Archive for 'Arts and Science'

Innovative Scientists Talk About Their Childhood (4): David Hu’s Sister Being Born

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Here’s David Hu talking about seeing the birth of his sister—an experience that, when he was a child, excited David in a way that led to his eventual unusual career. David uses math and physics—and experiments—to try to understand some of the seemingly simply, scientifically mystifying things that happen in nature every day.

ABOUT THIS LITTLE VIDEO SERIES—This is part of a series of sessions we (David Hu and I, and a film crew) recorded at Georgia Tech. We assembled a little group of scientists (including David) who are renowned for looking at questions others might overlook, and doing research in inventive, clever ways.

The question we asked them: “What happened when you were a kid that somehow led—much later—to your doing unusual science?

The scientists: David Hu, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Frans de Waal, Nicole Sharp, Diego Golombek, and Olga Shishkov. Follow the links on their names to begin exploring some of their work!

A FURTHER NOTE ABOUT THIS SERIES: These little videos are not quite as good as they ought to have been, due to curious decisions made by the video editor. The most obvious of those strange decisions was to dose everything with goopy, slightly distracting music. The editor also objected to some of the content of the videos, deeming them somehow too offensive to record. The lesson we learned: choose our video editor more carefully.

Innovative Scientists Talk About Their Childhood (3): Olga Shishkov’s Bug Pals

Wednesday, June 12th, 2019

Here’s Olga Shishkov talking about some bugs that, when Olga was a child, excited Olga in a way that led to her eventual unusual career. Olga studies how maggots manage to do some of the surprising, impressive things they do.

ABOUT THIS LITTLE VIDEO SERIES—This is part of a series of sessions we (David Hu and I, and a film crew) recorded at Georgia Tech. We assembled a little group of scientists (including David) who are renowned for looking at questions others might overlook, and doing research in inventive, clever ways.

The question we asked them: “What happened when you were a kid that somehow led—much later—to your doing unusual science?

The scientists: David Hu, Suzana Herculano-Houzel, Frans de Waal, Nicole Sharp, Diego Golombek, and Olga Shishkov. Follow the links on their names to begin exploring some of their work!

A FURTHER NOTE ABOUT THIS SERIES: These little videos are not quite as good as they ought to have been, due to curious decisions made by the video editor. The most obvious of those strange decisions was to dose everything with goopy, slightly distracting music. The editor also objected to some of the content of the videos, deeming them somehow too offensive to record. The lesson we learned: choose our video editor more carefully.

2019 Ig Nobel Prize ceremony spiffy POSTER (downloadable)

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

Behold the OFFICIAL POSTER for the 29th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, designed by Geri Sullivan. Click on the image to produce a downloadable, printable PDF version.

If you are in the Boston (Massachusetts) area, and can help post some paper posters in places your colleagues, neighbors, friends, and rivals will admire them, please get in touch with us.

The ceremony will happen on Thursday evening, September 12, at Sanders Theatre, Harvard University. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, July 10, exclusively from the Harvard Box Office, online and in Harvard Square.

Rubbing Pubic Hair with Cocaine-Contaminated Hands [research study]

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019

This hands-on study (hands on pubic hair) suggests that the hunt for illicit drug use may be more interesting than is generally known:

Cocaine Contamination in Pubic Hair: Analysis of the Decontamination Method,” Guido Romano, Francesca Indorato, Giorgio Spadaro, Salvatore Barbera, and Nunziata Barbera, Egyptian Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol. 4, no. 4, 2014, pp. 129–136. The authors, at the University of Catania, Italy, report:

The aim of this study was to verify whether the external contamination of pubic hair with cocaine could influence the discrimination between active users and false positive subjects. The analysis was performed on in vivo and in vitro samples; the contamination was carried out by rubbing pubic hair with cocaine hydrochloride contaminated hands for three consecutive days….

Data from our studies show that all in vivo samples yielded false positives; the in vitro samples were negative only for 10 days and then yielded false positives.

A visit to the prize-winning doctor who examined his own intestines

Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Thai PBS sent a news crew to visit Akira Horiuchi, the Japanese doctor who pioneered self-colonoscopy. Thai PBS reports [in Thai, which we present here via machine translation into English text]:

IG NOBEL is an award given to scientific work. Or research that is unlikely to be possible The only selection criteria is Your research must make people laugh and think. And this Japanese doctor got this award Doctor invented a method for detecting colon cancer by himself. Research of doctors who use themselves to experiment And receiving the prize is a telescope with sitting position Self-taught lessons Which the doctor published in the medical magazine in 2006 and the committee saw the value of the research that proved by the body that if receiving a colonoscopy with a sitting position Will have less pain But from that day until today, 15 years ago, the doctor still thought And continue thinking not to stop Until the day that the colon examination was easy

Which your method is Special anesthetic examination The camera is shining and the patient just forgot about 10 minutes. Can recover and drive home This type of examination is priced at 7,000 yen or about 2,000 baht, but if the tumor is cut off too The price will be 20,000 yen or about 6,000 baht.

Follow up on the program to see when the doctor examines the intestines, IG NOBEL Awards, Sunday 9 June 2019, 17.30 – 18.00 hrs., In Thai PBS. Or watch via online TV via www.thaipbs.or.th/Live And follow the movement of the item at www.facebook.com/Dohiru

Looking Back at that Ig Nobel Prize

The 2018 Ig Nobel Prize for medical education was awarded to Akira Horiuchi, for the medical report “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.”

REFERENCE: “Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy by Using a Small-Caliber, Variable-Stiffness Colonoscope,” Akira Horiuchi and Yoshiko Nakayama, Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, vol. 63, No. 1, 2006, pp. 119-20.

Here’s video of Dr. Horiuchi being awarded the prize, giving his acceptance speech, and demonstrating his work:

 

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