The Trailblazing Scientific Career Of Maria Zuber
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"In planetary science, you can ask really big questions," said Maria Zuber, Vice President of Research at MIT, in an interview with Smithsonian Magazine. Maria has been tackling big questions her entire career. She was the first woman to run a NASA spacecraft mission, the first woman to lead a science department at MIT, and one of the first two women to receive NASA's Distinguished Public Service Medal. Her passion is planetary science, which includes the study of planets, moons, and planetary systems.
Stephen Hawking Thinks Our History Is That "Of Stupidity"
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Studying the past is really only helpful if you can use it to benefit the future. If you can't learn from the mistakes of yesterday, the same mistakes get repeated. Even so, there's more to life than studying where humanity went wrong. Stephen Hawking made this point when he said, "We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity. So it's a welcome change that people are studying instead the future of intelligence." Hawking made this comment in an October 2016 lecture at the opening of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (LCFI) at Cambridge University. The center is a multi-disciplinary institute that will look to address the unanswered questions around artificial intelligence.
P-Hacking Enables Scientists To Publish False Results As True
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P-hacking: just the word sounds nefarious. But to understand just how nefarious it is, you first need to understand a statistical concept known as the p-value. Consider a simple scientific experiment, one to determine whether a certain drug helps lower blood pressure. All of the study participants take pills, but one group gets pills containing the drug and the other gets sugar pills—the placebo, or control group. Scientists record the results of the two groups, then put them through statistical analysis and come up with a p-value. This number, which is always between 0 and 1, helps the scientists determine whether any differences they see between the experimental and control groups are due to a real effect or random chance. The lower the number, the less likely it is that the result could have arisen in any way except for the drug actually working; the higher the number, the more likely it is that the drug isn't having a measurable effect on blood pressure. A low enough number—less than 0.05 or 0.01, depending on the field of study—is considered "statistically significant," and will give that study a better chance of being published.
Belief In God Is The Best Bet, According To Pascal's Wager
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Many great minds have sought proof for God's existence. For French philosopher and scientist Blaise Pascal, God's existence was beside the point. He conceded that nobody knows whether or not God exists, but because it's in our own best interests to behave as if he does, that's the most rational choice.
Marie Curie Couldn't Legally Attend College, So She Did It Illegally
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Marie Curie is the trailblazing scientist known for receiving two Nobel Prizes, one in physics and another in chemistry, among her many other contributions to science. But her achievements were quite close to never happening at all. During Marie Curie's time in Poland in the 1800s, higher education for women was illegal. The country, then controlled by Russian, Prussian, and Austrian powers, strictly limited what could be taught, and banned women from attending college altogether. But that didn't stop Curie. She attended what was known as the Flying University, a secret organization that began in 1882 in Warsaw, Poland. Polish professors, philosophers, and historians led seminars and lectures for students who were shunned by the current government-controlled education system of the time. To avoid detection from officials, since this type of schooling was illegal, the Flying University sessions jumped from private home to private home. By the 1890s, the school had nearly one thousand students from both sexes. Get a quick recap of Curie's education and career in the video below.