The COVID Science Wars – Scientific American

When Max von Pettenkofer shot himself to death in 1901, he left behind a storied career as a hygienist and bitter opponent of Robert Koch, the German physician and microbiologist who discovered the cholera bacillus, Vibrio cholerae. Von Pettenkofer, the founder of the Institute of Hygiene in Munich, disputed Koch’s germ theory of disease, which held that a germ is both necessary and sufficient to cause illness. Von Pettenkofer asserted that germs could only cause disease in the presence of a “local” or environmental factor.

The battle between the two men exploded into a bitter divide over the question of the infectivity of cholera. Koch and his fellow contagionists maintained that the bacterium was spread through the water. Von Pettenkofer and his localists believed that cholera was inhaled as a miasma, which arose from earth contaminated by sewage. Anxious to prove his theory that germs alone don’t account for

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5 Scientific Facts We Learned Just By Watching The Moon

The brightest object in the night sky, our Moon is an unmistakable sight.

Beyond its skyward motion and changing phases, naked-eye lunar observations yield tremendous scientific knowledge.

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Scientific analysis of an ancient portrait pigment reveals long-lost artistic details — ScienceDaily

How much information can you get from a speck of purple pigment, no bigger than the diameter of a hair, plucked from an Egyptian portrait that’s nearly 2,000 years old? Plenty, according to a new study. Analysis of that speck can teach us about how the pigment was made, what it’s made of — and maybe even a little about the people who made it. The study is published in the International Journal of Ceramic Engineering and Science.

“We’re very interested in understanding the meaning and origin of the portraits, and finding ways to connect them and come up with a cultural understanding of why they were even painted in the first place,” says materials scientist Darryl Butt, co-author of the study and dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences.

Faiyum mummies

The portrait that contained the purple pigment came from an Egyptian mummy, but it doesn’t

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When scientific journals take sides during an election, the public’s trust in science takes a hit

<span class="caption">People lose faith in science when it takes a political side.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="https://newsroom.ap.org/detail/Election2020WisconsinVoting/f700f11017154b8198897294aaa18cba/photo?boardId=d7f2514f50804466b15dfb81ed00d9cd&st=boards&mediaType=audio,photo,video,graphic&sortBy=&dateRange=Anytime&totalCount=15&currentItemNo=6" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:AP Photo/Wong Maye-E">AP Photo/Wong Maye-E</a></span>
People lose faith in science when it takes a political side. AP Photo/Wong Maye-E

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

When the scientific establishment gets involved in partisan politics, it decreases people’s trust in science, especially among conservatives, according to our recent research.

In the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, several prestigious scientific journals took the highly unusual step of either endorsing Joe Biden or criticizing Donald Trump in their pages.

In September, the editor-in-chief of the journal Science wrote a scathing article titled “Trump lied about science,” which was followed by other strong critiques from both the New England Journal of Medicine and the cancer research journal Lancet Oncology.

Several other top publications – including Nature and Scientific American – soon followed, with overt endorsements of Biden. The statements focused on each candidate’s impact on scientific knowledge and science-based decision-making.

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The Science of Nerdiness – Scientific American

Do you get excited and energized by the possibility of learning something new and complex? Do you get turned on by nuance? Do you get really stimulated by new ideas and imaginative scenarios?

If so, you may have an influx of dopamine in your synapses, but not where we traditionally think of this neurotransmitter flowing.

In general, the potential for growth from disorder has been encoded deeply into our DNA. We didn’t only evolve the capacity to regulate our defensive and destructive impulses, but we also evolved the capacity to make sense of the unknown. Engaging in exploration allows us to integrate novel or unexpected events with existing knowledge and experiences, a process necessary for growth.

Dopamine production is essential for growth. But there are so many misconceptions about the role of dopamine in cognition and behavior. Dopamine is often labeled the “feel-good molecule,” but this is a gross mischaracterization

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DVIDS – News – Scientific Development Squadron (VXS) 1 Holds Change of Command


NAVAL AIR STATION PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – Cmdr. Ian Lilyquist relieved Cmdr. Jared Tharp as commander of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s Scientific Development Squadron (VXS) 1, Nov. 6 during a change of command ceremony held at Naval Air Station Patuxent River.

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Commanding Officer Capt. Ricardo Vigil presented Tharp with the Meritorious Service Medal. Tharp served as the VXS-1 Commanding Officer from August 2019 to November 2020. Vigil said Tharp’s distinguished leadership was instrumental to the squadron’s continued record of superlative support to NRL’s airborne mission.

Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, commander, Office of Naval Research presided over the ceremony, took the opportunity to praise Tharp on a successful tour marked by world-wide deployments that advanced critical Science and Technology to the Fleet.

“The work being done by the VXS-1 squadron is vital for the Naval Research Enterprise,” Selby said. “Conducting

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Sonata Scientific Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

BETHEL, Conn., Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Sonata Scientific LLC, a developer of advanced air purification and antimicrobial products, has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $256,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on reducing the transmission of COVID-19 by contaminated surfaces.

The company is developing products to treat hospital surfaces that are known to harbor SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens.

Sonata is creating novel surfaces that kill both the COVID-19 virus and bacteria that cause hospital acquired infections. Even with daily wipe downs, these microscopic species accumulate on hospital surfaces such as bed rails and tables.  Sonata Scientific’s light activated, non-toxic durable coating works continuously to reduce dangerous infections and save lives.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of

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8 of the scientific institutions and traditions on the line on Tuesday

WASHINGTON — It’s impossible to overstate the impact of Tuesday’s presidential election on the health and science landscape.

It’s a contest between a candidate who says he’ll give federal scientists a major say in national policy and a president whose top aides have boasted that he wrested control of the U.S. “back from the doctors” in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. One candidate has made the phrase “trust the scientists” a constant refrain. The other has focused far more on economic indicators than scientific ones — and considered it an insult to suggest that his opponent will “listen to the scientists” in determining pandemic policy.

The divergent positions of President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on these issues may be central to the outcome of the election and will likely impact every element of the American medical and scientific worlds. Based on the candidates’ own

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Researchers’ Politics Don’t Undermine Their Scientific Results

Our need for credible science has never been more urgent. An extraordinary pandemic grips the world, racial tensions are surging, and political polarization is at historically high levels. Solving these social problems is a matter of life and death and the public needs to trust that scientists are trying to get it right.

Yet science has become politicized, and some worry that the liberal leanings of many academics biases research and makes it untrustworthy. In fact, an opinion article in the New York Times suggested that such liberal groupthink might help explain why scientific results sometimes don’t replicate.

The worry is that a politically homogenous group of scientists are prone to produce biased research and would overlook flawed results simply because the findings align with their own political worldview. With nobody to catch blind spots, such political bias could result in the publishing of shoddy science that is not replicable.

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Scientific Journals Commit to Diversity, but Lack the Data

Publishing papers in top-tier journals is crucial scholastic currency. But the process is deeply insular, often hinging on personal connections between journal editors and the researchers from whom they solicit and receive manuscripts.

“Science is publicized as a meritocracy: a larger, data-driven enterprise in which the best work and the best people float to the top,” Dr. Extavour said. In truth, she added, universal, objective standards are lacking, and “the access that authors have to editors is variable.”

To democratize this process, editors and reviewers need to level the playing field, in part by reflecting the diversity that journals claim they seek, Dr. Kamath said. “People think this is a cosmetic or surface issue,” she said. “But in reality, the very nature of your scholarship would change if you took diversity, equity and inclusion seriously.”

In responses to The Times, several organizations, including A.A.A.S., Cell Press, the Lancet and PLoS,

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