Science & Society

"Francisco J. Ayala, an evolutionary geneticist and molecular biologist who has vigorously opposed the entanglement of science and religion while also calling for mutual respect between the two, has won the 2010 Templeton Prize." Yet again the prize has gone to a scientist who says nice things about religion.

"Ayala, 76, a naturalized American who moved from Spain to New York in 1961 for graduate study and soon became a leader in molecular evolution and genetics, has devoted more than 30 years to asserting that both science and faith are damaged when either invades the proper domain of the other.
On Blogging And Soothsaying

The internet is a wonderful means of spreading information, but there is a danger of spreading misinformation.  It probably takes far fewer years of education to read a science article than to fully understand it.  The danger is that, just as many people rely on their horoscopes, so too do many people rely on their favorite bloggers to do their critical thinking for them.
At the New York Review of Books, physicist and science writer Jeremy Bernstein tells what it's like to witness an atomic explosion:
Like about four years ago, the name of Grigoriy Yakovlevich (Grisha) Perelman is again in the mass-media headlines all around the world.

Grisha is a prominent mathematician, who was able to solve one of the most perplexed mathematical problems of the last two centuries: he had managed to prove the Poincaré conjecture.

In 2006 he was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal, but had voluntarily and expressly refused to accept it.
Most recently, he has been awarded the not less prestigious Clay Millenium Prize, but is expected to reject this award as well.
Lovelace Day Shirt Design by Sydney Padua and Lorin O'Brien
Ada Lovelace Day is dedicated to celebrating women in science and technology. I'd like to take today to celebrate a particular woman in science that I know pretty well, Dr. Mrs. Rugbyologist (aka, Dr. Jenn Taylor or MAMA! to The Frogger).
It's that time of year again... Geek Pop 2010! What is Geek Pop, you may ask?

From the website:

"Geek Pop is a free online music festival featuring artists inspired by science. Every year, we bring together musicians from around the globe in a gleeful celebration of geek culture. You can find all the performances at the website or download them and listen to them at your leisure.
BIL is a fringe unconference that grew out of people trying to gatecrash TED conferences. BIL UK 2010 is scheduled to be held at Oxford on the weekend after TED, thereby giving some people the opportunity to sneak into TED Global anyway. There are also BIL conferences scheduled in the US for 2010.

How much science will there be? Judging by the videos on the BIL website, quite a lot, but as always it will depend on you, the organisers and whoever else turns up. "BIL is an ad-hoc conference for people changing the world in big ways. It's a place for passionate people to come together to energize, brainstorm, and take action." BILLIANT!

ATLAS is a particle physics experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Starting in late 2009/2010, the ATLAS detector will search for new discoveries in the head-on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS will learn about the basic forces that have shaped our Universe since the beginning of time and that will determine its fate. Among the possible unknowns are the origin of mass, extra dimensions of space, unification of fundamental forces, and evidence
for dark matter candidates in the Universe.

One of the fundamental assumptions underlying the human quest for knowledge is that we can somehow logically answer questions we have about anything. This is a very pragmatic assumption and has given rise to the amazing and often destructive spectacles that we as a species have developed, but please be aware that this assumption is just that – an assumption. 

One thing that scientists and politicians have in common is the need to beg: the former beg for funds while the latter beg for votes. Britain will soon have an election so this is the time for the politicians to beg to both scientists and non-scientists. So what's their pitch?