The so-called “streetlight effect” has often fettered scientists who study complex hereditary diseases. The term refers to an old joke about a drunk searching for his lost keys under a streetlight. A cop asks, “Are you sure this is where you lost them?” The drunk says, “No, I lost them in the park, but the […]
From drinking water to DNA, from caffeine to carbon dioxide, and from Lipitor to Viagra—that is from atorvastatin to sildenafil citrate—molecules define our personalities, regulate our abilities, and dictate our feelings. Invisible to the human eye, many of them are biological celebrities: They famously smell or stink, make us feel depressed or elated, pollute our […]
The Future As We See It: Five intriguing technologies that could change your life by 2025 (U of T Magazine)
A lot can happen in a short time. The sexiest new gadgets can suddenly become old school as they’re replaced by even cooler technology. Seemingly impossible computing feats become commonplace. It’s not just the advance of computing power – progress is driven at least as much by the creative thinkers who develop, research, adopt and […]
In 1974, Roger Penrose, a British mathematician, created a revolutionary set of tiles that could be used to cover an infinite plane in a pattern that never repeats. In 1982, Daniel Shechtman, an Israeli crystallographer, discovered a metallic alloy whose atoms were organized unlike anything ever observed in materials science.
By Patchen Barss Published in Nautilus Magazine, November 2013 The word “macrophage” means “a big eater” in Greek, and it’s a fitting description. Macrophages are our body’s garbage-devouring cells. They consume the pathogens in our bloodstream, the necrotic cells from our flesh and bones, and the dust in our lungs. Present in every part of […]
By Patchen Barss Published in U of T Magazine, Autumn 2012 The average North American home could barely function as a residence if it lost its connections to the outside world. Wires, cables and electromagnetic radiation pierce the walls to convey electricity, television, telephone, radio and the Internet. Out-of-sight pipes bring in gas and running […]