Even if alien life is never discovered, all is not lost.
Africa’s scientists are doing remarkable work.
Africa's overall contribution to research might be small, but smart people are undertaking smart and important work on and about the continent.
A baby Hawaiian bobtail squid, measuring just 1.5cm across, is pictured using photomacrography.
Mark R Smith/Macroscopic Solutions
A better understanding of science among ordinary people validates the vast amounts of public funds spent on scientific research.
Collecting the data comes first, but then you have to analyze the data.
Any field that collects and analyzes data relies on statistical techniques to make sense of it all. Modern, more accurate methods should supplant the old ways... but in many cases, they haven't yet.
Not much science will get done without the money to fund people and equipment.
What are research dollars actually spent on? Rather than looking at artifacts like publications and patents, a new initiative directly tracks the people and businesses that receive research funding.
There wouldn’t be statues acclaiming Darwin and his theory if it couldn’t stand up to decades of testing.
In science, the word 'theory' has a very specific meaning that's easy for nonscientists to misunderstand or misconstrue. Here's what a theory must withstand to be accepted by the scientific community.
The case for neoclassicism in science.
So many good ideas fail to make it out of the research lab because of a lack of funding.
It’s not always obvious where a new technology will end up.
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A scientific breakthrough in a vacuum may be free of ethical implications. But many developments can be used for good or evil, or both. There's a fine balance on what to control and to what extent.
More is less in the world of research publications.
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The traditional mode of publishing scientific research faces much criticism – primarily for being too slow and sometimes shoddily done. Maybe fewer publications of higher quality is the way forward.
One of Newcastle’s macaque monkeys.
Without research on primates, we wouldn't be able to understand the human brain – or repair it.
Experiment design affects the quality of the results.
IAEA Seibersdorf Historical Images
Embracing more rigorous scientific methods would mean getting science right more often than we currently do. But the way we value and reward scientists makes this a challenge.
Climate change and the current El Niño have left Africans more vulnerable than ever to hunger.
Economic growth alone won't end hunger. Good policies and programmes are needed, too. Scientists and researchers have a role to play in these initiatives.
Can new ideas break through preconceived notions?
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The very goal of science, to discover the new and unknown, is hampered by any outdated personal beliefs scientists hold.
Available online: Georgetown’s high-throughput equipment for biomarker staining.
Science and technology research has become so complicated and expensive that a gap has grown between the experiments scientists would like to do and what they have the means to do.
Extra, extra! The embargo’s lifted, read all about it.
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Sometimes big research news bypasses the usual scientific publishing process. Here's why that's not good for scientists or the public.
Flint, Michigan residents couldn’t get answers about their water – so they did their own research.
A new model of citizen-led science is emerging – as in the case of Flint, Michigan's poisoned water. Rather than simply supporting scientists, citizens ask their own questions and set the research agenda.
If scientists’ knowledge is segregated in non-overlapping silos, there can’t be cross-pollination between fields.
Scientists often prioritize deep goals over broad ones. But today's "wicked" problems demand an interdisciplinary approach. A new study shows how they can tweak work styles to alter their deep/broad ratio.
There is amazing research and knowledge coming out of Africa – you just need to know where to look.
African research is largely invisible, kept in the shadows by publishing barriers and structural obstacles. A platform built in Brazil and rolled out across the developing world could be the solution.
Run a study again and again – should the results hit the same bull’s-eye every time?
The field of psychology is trying to absorb a recent big study that was able to replicate only 36 out of 100 major research papers. That finding is an issue, but maybe not for the reason you think.