A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Advice to young scientists

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A letter to a young scientist

Each beginning in a new profession is challenging, no matter the sphere one has chosen. At first, it looks like it isn't such a great effort but as soon as one realizes the size of the journey that has been undertaken it gets more and more appalling to continue. It is not rare that a lack of confidence and support scares and finally fails students and young scientific researchers. Here is a motivational speech by the world-renowned biologist E.O. Wilson that will make young scientists think twice before they abandon their dream.

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Editor’s pick: Richard Feynman

Credit: Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman stands in front of a blackboard strewn with notation in his lab in Los Angeles, Californina. (Photo by Kevin Fleming/Corbis via Getty Images)

Excerpts from Feynman's book - QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter (1985)

1. "We cannot predict whether a given photon will arrive at A or B. All we can predict is that out of 100 photons that come down, an average of 4 will be reflected by the front surface. Does this mean that physics, a science of great exactitude, has been reduced to calculating only the probability of an event, and not predicting exactly what will happen? Yes. That's a retreat, but that's the way it is: Nature permits us to calculate only probabilities. Yet science has not collapsed."

2. "With quantum physics, who needs drugs?"

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Thoughts to reflect on

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Carl Linnaeus

1. "I demand of you, and of the whole world, that you show me a generic character... by which to distinguish between Man and Ape. I myself most assuredly know of none."

2. "Nature's economy shall be the base for our own, for it is immutable, but ours is secondary. An economist without knowledge of nature is therefore like a physicist without knowledge of mathematics."

3. "When all the thoughts are concerning one thing and the person loses interest in other things, the melancholy begins."

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Is math discovered or invented?

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Discovery or Invention – a question without a single answer

It's funny how scientists often speak about their new invention as a discovery or vice versa. Well, one thing is to discover a cave with ancient drawings inside and another to discover a physics law. On the other hand, have we invented musical harmonies or we have found them because it's obvious that some chords sound well together, others don't and that's far from subjective? 

Maybe, we can say that there are cases when something is both a discovery and invention, which is not necessarily a contradiction. It's a ticklish topic that has been discussed for centuries but still, there is no definitive resolution. Perhaps, we haven't posed the right question yet, or the best answer to it is to stay open and thus provocative and stimulating for the imagination of future thinkers.

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What does Science say about military conflicts

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Robert Sapolsky on "us" vs "them" in military conflicts

Robert Morris Sapolsky (born April 6, 1957) is an American neuroendocrinology researcher and author. He is currently a professor of biology, a professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University. In addition, he is a research associate at the National Museums of Kenya. He spent years studying baboons in Kenya, he is a great storyteller and we could even say, philosopher. There is no need to praise his achievements anymore because they are widely recognized.

In the short video below, he dares to discuss one quite ticklish and delicate topic – the nature of military conflicts with regard to the war in Ukraine. Of course, he speaks on the behalf of science, however, the information he discloses besides the scientific facts is a thorn in the flesh of all governments and institutions of power. There is nothing more to say here, just watch the video and decide for yourself.

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5 brilliant quotes from famous scientists

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Thoughts to reflect on

1. "Did the genome of our cave-dwelling predecessors contain a set or sets of genes which enable modern man to compose music of infinite complexity and write novels with profound meaning? …It looks as though the early Homo was already provided with the intellectual potential which was in great excess of what was needed to cope with the environment of his time."

-Susumu Ohno (geneticist, 1928-2000)

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Inspirational Quotes

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Science is Inspiration

1."Let's say intelligence is your ability to compose poetry, symphonies, do art, math and science. Chimps can't do any of that, yet we share 99 percent DNA. Everything that we are, that distinguishes us from chimps, emerges from that one-percent difference."
Neil deGrasse Tyson

2. "Every brilliant experiment, like every great work of art, starts with an act of imagination."
Jonah Lehrer

3. "Above all, don't fear difficult moments. The best comes from them."
Rita Levi-Montalcini
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Science is Wisdom

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5 scientific quotes about life

1. I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.

- Isaac Newton

2. Life cannot have had a random beginning ... The trouble is that there are about 2000 enzymes, and the chance of obtaining them all in a random trial is only one part in 10^40,000, an outrageously small probability that could not be faced even if the whole universe consisted of organic soup.

- Fred Hoyle

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Thoughts to reflect on

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3 Famous Thinkers on Science

1. Natural science will in time incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science: there will be one science.
- Karl Marx

2. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
- Albert Einstein

3. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
- Max Planck


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5 provocative science quotes by Rupert Sheldrake

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1. Bad religion is arrogant, self-righteous, dogmatic and intolerant. And so is bad science. But unlike religious fundamentalists, scientific fundamentalists do not realize that their opinions are based on faith. They think they know the truth.

2. I think that the 'laws of nature' are also prone to evolve; I think they are more like habits than laws.

3. Contemporary science is based on the philosophy of materialism, which claims that all reality is material or physical.

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14 science facts that will challenge your understanding of reality

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Did you know that?

1. In an entire lifetime, the average person walks the equivalent of five times around the world
It is calculated that the average moderately active person takes around 7,500 steps per day. If one keeps that daily average and lives until 80 years of age, he'll have walked about 216,262,500 steps in his lifetime, which is approximately 177,027 kilometers. Now, you can do the rest of the math.

2. An individual blood cell takes about 60 seconds to make a complete circuit of the body
Most people have 5 liters of blood in their body. With each beat, the heart pumps around 70 mL of blood and it beats an averagely 70 times per minute, which makes circulation of 4,9 liters per minute.
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10 Quotes about Science, Art and Knowledge that will provoke your convictions

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When single thought becomes broader than a book

1. Aerodynamically, the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway.

-Mary Kay Ash

2. Geologists have a saying - rocks remember.

-Neil Armstrong

3. A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

-Max Planck

4. The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle, is inborn in us.

-Paul Valery


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What Can't Be Predicted in Physic? – Seth Lloyd

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Why do we believe in Science?

Have you ever asked yourself: Why do we believe so blindly in science? Why is it that nowadays, we think scientific discourse holds the truth or at least is capable of disclosing it? Well, maybe you do not share this belief but it is nevertheless the predominant point of view in the 21st century and surely, it deserves some critical attention. Of course, there are many reasons and as many opinions why to believe in science. However, maybe the most attractive part of science, which is also undeniably beneficial and empowering for humankind, is the ability to predict.


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Global Europe in Research and Innovation

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Marseille Declaration

The biggest challenges confronting humanity necessitate countries work together. At the Marseille Conference on 8 March, Europe explored the path forward for international collaboration in research and innovation.

Now more than ever we bear witness to the achievements made possible in research, when countries collaborate closely and gain access to the right tools and expertise to get the job done. Years of international research collaborations in academia and industry underpinned the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the development of vaccines.

At the same time, geopolitical developments in the past decade have shown that collaboration sometimes needs to be modulated. The illegal Russian military aggression against Ukraine is a clear example of such developments. The EU has strongly condemned the invasion and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated that sanctions would include limiting Russia's access to crucial technology, such as semiconductors or cutting-edge software. The Commission has suspended cooperation with Russia on research and innovation and Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, issued a statement.

However, with those countries that respect fundamental values, the EU is committed to keep an open approach. This is not just beneficial, it is necessary.

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Gender equality in research and innovation

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Women still face inequality in the research arena despite decades spent in efforts to improve their circumstances.

Several decades ago, women scientists and engineers were a novelty – an exception. In 2022 the science and tech industries are still asking the same question: where are the women? There are many challenges to advancing a career in science or driving technological breakthroughs – for both men and women. But for many women, it is a real obstacle course.

This month, we hear from gender and science policymakers and researchers in Europe about the important achievements leading towards progress on gender equality. From leaky pipelines and sticky floors to broken ladders and glass ceilings – these are just some of the hurdles women scientists face when it comes to their career progression. Entrenched gender stereotypes and gender bias are a big part of the problem, according to experts on EU policies on gender in research.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science is in Our DNA

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Homo Scientia

What is the most human feature, the thing that distinguishes us from all other species? What makes us human beings? Is it the fact that we play, or dance, or maybe, that we use language? Another good pretender for such a trait is that we create our artificial world, in which we live whereas other species live in the natural world as it is. We call our species Homo Sapiens but if we take a look at the written human history, it is questionable that being reasonable and wise are our most distinctive characteristics. So what it is? Neil deGrace Tyson has an answer that you can hear in the video below.

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8 Inspirational Thoughts by some of the Greatest Scientists

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Scientific Wisdom

1. Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.
Sigmund Freud

2. The sun, with all the planets revolving around it, and depending on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as though it had nothing else in the universe to do.
Galileo Galilei

3. There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

4. The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.
Richard Feynman

5. Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy.
Sir Isaac Newton

6. A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.
Charles Darwin

7. Physics isn't the most important thing. Love is.
Richard Feynman

8. The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
Stephen Hawking


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Brainy Science Quotes

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7 quotes that will make you think twice

1. A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Max Planck

2. Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.

Niels Bohr

3. The great tragedy of science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

Thomas Huxley


4. No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.

Albert Einstein

5. Asteroids have us in our sight. The dinosaurs didn't have a space program, so they're not here to talk about this problem. We are, and we have the power to do something about it. I don't want to be the embarrassment of the galaxy, to have had the power to deflect an asteroid, and then not, and end up going extinct.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

6. You could warm Mars up, over time, with greenhouse gases.

Elon Musk

7. If you believe in science, like I do, you believe that there are certain laws that are always obeyed.

Stephen Hawking


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The 3 ‘demons’ that haunted legendary scientists

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The inner demon of the scientists

Jimena Canales, an expert in 19th and 20th-century history of the physical sciences, began a fascinating journey a decade ago. She began to investigate the appearance of the word demon in a historical context. And it turned out that it is present not only in religion or occultism but in the serious world of objective science, skepticism, and technology. Well, first of all, one should take into account that the word comes from Ancient Greek δαίμων daemon with the meaning – spirit or a divine power but not necessarily an evil one or malevolent in any way. The negative connotation came with the tradition of Christianity. Long before that, the daemon notably appears in Plato's works describing the divine inspiration of Socrates. It had (and still has) this positive and even productive meaning, which is the subject matter of this short video by Big Think. So, which is your demon?

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The Science of Christmas

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The mysteries of Christmas night explained

Have you ever wondered how does Santa deliver presents to all the children for only one night? What is the speed of his sleigh? And how does Rudolph's nose glow? Nowadays, we've got the privilege to have all that explained. Not just explained but scientifically explained. No matter the high-end technology involved and all the tricks of nature that the old Santa uses, we should not underestimate his skills and efforts. They are still exceeding everything that we and even the scientists, could imagine.

On behalf of the SWS Scholarly Society, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a great New Year full of science and excitement!

Enjoy the short video below!

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SSA Recent Posts

25 September 2022
Social Sciences & Arts (SSA)
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