Science vs Science

Here’s Alex (and others) on the ABC podcast Science vs talking to Wendy Zukerman about reproducibility in science.

Some people have called our current situation a reproducibility crisis. It’s hard to know how to define, exactly, the word crisis. But what we do know is that, of the efforts to try to systematically reproduce findings, whether they be in cancer biology, whether they be in psychology, the success rate has not been impressive.

More on this subject from me, soon.

Portraits of European Neuroscientists

Karl PearsonPortraits of European Neuroscientists is a lovely new website from perceptual psychologist Nick Wade, visual neurophysiologist Marco Piccolino and web designer Adrian Simmons. The site pairs concise biographies with portraits that reflect a scientist’s contribution to the field. Some of my favourites—which also include this portrait of Pearson—are Wheatstone, Brücke and Panum. This is a particularly good resource for anyone teaching psychology or neuroscience, but it’s worth a good look in any case.

The neuroscience of illusion

In a Smithsonian article currently doing the rounds (Teller reveals his secrets), magician Teller gives his ideas on how magicians manipulate the mind. This led me to another great article that appeared a couple of years ago in Wired on the same theme. And that led me to Stephen Macknik and Susana Martinez-Conde‘s paper in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, which counts among its authors Teller, James Randi, Mac KingApollo Robbins and Johnny ThompsonAttention and awareness in stage magic: turning tricks into research can be found here.

1000000000000 frame-per-second camera

Ramesh Raskar‘s team at MIT Media Lab have built a camera capable of capturing light trajectories at a trillion frames per second. Which is relatively fast. Jared Newman at Time’s Techland points out that if it were slowed to a more conventional frame rate of around 30 fps, you would need an entire lifetime to watch just a tenth of a second of this footage.

Sixty symbols

A family friend put me on to the great Sixty Symbols (cheers, Cam)—a collection of videos featuring academics at the University of Nottingham. Each one is focused on a symbol with some important meaning in physics: γ links to a five-minute explanation of the Lorenz factor and time dilation; ψ to ten minutes on the wave function. Here’s Laurence Eaves and Mark Fromhold on chaos and the butterfly effect.

When you’re done, there’s also a chemistry sister site, The Periodic Table of Videos.