Without Albert Einstein, We’d All Be Lost

One hundred years ago this week, on Nov. 4, 1915, Albert Einstein, working alone in wartime Berlin, submitted the first of four scientific papers that would change the course of physics and our view of the cosmos. His general theory of relativity is perhaps the greatest achievement of a single human mind. Although it made Einstein the most famous scientist in history, he did not live to see the full impact of his ideas.

No Planning Necessary - The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley

When a pack of cyclists encounters a headwind, no one directs each rider to move into the slipstream of the rider in front. Each cyclist does it automatically because each will save energy by not having to push into the wind unaided. What about the lead cyclist? An unspoken rule allows him to take his pull at the front for a few seconds then peel off and move to the back of the pack.

Red Meat Tied to Cancer, Study Finds

Eating bacon, hot dogs and other processed meats increases the risk of cancer, while red meat may pose a similar threat, according to a report Monday by the World Health Organization that drew swift criticism from meat-industry groups. The conclusion, published in a medical journal by a panel of researchers for the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, classifies processed meats as carcinogenic to people, its strongest risk category for cancer and one that includes tobacco smoke and diesel-engine exhaust.

What We’ll Eat, Drink and Breathe on Mars

As the new movie "The Martian" makes clear, the Red Planet is a perfectly horrible place to live.

Are Some Tech Startups ‘Subprime’?

If venture capitalists were as imaginative about what could go wrong in their industry as they are about what could go right, maybe we wouldn’t be in this situation.

The Myth of Basic Science

Innovation is a mysteriously difficult thing to dictate. Technology seems to change by a sort of inexorable, evolutionary progress, which we probably cannot stop—or speed up much either. And it’s not much the product of science. Most technological breakthroughs come from technologists tinkering, not from researchers chasing hypotheses. Heretical as it may sound, “basic science” isn’t nearly as productive of new inventions as we tend to think.

Tech Startups Feel an IPO Chill

Dropbox Inc. had no trouble boosting its valuation to $10 billion from $4 billion early last year, turning the online storage provider’s chief executive into one of Silicon Valley’s newest paper billionaires.

LSD Archive Has Been on a Long, Strange Trip

BERN, Switzerland—Albert Hofmann realized he had invented LSD after a vivid experiment in 1943. The Swiss chemist retired a few decades later, and his personal archive began a long, strange trip that ended at a quiet institute in this leafy city—where it is looked after by a part-time dairy farmer.

Scientists’ Work on DNA Repair Earns Nobel Prize in Chemistry

STOCKHOLM—A trio of scientists was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for describing how cells repair damaged DNA, breakthroughs that are helping to guide the development of new cancer drugs.

Is Your Refrigerator Running? No, Really, You Won a Nobel Prize

The phone rings in the middle of the night. The number is unrecognizable. The voice on the other end of the line is unfamiliar—and it comes with a Swedish accent.

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