science

Flickr Photo/Giulia Forsythe

Human beings have wondered how our brains work for millennia. And we haven’t been afraid to knock about in there to find out. There is evidence that trepanation, the surgical practice of drilling a hole into the skull in order to cure headaches or mental disorders, was performed in Neolithic times, just at the tail end of the Stone Age. Ouch!

According to author Sam Kean, the stories of people who survived terrible brain disease and injury are at the heart of how modern neuroscience advanced. Kean spoke at Town Hall Seattle on May 20.

Amgen is moving out, and Expedia is moving into Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Chas Redmond (CC-BY-NC-ND)

California-based biotech firm Amgen announced on Tuesday that it would close its Seattle and Bothell campuses by 2015, resulting in the loss of 660 jobs locally. The closure is part of a company-wide layoff of an estimated 2,400 to 2,900.

KUOW Photo/Patricia Murphy

Startup companies from the University of Washington showed off their innovative products to potential investors and industry advisors Tuesday.

The UW launched a record 18 startups last fiscal year with the support from the UW Center for Commercialization.

Courtesy of Susie Fitzhugh/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

After removing a tumor, surgeons are confronted with an unfortunate reality: They can’t be sure they got it all. It can be difficult to distinguish between normal tissue and cancerous cells while operating.

Dr. Jim Olson, a researcher at Fred Hutchinson Research Center and oncologist at the University of Washington, was inspired by his young patients to find a way to ensure that surgeons didn’t miss anything.

Dogs have an intuitive understanding of fair play and become resentful if they feel that another dog is getting a better deal, a new study has found.

The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at how dogs react when a buddy is rewarded for the same trick in an unequal way.

This week, All Things Considered is exploring how people interpret probability. What does it mean to us, for example, when a doctor says an operation has a 70 percent chance of success?

(July 24, 2014: See the editor's note at the bottom of this page for an explanation of the story's new headline.)

When 12-year-old Lauren Arrington heard about her sixth-grade science project, she knew she wanted to study lionfish. Growing up in Jupiter, Fla., she saw them in the ocean while snorkeling and fishing with her dad.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Infectious diseases may be spreading more quickly, thanks to global warming. Viruses that were kept in check by the polar ice box are being released. And as some animals move north to keep cool, they're bringing all sorts of parasites with them, from microbes to ticks. Christopher Solomon has written about this in the August issue of "Scientific American." And he joins me now from Montana Public Radio in Missoula. Welcome.

CHRISTOPHER SOLOMON: Good to be here, Arun.

Many young scientists dream of their first trip to a remote research site — who wouldn't want to hang out with chimps like Jane Goodall, or sail to the Galapagos like Charles Darwin, exploring the world and advancing science?

But for many scientists, field research can endanger their health and safety.

In a survey of scientists engaged in field research, the majority — 64 percent — said they had personally experienced sexual harassment while at a field site, and 22 percent reported being the victim of sexual assault.

Marcie Sillman talks with Dr. Doug Smith, an orthopedic surgeon at Harborview and the University of Washington, about emerging technology in which nerves can be relocated in amputated limbs so the brain can control prosthetic devices.

The menus of millennia past can be tough to crack, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. For archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Sudan, dental plaque provided a hint.

"When you eat, you get this kind of film of dental plaque over your teeth," says Karen Hardy, an archaeologist with the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal.

An extinct species of bird just discovered by a Connecticut scientist may have been the largest ever to fly. The pelagornis sandersi lived 25 million years ago. The fossil was uncovered at an airport in the 1980s but went largely unnoticed until 2010.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Patrick Skahill of WNPR has the story on the bird with a 24-foot wingspan, and what the finding means for paleontologists.

Institute for Learning and Brain Science / University of Washington

A University of Washington study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science gives clues about how talking to babies from an early age helps them say their first words.

What's Killing Clams? Solve This Low Tide Mystery

Jul 14, 2014
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

One of the lowest tides of the year this weekend revealed a "crime scene" at the beach at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle.

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