How the American Museum of Natural History will train the next generation of science teachers

It's no secret that the U.S. education system is hurting, especially when it comes to science teachers. Public schools are chronically underfunded, and the most talented college graduates shy away from entering the teaching profession when its future seems so grim. But hope isn't lost. A pioneering program at New… » 1/04/12 2:41pm 1/04/12 2:41pm

What does the Supercommittee failure mean for the future of scientific progress?

The levels of support received by any government-funded program are expected to fluctuate in kind with a country's budgetary fortunes, but the history of federally funded science in the United States has been especially strained by the ongoing transformation of the nation's budget. » 12/02/11 11:20am 12/02/11 11:20am

Breakthrough: Gene Therapy Provides Full Protection from HIV Transmission in Mice

For hundreds of years, immunization has been one of society's most elegant and dependable methods of disease prevention. Vaccines have been developed for infections ranging from measles to HPV. Many of us get vaccinated to protect ourselves against seasonal illness, or before traveling internationally. Vaccination is… » 12/01/11 8:11am 12/01/11 8:11am

Further proof that private industry can't fund basic science

The congressional supercommittee failed to come up with a budget for the United States, so dramatic cuts will hit every sector — including government-funded science, which has already taken a budget hit two years in a row. Congress has said not to worry because when government money for endeavors like space… » 11/23/11 12:14pm 11/23/11 12:14pm

Our bodies are a global marketplace where bacteria trade genes

There is a vast, unseen marketplace that connects us all. The traders are the trillions of bacteria that live on or within our bodies; the commodities they exchange are genes. This flow of genes around our bodies allows bacteria to rapidly evolve new skills, including the abilities to resist antibiotics, cause… » 11/16/11 4:38pm 11/16/11 4:38pm

Ecology explains how the world works

A lot of publicly funded research is often called "basic." It may seem useless to some, but can lead to great payoffs in the future. Basic research provides the foundation for monumental discoveries, fosters the development of ground-breaking technologies and gives us the information we rely on when making important… » 11/15/11 1:50pm 11/15/11 1:50pm

Why the microbes in cow stomachs could help make biofuel

Last month I was lucky enough to visit one of the biggest genomics labs in the world. At the Joint Genome Institute (JGI) in Walnut Creek, CA, huge rooms full of genome sequencing machines work 24/7 to crunch the codes that create life. And the research here, funded by the US Department of Energy, has a purpose. The… » 11/10/11 4:30pm 11/10/11 4:30pm

The story behind the world's first cancer vaccine

The world's first vaccine designed to prevent cancer was not developed by a pharmaceutical company. Instead, its development was funded by public institutions on two continents, including three universities, and the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The vaccine prevents human papillomavirus (HPV), an ailment that can… » 10/28/11 10:42am 10/28/11 10:42am

How the U.S. government helped fund the development of gene therapy

Over at Discover magazine, Veronique Greenwood has written a terrific article explaining the development of gene therapy, one of the most promising avenues of medical research over the last several decades. And, she explains, this basic, life-saving research couldn't have been done without the help of government… » 10/27/11 4:30pm 10/27/11 4:30pm

Machines that let you observe and manipulate a single biological molecule

Have you ever wondered how an individual molecule really behaves? Recent advances funded by the NIH and NSF have helped us reach the point where scientists can observe individual molecules act when they are isolated from other molecules. Let's take a look at a revolutionary and new way to perform scientific… » 10/06/11 9:43am 10/06/11 9:43am

Biotech Breakthrough: Monkeys can feel virtual objects using a brain implant

It could be the first step towards truly immersive virtual reality, where you can feel the computer-generated world around you. An international team of neuroengineers has developed a brain-machine interface that's bi-directional. That means the monkeys can use this brain implant not only to control a virtual hand,… » 10/05/11 11:14am 10/05/11 11:14am

Want some free, anonymous health care? Try your local U.S. Health Department.

Don't have a job with health insurance benefits? Lose your job and can't afford a COBRA plan? Regardless of the situation (and even if you are insured), you can still get care, and you should. What you may not have realized is that your local health department provides a level of basic care for a nominal (or free)… » 9/29/11 8:30am 9/29/11 8:30am

Robert Wilson, the Gun-Toting Physicist Who Helped Give Us the Particle Accelerator

One day in 1969, the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy convened in Washington, DC, to hear testimony from a number of scientists concerning a proposed multimillion dollar particle accelerator to be built in Batavia, Illinois. Physics had enjoyed strong government support for two decades in the wake of the… » 9/26/11 2:30pm 9/26/11 2:30pm