Science is a story that explains the world

Why do you love science? That's what Smithsonian editor Sarah Zielinski asked me a few weeks ago, when she was putting together a series of essays for Smithsonian Magazine's Surprising Science blog. Answering her question actually made me realize how intertwined my love of science is with my love of storytelling. » 12/06/11 12:48pm 12/06/11 12:48pm

How to organize a dictionary of made-up languages

Stephen Rogers has put together the ultimate guide to conlangs, or made-up languages, from Klingon and Elvish to Lojban and Esperanto. In his new book A Dictionary of Made-Up Languages, you can learn about Na'vi pronunciation and the word games that mathematicians play. It's the perfect book for word geeks, as well… » 11/23/11 2:24pm 11/23/11 2:24pm

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

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

Canvassing the Universe: How Artists Create Scientifically Accurate…

Astronomical artist Ron Miller has worked with scientists and space agencies to create gorgeous images of planets, stars, and distant galaxies. In this essay, he explains how he creates amazing worlds from scientific data, and shows us a few of his favorite pieces of space art. » 10/14/11 7:00am 10/14/11 7:00am

A sneak peek at the art-packed weird fiction book you'll be drooling…

Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, who brought you the amazing Steampunk anthologies (among many others), have just released another sumptuous literary and visual treat. And we've got a sneak peek at some of the art and table of contents. » 7/07/11 2:30pm 7/07/11 2:30pm