Scenes of Science

BY ANDREW LIN Perceptions of research and its societal impact in science fiction. Flasks bubble, mixtures trouble, and explosions tumble forth as the scientist strides into his lair, that most reclusive of worlds known only as the research laboratory. Its location — a secret cavernous lair, an abandoned ruin, the basement of a seedy Victorian brownstone — is as varied as it is unknown, for the scientist works alone, with perhaps only a hunchbacked assistant or one of his own creations as hired (or enslaved) help. And from here his inventions stream forth: machines for turning back the years, reanimating …






Continue reading Scenes of Science

More News on Shuttle GPS

I’ll admit to some skepticism at the announcement that we’d now be able to track the shuttle in real time, thanks to actual GPS equipment installed on the buses. The Boston Globe puts the start-up cost of the program at $150,000, which, memo to Dean Pilbeam, would buy a lot of PBR. But the Globe also mentions another exciting development, which is that the Harvard Square Business Association will be offering free wireless “outdoors from the Inn at Harvard to the Charles Hotel to the Cambridge Common, according to Denise Jillson, executive director of the business association.” This is great …






Continue reading More News on Shuttle GPS

James Watson: Nobel Laureate, Complete Jackass

My seventh-grade science teacher used to (and probably still does) refer to James Watson and Frances Crick as “Watson and Prick.” Her comments were in reference to Watson and Crick’s…appropriation of Rosalind Franklin’s experimental data on DNA, which allowed them, in effect, to skip ahead several steps and piece together the double helix structure. But my teacher was willing to be fair: Crick, she told us, actually had the reputation of being a nice guy, despite his involvement in underhanded lab maneuvering. Watson was the real jerk. Well, it appears that her comments didn’t exactly come out of left field. …






Continue reading James Watson: Nobel Laureate, Complete Jackass