Review articles — papers that summarize a topic or a technique, assessing our present state of understanding and our hopes for the future — are useful and often enjoyable to read. In Physics, these are well respected but rather rare. In Biology, it sometimes seems like the ratio of primary articles to review articles isn’t … Continue reading The Once and Future Light Sheet
Last week we had another successful run of our Physics & Human Physiology “SAIL” outreach day camp for high school students. I just realized that this is the 10th year I’ve co-run a SAIL camp, which means I should probably offer some grand assessment of it. Instead, I’ll just jot a few notes, post a … Continue reading SAIL Recap 2017
A few weeks ago, I came across a fascinating review article in Science with the instantly compelling title, Poor human olfaction is a 19th-century myth . Like most people, I’ve been told that compared to many other animals, humans aren’t very good at smelling. Apparently this isn’t true, and stems more from 19th century notions of … Continue reading You smell fine
How can we describe a population expanding into a new environment, like an invasive species spreading into virgin territory, or a disease infiltrating a community of susceptible hosts? Would the speed at which the population’s front advances be constant, like a car driving along a highway, so that if it travels 60 miles in one … Continue reading Muskrats, Arts and Crafts
(A follow-up to my election day post.) Tuesday’s surprising presidential election has been on everyone’s mind for the past week, and has stirred up lots of emotion. I thought it worth acknowledging this event at the start of class on Thursday. My aims were that this would be very brief, that I wouldn’t expresses displeasure … Continue reading Post-election-day biophysics
(A short election day post!) I always start off my “biophysics for non-science majors” class with an interesting picture. Today, since it’s election day, I tried to think of something that links politics and science and came up with these photos that I took at the Library of Congress this past summer, where there’s a … Continue reading Election day biophysics
An extremely long post, mainly written to have something to point people to as a commentary on some recent work. A new paper from my lab came out recently in PLOS Biology, on watching and learning about the competition between gut microbes. I like the paper a lot, and, with one possible exception, it took more hard labor … Continue reading How are your intestines like a tide pool?