History/Philosophy

"The Stress Test", by Dana Goodyear

Rivalries, intrigue, and fraud in the world of stem-cell research. This "inside story" from some of the most prestigious biochemistry laboratories in the world can provide grist for any course on ethics in modern science.

New PBS Series: The Mystery of Matter

PBS has a wonderful new mini-series titled, "The Mystery of Matter:  Search for the Elements".  At the time of this post, the series is freely available to stream through your local PBS station.

Haber - The Father of Chemical Warfare

Haber Film

The HaberFilm.com website is a helpful resource for teachers that have interest in using the Haber video in their curriculum. Reading materials and lesson ideas are available. I recently used a lesson that my colleague created directly from the provided materials. You can check out that lesson here. The lesson included some background reading, viewing the video, participating in an excellent discussion and a follow up writing assignment.

Can You Spot the Real Outlier? by Eileen Pollack

At the Solvay Conference on Physics in 1927, the attendees included Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Niels Bohr - and just one woman (Marie Curie). Almost 90 years later, why does science remain so much of an old boys' club?

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

One of the pioneers in digital media and networks is disquieted by the dominance of the digital landscape by a few Siren Servers, who capitalized not on their superior products or expertise, but solely on their ability to extract a profit from each of the bits that make up Big Data. He thinks we all should be paid for our contributions, or at least the system be changed so as to provide incentives real contributions.

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know has an Expiration Date

Samuel Arbesman, a mathematician and network scientist, uses the idea a half-life as an analogy for the changes in human knowledge that science brings. He discusses both the changing rate at which new science is done and the speed at which old results are replaced by newer ones. The analogy is far from perfect, but it emphasizes some critically important aspects of the processes of science.

A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos

I enjoyed so much Dava Sobel's previous books, "Longitude" and "Galileo's Daughter" (both of which were Hal's Picks), that I was eager to read her latest, which was judged "best science book" for Fall, 2011 by Publisher's Weekly.

Creation Myth

Chances are that you have a computer mouse in your hand as you read these words. That object, now ubiquitous throughout the world, originated in the mid-1970's in Xerox's PARC laboratory in Palo Alto, which was a competitor to the famous Bell Telephone Labs in New Jersey.