9th December 2013

Exploring the Future of Energy

Category Archives:

Medicine and Genetics

“Ich probiere”: Revisiting Abraham Flexner’s dream of the useful pursuit of useless knowledge.

The most succinct encapsulation of the value of curiosity to practical pursuits came from Michael Faraday; when asked by William Gladstone, Chancellor of the Exchequer, about the utility of electricity, Faraday is purported to have replied, “One day, sir, you may tax it”. Whether apocryphal or not, the remark accurately captures the far-reaching, often universal […]

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From NWD12: Getting rigorous about genes vs. the environment

The afternoon sessions at the Nobel Week Dialog covered a lot of ground, which was inevitable if you put six extremely smart people on the stage, give them a topic, and set them loose. Although there’s no way to possibly summarize the full conversation, it is possible to pull out some important themes that the […]

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From NWD12: Do we understand gene-environment interactions?

Gene-environment interactions was a hot topic during the first part of Stream A in the panel discussion on The Promised Land of Genomic Medicine: Where Can the Science Take Us? The moderator, Göran Hansson, posed the question: How far are we from understanding these interactions? Eric Lander raised a really interesting point that the general […]

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Eric Lander: how biology entered the information age

Eric Lander was one of the leaders of the effort to sequence the human genome, and has continued to work on various follow on projects through his involvement with the Broad Institute, a leading sequencing center. So, he makes an excellent choice to provide some perspective about how the growing availability of genomes has driven […]

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The Secret of Life

Asking for our “sympathy and support”, Eric Lander attemped to summarize the past and future of the genetic era. Since there are five turns of the double helix, he broke this down into five parts. The first of these was ‘The Secret of Life” which was the start of the 20th century until 1953 according to […]

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Physicists in Biology; And Other Quirks of the Genomic Age

Leo Szilard – brilliant, peripatetic Hungarian physicist, habitué of hotel lobbies, soothsayer without peer – first grasped the implications of a nuclear chain reaction in 1933 while stepping off the curb at a traffic light in London. Szilard has many distinctions to his name; not only did he file a patent for the first nuclear […]

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John Dupré – The potential of genetic discrimination

There is a certain hot topic, when it comes to genetic testing and finding: The potential for genetic discrimination. The ideal person to give some answers on this is John Dupré, who focuses as a philosopher of science in genomics in society. Dupré will take part at two panel discussions at the Nobel Week Dialogue. […]

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DNA and society, decoding and dialogue

I have been an active research scientist in bacterial genetics for over a decade, and a science blogger for about four years, with much of my research and writing focusing on various aspects of the lifestyles (and DNA) of bacteria. Yet in all the many hours I’ve devoted to staring at Gs, As, Ts and […]

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What drives an interest in science and genetics?

It is amazing to be invited to blog at the Nobel Week Dialogue this weekend. I have always been interested in science. As a young teenager I had an aviary and kept a detailed account of the bird’s family trees and feather colour, beginning my interest in inheritance and genetics! Fascination wasn’t the only driver behind my path […]

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The Third Age of Molecular Biology

The old Chinese saying exhorted us to live in “interesting times”. Since Darwin finished his great work in 1859, no other time has been as interesting for biology’s relevance to humanity as the current landscape in molecular biology and medicine. We like to think that the golden age of biology passed with the discovery of […]

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