts under "Process of Science"

Peer review: New approaches to an old system

July 23, 2014

A reviewer at the National Institutes of evaluates a grant proposal. (Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health)

A scientist’s reputation and funding for research can hinge on recommendations by other scientists in the centuries-old peer review process. To ensure a credible body of scientific knowledge, research papers and proposals are evaluated by other...

Studying Food and Culture with Chemistry

July 18, 2014

purple nut sedge

Earlier this week a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain published a paper in the journal PLOS ONE with new details about the diets of ancient people who lived in what is...

Fixing (the Other) Gender Bias in Scientific Research

May 16, 2014

white lab mouse

You’ve probably heard about research indicating that–despite significant progress–there is still a gender gap in science. Women are underrepresented in many STEM fields. They may face subtle biases from professors and potential mentors. And, on average,...

Putting Error Bars on Olympic Gold

February 26, 2014

A downhill skier races in the 2010 Olympic games. (Credit: Jon Wick)

This past weekend, the 22nd Olympic winter games drew to a close in Sochi, Russia, capping off 16 days of sweat, glory, and tears. Nearly 3,000 athletes from 88 countries competed in almost 100 different events,...

From Tiny Cells, Mighty Organisms Grow

November 27, 2013

An African Globe Lily Cell During Mitosis

It’s hard to imagine that each of us–the millions of cells that make up our our bones, muscles, blood vessels, organs, and the rest of of our complex, living bodies–had such tiny, humble beginnings. But all...

Nov. 18, 1929: The Day the Cables Broke

November 20, 2013

The route of the 1858 transatlantic telegraph cable. Source: Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, August 21, 1858 (public domain).

Today, a veritable superhighway of data rushes below the surface of the frigid North Atlantic. Every second, thousands of gigabytes whiz back and forth between North America and Europe on one of dozens of telecommunication cables...

Survival of the most cooperative?

October 1, 2013

Cooperation can also be a driver of evolution.

In discussions of evolution, the phrase “survival of the fittest” is uttered so often that it would be easy to assume competition among organisms is the only driver of evolutionary change.  But in fact, cooperation among...

Heavy Rains Down Under Briefly Masked Sea-Level Rise

August 23, 2013


From late 2010 to early 2011 — the summer months in Australia — it poured. In fact, that season marked the midpoint of the wettest two-year period on record for the country; huge swaths of the...