Science

2:42pm

Tue October 8, 2013
The Two-Way

An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:02 pm

Letter from Peter Higgs
David Kestenbaum NPR

Well, it's happened. British scientist Peter Higgs has won a Nobel Prize for proposing the Higgs boson particle as part of a mechanism that explains how things in the universe came to have mass.

Higgs seems to be lying low today so far — a colleague told The New York Times that Higgs had "gone off by himself for a few days without saying where" and that a reporter seeking an interview recently had been "sent away with a flea in his ear."

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10:16am

Tue October 8, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Science Suffers In Unseen Ways From Government Dysfunction

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:41 am

Tourists are dwarfed by the Very Large Array in 2005. The facility, on the Plains of San Agustin, 50 miles west of Socorro, N.M., has been closed as a result of the government shutdown. The VLA consists of 27 radio antennas linked together to simulate the capabilities of a single dish 17 miles in diameter.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

On Saturday night I saw Gravity, the new semi-realistic space survival flick. I thought: an astrophysicist's view of this film would certainly be worth a 13.7 post. But I've left that thought behind for an email I had received the day before:

Dear user community colleagues,

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7:23am

Tue October 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Higgs Boson Researchers Awarded The Nobel Prize In Physics

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 11:09 am

British theoretical physicist Peter Higgs (left) and Belgian theoretical physicist Francois Englert were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their theory of how particles acquire mass, the Swedish committee announced Tuesday.

The prize was given "for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN's Large Hadron Collider."

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5:56pm

Mon October 7, 2013
The Government Shutdown

Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government Shutdown

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 6:50 pm

A helicopter is unloaded from an LC-130 in Antarctica last December. Researchers on this mission were studying the Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-receding glaciers on the continent.
August Allen National Science Foundation

It looks like even Antarctica isn't far away enough to avoid getting caught up in the government shutdown.

That's because it's currently springtime there, and scientists who study this remote, rugged continent are poised to take advantage of the few months when there's enough daylight and it's warm enough to work. Advance teams have already started working to get things set up and ready for the researchers, who usually begin heading south right about now.

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4:20pm

Mon October 7, 2013
Science

Scientists Win Nobel For Work On How Cells Communicate

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 6:50 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Three scientists will win this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their role in figuring out how cells talk to one another. They do that by releasing and soaking up molecules. This basic knowledge also helps explain diseases, from mental illness to immune disorders.

NPR's Richard Harris has our story.

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11:59am

Mon October 7, 2013
13.7: Cosmos And Culture

Fear Not The Voracious Vegan

You'll know you've gotten somewhere on the long and winding road to veganism when the greenery you see along the way starts to look seductively delicious.
iStockphoto.com

I blame it on the collard greens. While we're pointing fingers, I blame it on a recipe for black-eyed pea collard rolls. Don't get me wrong, the rolls were delicious. But the recipe led to the purchase of a small tub's worth of collard greens, initiating a week of giant leaves: steamed, sliced, diced, wrapped, and rolled. It was towards the end of that week that I spotted the Darmera peltata growing on the side of the road.

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11:46am

Mon October 7, 2013
The Two-Way

MIT Scientists Develop New Breed Of Self-Assembling Robots

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 9:49 am

M-Block cube robots rest on a work table in the Distributed Robotics Lab in CSAIL at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. The robots are 50mm cubes that can reconfigure themselves into various arrangements using self-propulsion and magnets.
M. Scott Brauer MIT

They're called M-Blocks and the tiny, cubical robots that can spin, flip and jump their way into new configurations are the brainchild of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

According to MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), M-Blocks:

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9:36am

Mon October 7, 2013
Shots - Health News

Nobel Winners Decoded How Neurons And Cells Talk To Each Other

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 12:01 pm

From left: Randy Schekman, Thomas Suedhof and James Rothman shared the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Reuters /Landov

The three scientists who shared this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine all made discoveries that illuminate how the body's cells communicate.

The research has sweeping implications for our understanding of how nerves in the brain transmit signals, how the immune system attacks pathogens and how hormones, like insulin, get into the bloodstream.

Bioengineers have already harnessed the discoveries to manufacture new vaccines and improve the quality of insulin for diabetics.

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6:43am

Mon October 7, 2013
The Two-Way

Researchers From U.S., Germany, Share Nobel Prize For Medicine

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 2:42 pm

Two Americans, James Rothman and Randy Schekman, and German-born researcher Thomas Südhof have won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "solving the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system," according to the Nobel committee.

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4:55am

Mon October 7, 2013
Research News

Nobel Prize Awarded In Medicine

Originally published on Mon October 7, 2013 5:55 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

OK. This year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine will go to three scientists who have figured out how cells package up material - like hormones - and how they deliver those materials to other cells. This is one of the most basic functions for living cells and diseases can result when the machinery goes awry, so it's important to understand.

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