Science In Mind

Globe reporter Carolyn Y. Johnson chronicles the discoveries, ideas, inventions, and people that make Boston a scientific hub.

Harvard lab delves into Ebola outbreak

Working with five African colleagues who have died, scientists have analyzed the genes of the virus for new insights.

New studies erase traumatic memories in mice

A growing body of work shows that, at least in rodents, triggering brain circuits can alter remembrance.

SCIENCE IN MIND

Top female math scholar tells her story of achievement

Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics.

At Harvard, tiny robots ‘swarm’ into shape

Three Harvard researchers have assembled a massive swarm of simple, three-legged robots that can work as team.

SCIENCE IN MIND

Harvard-trained mathematician is the first woman to win the ‘Nobel prize of math’

On Tuesday, Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics -- a recognition for her work on geometric problems such as understanding curved surfaces and doughnuts. The Fields Medal is sort of like the Nobel prize, except perhaps even more competitive, since it is awarded once every four years and limited to researchers under the age of 40.

Brigham researcher in flawed stem cell study will step down

The researcher, who oversaw a discredited study that described a simple method for creating stem cells, will take a one-year sabbatical.

Origami robot folds itself up, scuttles away

Harvard and MIT researchers published a proof-of-concept study that demonstrates how cheap, self-folding robots could work.

Science In Mind

Harvard researchers may have found clue to how ALS works

ALS may result from toxic interaction between brain cells. The findings suggest a possible new approach for developing drugs.

Coauthor of retracted stem cell papers commits suicide

The Japanese scientist coauthored papers that claimed powerful stem cells could be created through an acid bath technique.

Science in Mind

Measuring cultural evolution by tracking where notable people were born, died

An international team of researchers crunched three giant databases to map the geographical creep of culture over two millennia.

Next Mars rover to include MIT-led instrument

The rover will carry MOXIE, an instrument able to produce oxygen.

Science in Mind

Pollution may be a clear sign of life - maybe not-so intelligent - out there

On the off-chance aliens are wrecking their home planet, we might be able to catch them in the act, according to a team of scientists.

Tests suggest limits to Vertex’s cystic fibrosis treatment

Two teams of scientists showed that the medications in the two-drug regimen interfere with each other.

Science in Mind

Scientists report sexual harassment at field sites

In a stark paper published Wednesday, most respondents reported they had personally experienced sexual harassment.

Harvard scientists want gene-manipulation debate

A new technology could potentially allow researchers to block mosquitoes’ ability to spread malaria, or make weeds more vulnerable to pesticides.

Cancer cells may guide treatment

A Boston-based team published proof Thursday that one of the most alluring ideas in cancer treatment can work.

Science In Mind

Astronomers invite public to name exoplanets

The International Astronomical Union announced plans to crowdsource the naming of new planets and their suns.

Science in Mind

Study finds mutations in lung cancer DNA

The large and comprehensive study of the most common kind of lung cancer could help scientists devise new treatments.

People prefer electric shocks to time alone with thoughts

A startling new study finds that people don’t much enjoy spending even 10 minutes alone with their thoughts.

Electrifying stem cell finding retracted

Amid allegations of fraud, a bombshell stem cell discovery using an acid bath was withdrawn by the journal that published the work.

Undiagnosed-diseases center to open in Boston

The National Institutes of Health will expand its efforts to treat patients with baffling symptoms by creating six centers, including one in Boston.

Study finds top male scientists tilt toward hiring men

The most prominent male faculty in the life sciences at top US research institutions are training fewer women scientists than others, a study found.

Science in Mind

Fossilized feces show Neanderthals ate their vegetables

Samples suggest the Neanderthal diet was dominated by meat, but there was also a strong signal of plant consumption.

Science in Mind

Why are people willing to help future generations?

A team from Harvard and Yale universities have crafted an experiment that begins to unravel how people decide to make sacrifices today that benefit future generations.

Why are people willing to help future generations? Study has implications for climate-change policies

Drawing on wide-ranging expertise in evolutionary biology, psychology, math, and economics, a team from Harvard and Yale universities have crafted an experiment that begins to unravel how people decide to make sacrifices today that benefit future generations.

science in mind

Key to curing Alzheimer’s may be changing drug development funding

Based on current rates, it could take 260 years until the next Alzheimer’s drug is approved, an MIT economist says.

A less-than-final answer about the Big Bang

It turns out a key discovery may actually be just starlight.

‘Big Bang’ evidence could have been galactic dust

The paper presenting the results was published with an important caveat.

MIT biomedical engineer Robert Langer wins $500,000 Kyoto Prize

Robert Langer received $500,000 for the Kyoto Prize for Advanced Technology.

science in mind

Hype over stem cell science may prey on families’ hope

A massive effort is afoot to speed the development of cures. But do we sometimes move too fast?

Science in Mind

Researchers envision saliva test that predicts diabetes risk

Dr. Max Goodson and his colleagues from the Forsyth Research Institute reported a step towards that goal.

Science in Mind

Study of brain tumor cells reveals genetic diversity, complexity

A new study revealed an enormous diversity of gene activity within individual tumors.

Study of brain tumor cells reveals genetic diversity underlying failure of treatments

A new study of the gene activity of hundreds of individual cells from five patients’ deadly brain tumors reveals an enormous diversity of gene activity within individual tumors, helping to explain why targeted therapies ultimately fail.

Boston researchers work toward a saliva test for diabetes risk

Dr. Max Goodson envisions a future in which dentists performing routine checkups will take a quick saliva sample to determine whether a child is at risk for type 2 diabetes, providing an early alert that could help prevent full-blown disease.

Science in Mind

Harvard team helps with Ebola detection in Sierra Leone

A three-person team instructed staff at a local hospital how to do a genetic test for the new, virulent strain of Ebola.

Harvard team helps with Ebola detection in Sierra Leone

When an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus began in West Africa this spring, a Harvard researcher who studies how evolution shapes the genome sprang into action. A three-person team from Harvard and Tulane universities promptly departed for Sierra Leone to help instruct staff at a local hospital how to do a genetic test for the new, virulent strain of Ebola that has infected nearly 300 people so far.

Science in Mind

Woods Hole submarine marks 50 years of service

Alvin, the little manned submarine that could, is still plugging away at the frontiers of ocean exploration.

Science in Mind

Former Harvard researcher falsified data, federal investigation finds

A post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School intentionally falsified data in a paper submitted to the journal Nature.

Science in Mind

Laser light triggers stem cells to regrow teeth

Harvard University scientists have triggered naturally-occurring dental stem cells to regrow teeth in rats using a simple, low-power laser.

Harvard researchers discover new treatment for diabetes

The new treatment works by blocking an enzyme that breaks down insulin in the blood.

Dana-Farber researcher blocks MERS virus in experiment

The scientist has been studying the deadly virus for two years and recently discovered a way to combat it.

Slime mold race could provide insights into disease

The World Dicty Race features 15 competitors and unfolds on a microscope slide carved with tiny channels for a track.

Science in Mind

Harvard student’s unrelated data correlations make a serious point with humor

A new website draws into comical and obvious relief how easily we can get trapped into seeing relationships where there are none.

Science in Mind

Northeastern engineer building on stronger magnets

The work focuses on a neodymium iron boron magnet, which is crucial in applications that range from motor scooters to fighter jets.

For clean energy and high-tech, building stronger magnets

In recent years, whole swaths of the periodic table have never heard of have been threatened by shortages and international politics. Scientists are working to engineer substitutes.

Tongue-in-cheek website reminds users correlation is not causation

A new website, Spurious Correlations, the work of a first-year student at Harvard Law School, draws into comical and obvious relief how easily we can get trapped into seeing relationships where there are none.

Brain circuits may control parental behavior

Turning mice into good parents was as simple as shining a light to trigger specific brain cells.

Broad Institute lays off 27 after end of federal program

More than two dozen workers have been laid off at the Broad Institute because a federal program that supported chemical screening of potential drugs is ending.

Science in Mind

In this final exam, students’ robots put to the test

For students in this mechanical engineering class at MIT, the final exam isn’t a lengthy paper or a series of math problems - it’s robot skiing.

Broad Institute lays off 27 after end of federal program

More than two dozen workers have been laid off at the Broad Institute, a Cambridge genomics research center, because a federal program that supported chemical screening of potential drugs is ending.