Prusiner's Prions

While everyone loves the romantic notion of the scientific revolutionary who bucks a doubting "establishment" to change our understanding of the world, every now and then, that narrative comes true. In the early 1970s, an otherwise healthy woman became a patient in the University of California, San Francisco's neurology department; she was suffering from something called a "slow virus infection," specifically, a neurodegenerative condition called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

The (Shrimp) Eyes Have It

Wondering what the next Big Thing might be in terms of DVD/Blu-Ray technology? The secret might lie with the lowly mantis shrimp.

Holy Concussive Incident, Batman!

Batman takes a lot of blows to his head. These come from his fighting activities and from being routinely thrown—or leaping—onto or into hard objects like walls, floors, and moving vehicles. The issue of concussion in Batman’s career is something I addressed in Becoming Batman. In examining the scientific possibility of a human training to achieve the pinnacle of physical skill of comic book icon Batman, I reckoned him having a pretty short career. The main thing to shorten Batman’s career would be his accumulation of injuries, with concussion figuring prominently. In our own day and age concussion in sports—and particularly in hockey and football—has received considerable attention but little resolution.

Just Imagine

For those who missed the 2009 Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, one of many highlights was the screening of documentary shorts: not the dry, didactic educational films typically shown in the classroom, but truly creative endeavors that showcase science in innovative ways.