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Dr. John Bahcall (1934-2005) had a long and prolific career in astronomy and astrophysics, spanning five decades and the publication of more than 500 technical papers, books, and popular articles.

Dr. Bahcall’s original calculations of the expected neutrino output from the sun led to a long, experimental, and intellectual adventure that continues today. The “solar neutrino problem” has yielded new insights in astrophysics and into the most basic forces of nature. Dr. Bahcall led a major effort to exploit the capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope in elucidating the properties of quasars, and is recognized for his theoretical work in many different areas of astrophysics, including models of the Galaxy and studies of dark matter.

Dr. Bahcall was Richard Black Professor Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study. He joined the Institute in 1968. He was a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and Member of the National Academy of Sciences, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and NASA Advisory Council.

Dr. Bahcall was the recipient of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal (1992), National Medal of Science (1998), Hans Bethe Prize (1998), Dan David Prize (2003), Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal (2003), Benjamin Franklin Medal (2003), Enrico Fermi Award (2003), and the Comstock Prize in Physics (2004).

In our 2-23-05 interview, Dr. Bahcall discusses

  • Present and future contributions of Hubble Space Telescope
  • The use of solar neutrinos to do astronomy
  • Dark matter
  • Dark energy
  • Manned space flight
  • The possibility of other intelligent life in the universe

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John Mattick is Professor of Molecular Biology and ARC Federation Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland. Professor Mattick’s research interest is in the role of noncoding RNA in the evolution and development of complex organisms. He has published over 150 scientific papers, including “The hidden genetic program of complex organisms” (Scientific American 291(4):60-67, 2004), “RNA regulation: a new genetics?” (Nature Reviews Genetics 5:316-323 2004), and “Non-coding RNA” (Human Molecular Genetics 15: R17-R29, 2006).

Professor Mattick has developed a new theory of the structure of genetic information in higher organisms, which may explain the purpose of so-called junk DNA in the human genome as a hidden information system that directs human development.

The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) is one of Australia’s leading research institutions and a major center for molecular bioscience research. IMB links leading-edge genomic discovery and bioinformatic facilities with state-of-the-art research to better understand human and animal biology, and to develop new pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, nanotechnologies, and disease therapies.

In our wide-ranging September 2006 SCIENCE AND SOCIETY interview, Professor Mattick discussed the following:

  • What mysteries have arisen from the sequencing of the human genome and those of other organisms?
  • There are enormous numbers of noncoding RNAs expressed from the human genome. These represent a previously hidden layer of genetic output and likely control the trajectories of our development from the starting point of a single fertilized cell.
  • What is the significance of these discoveries and ideas in relation to the diversity of species and human individuality?
  • How and why will RNA-based therapies revolutionize medicine and the pharmaceutical industry?
  • How do these ideas relate to our understanding of the evolution and function of the brain, and in particular its capacity to learn?

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Terrence J. Collins, Ph.D., is the Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry and Director of the Institute for Green Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Collins is distinguished by his seminal scientific contributions to green chemistry and his dedication to green chemistry education. He is recognized world-wide as an energetic public advocate for greater use of green chemistry to help achieve a sustainable civilization. In 1997 his work won the award of the Society of Pure and Applied Coordination Chemistry (Japan) and in 1999 the U.S. Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the Environmental Protection Agency.

After completing postdoctoral work at Stanford University, Dr. Collins taught at the California Institute of Technology before coming to Carnegie Mellon in 1987. At Carnegie Mellon, Dr. Collins is the Director of the Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry, which was established in 2000. Previously, he was an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar.

One of the leading educators in the field of green chemistry, Dr. Collins published the first definition of green chemistry in 1997 for the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Chemistry, Volume 2. He was invited to contribute extensive on-line materials on sustainability science to the American Chemical Society (ACS) Green Chemistry Institute, and served as a consultant for “Reactions in Chemistry,” a professional development series for high school teachers developed by Annenberg Media.

Dr. Collins represented the U.S. at the Workshop on the Funding of Sustainable Chemistry, which took place in Tokyo in 2000 as part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. An author or co-author of more than 100 publications in the scientific literature, Dr. Collins has presented more than 400 public lectures worldwide. His honors include the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

In our in-depth June 2007 SCIENCE AND SOCIETY interview, Dr. Collins discusses

  • What is green chemistry in overview?
  • What a sustainable technology base will look like
  • Basic goals of research in green chemistry
  • How the chemical enterprise will have to adapt for society to be able to build a sustainable technology base
  • The key roles for great universities in redirecting our civilization toward a sustainable trajectory

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SCIENCE AND SOCIETY Listed as Top Podcast

by David Lemberg on November 9, 2010

in Science Education

SCIENCE AND SOCIETY has just been honored by Online Degrees as one of the Top 20 podcasts for science lovers.

We are delighted to be recognized by this important organization.

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Douglas Preston – IMPACT, Pendergast, and The Relic

January 22, 2010

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Douglas Preston is the New York Times best-selling author of the newly released IMPACT, recently published by Forge Books. He is the co-author, with Lincoln Child, of the famed Pendergast series of novels, including such bestselling titles as The Book of the Dead and The Wheel of Darkness, as [...]

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Dr. Louis Lanzerotti – Hubble Space Telescope, Cassini, and NASA

January 8, 2010

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Dr. Louis Lanzerotti is Distinguished Research Professor of Physics, New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 2004 President George W. Bush nominated Dr. Lanzerotti to the 24-member National Science Board, the governing body of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Lanzerotti chaired the blue-ribbon panel to study whether to prolong the [...]

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Marjorie Liu – Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy

January 5, 2010

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Marjorie Liu is a New York Times bestselling author of novels, short stories, novellas, and two ongoing series. Dirk & Steele is a series of novels of paranormal romance and the Hunter Kiss series focuses on urban fantasy. Marjorie has written NYX: No Way Home, for Marvel Comics, and [...]

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Jake Black – The Authorized Ender Companion – Ender Universe

December 16, 2009

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Jake Black is the author of THE AUTHORIZED ENDER COMPANION, recently published by Tor Books. Fans will be able to explore the first complete and in-depth encyclopedia of all the persons, places, things, and events in Orson Scott Card’s beloved Ender Universe.
The long-awaited volume was written under the editorial [...]

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Flu Virus, Evolution, Human Genome – Dr. Steven Salzberg

December 15, 2009

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Dr. Steven Salzberg is Director of the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology and Horvitz Professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland.
Dr. Salzberg was part of the team that published the human genome in 2001, and has participated in the sequencing of genomes from a long list [...]

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Robots and Artificial Intelligence – Dr. Dennis Hong

December 11, 2009

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Dr. Dennis Hong is an Assistant Professor and the Director of RoMeLa(Robotics & Mechanisms Laboratory) of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. His research expertise lies in the areas of

Novel robot locomotion mechanisms
Design and analysis of mechanical systems
Kinematics and robot mechanism design
Humanoid robots
Autonomous systems

He was the inventor of [...]

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Cassini-Huygens Mission to Saturn and Titan – Dr. John Zarnecki

December 10, 2009

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Professor John Zarnecki is a team leader for ExoMars and has been a Principal Investigator on the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn and Titan since 1990. Professor Zarnecki is Principal Investigator, Huygens Science Surface Package, and Professor of Space Science, Planetary and Space Sciences Research Institute (PSSRI) at The Open [...]

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