Science In Mind

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

Science in Mind

Ancient Mars lake could be prime target in search for life

The lake once measured roughly the area of Lake Champlain and was more than 500 feet deep.

Papers from MIT cancer biologist’s lab retracted

The papers on how breast cancer spreads were retracted because the data were improperly patched together from different experiments.

Science in Mind

Researchers track sea turtles’ migration away from N.E.

An exhaustive four-year tagging project has for the first time given scientists a detailed look at their wanderings.

Science in Mind

In search for habitable planets, scientists rethink signs

The list of confirmed exoplanets discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope numbers more than 1,000 at last count.

Science In Mind

Citing Ebola, Harvard group has idea for crisis data-sharing

The group of researchers see a need for guidelines for people working disease outbreaks.

Science In Mind

Learning from Ebola, Harvard researchers suggest more open data

Nearly two decades ago, science and policy leaders gathered in Bermuda to hammer out a strategy for sharing the data from the international effort to sequence the human genome. A group of Harvard University researchers who have been sequencing the genomes of Ebola virus samples from Africa throughout the epidemic now see a need for similar guidelines for people working on disease outbreaks.

Wasp species named in honor of Bruins’ Tuukka Rask

A newly discovered wasp species from East Africa now bears the designation Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski, a tribute to the star Bruins goalie.

New research sheds light on cancer, Alzheimer’s origins

Researchers said new findings on Alzheimer’s and cancer are the first fruits of a technique developed by Boston scientists.

Science in Mind

Faculty hiring weighted toward top schools, study finds

Top universities form a kind of insular academic club, hiring most of their faculty from others in a small, elite network.

Science in Mind

How global warming can worsen snowfalls

An MIT scientist said average snowfall could decline but big storms could be more extreme in a warming world.

Science in Mind

Theoretical support found for ‘authentic altruism’

Harvard scientists are trying to explain a quirk of human behavior more often left to philosophers and psychologists.

Harvard, Yale scientists develop technique to make GMOs safer

The scientists have developed a powerful way to prevent genetically modified organisms from escaping into the wild.

Science in Mind

Working toward nonsurgical pet sterilization

The LA-based nonprofit Michelson Found Animals Foundation offers a $25 million prize for the first team to come up with an effective nonsurgical sterilization technique.

MIT scientists find way to more easily map the brain

Researchers have found a controlled way to cause a tissue sample swell to roughly four and a half times its size, making it easier to excamine.

Northeastern researchers discover new antibiotic in a Maine soil sample

Experts said the soil sample, harvested from a meadow in Maine, could be a powerful tool in the race against “superbugs.”

Science in mind

Keep noses under wraps to avoid colds

New research from Yale suggests there may be some truth to the old warning to bundle up to avoid catching a cold.

Science in Mind

The science behind the bubbly in champagne

Champagne isn’t just an elegant demonstration of physics in action; it’s also a source of new research insights.

Screen time wrong prelude to bedtime, study says

Researchers found reading on a backlit screen suppressed the sleep hormone melatonin and shifted the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

Science in mind

Report suggests higher pay, better mentoring for postdocs

An exhaustive national report on the state of scientific postdoctoral researchers urges a range of reforms.

Science in Mind

Moon mystery: How long did its magnetic field last?

Understanding the moon’s interior structure could help explain its ancient origins.

Boston scientists find gene mutations that are a precursor of blood cancer

The mutations markedly increase the risk of blood cancer, an important step toward developing early detection and prevention strategies.

Doctors look to personalize cancer care

Physicians and researchers have identified novel drug combinations that show promise against cancer cells that have developed a resistance to therapy.

Flawed gene may cut heart disease risk

People with a flawed gene have better heart health than those with the normal, functioning gene.

Science in Mind

Three from Mass. win $3 million Breakthrough Prizes

The prizes are aimed at honoring achievement and fostering general interest in science.

Science In Mind

Harvard researchers unravel evolution of genitalia

When the first animals scrambled out of the water to live on land, they needed a new way to reproduce.

Science in Mind

MIT scientist proposes asteroids as destinations before Mars

Asteroids offer appealing destinations for testing equipment and protocols as scientists prepare to send humans to Mars.

Science in Mind

Highest altitude settlements from ice age discovered

The human settlements date back to 12,400 years ago in the Peruvian Andes and sit more than 14,000 feet above sea level.

Science in Mind

Some genes may thwart disease

Our genes may not only make us susceptible to diseases, they may also protect us from them.

Stem cell research offers hope on type 1 diabetes

A procedure that creates millions of insulin-producing cells could be a paradigm shift in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Rare cancer recoveries could be key to wider treatments

Researchers are using an arsenal of biomedical tools to unlock the secrets of people who respond well to experimental drugs.

Nobel winner honed super-zoom microscopes at Woods Hole

Physicist Eric Betzig made regular summer pilgrimages to Woods Hole with a microscope in the back of a minivan.

Nobel winner honed super-zoom microscopes at Woods Hole

Physicist Eric Betzig made regular summer pilgrimages to Woods Hole with a microscope in the back of a minivan.

Science in Mind

MIT team suggests autism may be tied to ability to predict

MIT scientists propose a common thread that could explain many of the facets of the disorder.

Science In Mind

Haystack Observatory celebrates 50th birthday

The celebration gave a rare peek into the long history of Haystack and its future.

Ebola cases from infected travelers likely to increase as the outbreak rages on

When the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the U.S. on Sunday, Northeastern University researcher Alessandro Vespignani was not at all surprised. For weeks, the data scientist, who designs and runs big computer simulations of infectious disease outbreaks, has been carefully tweaking a model to project the spread of the virus both in Africa and as it might be imported to other countries carried by international travelers.

Suburban science curiosity: MIT’s Haystack Observatory celebrates 50 years

WESTFORD — It’s not every resolution drafted for the Legislature that mentions the layers of Earth’s atmosphere and name-drops Einstein’s theory of general relativity. But last week, scientists and engineers gathered on a suburban hillside to celebrate the history and future of a large and little-known radio telescope housed in a dome that looks more like the one at Epcot Center than anything else, all capped off by a reading of a new Massachusetts House of Representatives resolution to wish the telescope a happy 50th birthday.

Science in Mind

Harvard-led team’s cosmic inflation discovery uncertain

New data raise doubts about what was considered smoking gun evidence in favor of the theory of cosmic inflation — the “bang” of the Big Bang.

Study suggests violence is an evolutionary adaptation

New research found that human behaviors such as feeding animals or disturbing their habitat didn’t appear to cause more killings.

Science in Mind

Analysis of DNA reaping big gains

In the space of a few short years, DNA sequencing has changed from a technology whose medical promise is largely theoretical to a regularly-used tool.

Science in mind

Don’t just photograph life’s highlights, study suggests

We underestimate the pleasure we’ll gain from rediscovering the mundane, according to a new study.

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.


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.


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.