Articles on Scientific discovery

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The manuscript of ‘Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton’ shows the words ‘does this apple fall?’ Newton’s curiosity about the falling piece of fruit helped him develop the theory of gravity. (AP Photo/Lucy Young)

No new Einsteins to emerge if science funding snubs curiosity

Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein would have bridled under today's research funding bureaucracy. It's time to allow scientists to indulge their curiosity again.
New forms of life are discovered in high-tech ways that leave yesterday’s natural history collections in the dust. Detective image via

The modern, molecular hunt for the world’s biodiversity

Forget the pith helmet and butterfly net. Discovering biodiversity now is much more about metagenomics and the 0's and 1's of digital databases.
The BICEP2 telescope at twilight at the South Pole. The supporting data for the inflation of the universe have also gone off into the sunset. Steffen Richter, Harvard University

Failure in real science is good – and different from phony controversies

Last March, the BICEP2 collaboration announced that they had used a microwave telescope at the South Pole to detect primordial gravitational waves. These tiny ripples in spacetime would be the first proof…
Things can and do go wrong when some announcements are mad ahead of time. Flickr/Narshada

The risks of blowing your own trumpet too soon on research

UNDERSTANDING RESEARCH: What do we actually mean by research and how does it help inform our understanding of things? Today a cautionary tale of why you should be careful of some new announcements made…

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