Guest Post: Science is about passion. Find yours.

Steve Perrin Ph.D

Photo by Jeff Dunn

Steve Perrin Ph.D, is the CEO of the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a non-profit drug discovery company that combines pharma savvy, scientific inquiry and patient advocacy. Founded by Jamie Heywood (of Patients Like Me) after this brother was diagnosed with ALS, the company develops and screens potential ALS drugs. The process operates at an industrial scale: “Treatments of all kinds are considered and tested rigorously and rapidly.” ALS TDI is hosting a “Leadership Summit” in November

Here, Perrin offers some advice to new student scientists now settling into labs across Boston.

Science is truly an amazing discipline. Its impact on the lives of the world’s populations is evident, whether we are talking about the time of Socrates, Galileo, Newton, Einstein or a host of others. Read more

Science events this week: Talking heads, Rachel Carson and monogomy


The Museum of Science offers free admission to college students. And, they come. Get our student ID and head over to College Night.  

At BU, former Talking Head David Byrne and scientific celebrity Steven Pinker meet at BU to ponder the Question: Are We Born Musical?.


 Big Love: Monogamy and Promiscuity in the Animal Kingdom.” The Harvard students behind “Science in the News” will describe: some extraordinary mating systems employed by diverse creatures, from shorebirds to giant slugs, and lay out some of the fundamental principles that affect whether males and females have multiple mates or just one.”  This part should be interesting: “Following the talk, there will be a short demonstration during which the scientists will introduce their specific work in the field and show some real data.


Calling Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring a book not about science, but about               “environmental advocacy in the form of fable and narrative.”  Harvard hosts a panel on how the two meet.


Curiously pleasant surprises: A Q & A with Ig Nobelist Marc Abrahams

Every September, Marc Abrahams dusts off his top hat, gathers up local Nobel prize winners and MCs science’s silliest night. This week, he’ll once again give out The IgNobel Awards. The winners are a closely held secret, but you can tune in to the Thursday webcast and be one of the first to know. Or, grab a ticket – if there are any left — and show up at Harvard’s Sanders Theater. And, if you need to get a bit more Iggy, check out Abraham’s new book — This Is Improbable Cheese String Theory, Magnetic Chickens, and Other WTF Researcha collection of the columns from The Guardian.

One World Books photo

Q:  Has the term “What was I thinking?” ever entered your mind while you were standing  on the stage at the Ig Nobels?

No, because when the day arrives, we’ve been thinking long and hard (and who knows, maybe even well) about what might go wrong. The Ig Nobel ceremony is a complicated piece of engineering. We spend the year planning it, trying to foresee tiny and big fizzles (This is a la Murphy’s Law, the namers of which were awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in the year 2003, with Edward Murphy’s son coming to the ceremony to accept on his father’s behalf.) We can rehearse some of it (the new mini-opera about the universe, for example), and plan to deal with the most likely mishaps. But we don’t know what most of the parts are going to do – especially the ten new Ig Nobel winners arriving that day from various continents, and the bunch of Nobel laureates who will hand out the prizes. We have limited control over them. We also know there will be little surprises from the 1100 audience members, each of whom realizes full well that this is their supreme opportunity to show off, in public, their own personal 90/10% mix of genius/lunacy. Read more

This week: Science in the theater, in the kitchen and in the sky


Cinema versus Sous vide tonight. In Brookline, Harvard forensic psychiatrist Thomas G. Gutheil gives a talk before the film Se7en on,the psychology of serial killers and issues of insanity and the law.” Two detectives “hunt for a serial killer who meticulously stages each murder based on one of the seven deadly sins.” Part of the Science on Screen series.

Across the river, Spanish brothers Joan Roca and Jordi Roca of El Celler de Can Roca return to Harvard for the Science and Cooking program. They’ve been called pioneers of technologies that have transformed cooking. They are joined but Salvador Brugués, co-author of the book Sous-Vide Cuisine. This video is from Joan Roca’s 2010 visit: Read more

School year calendar kicks off with Higgs, Voyager and the science of food.

Click here for Nature Boston’s full calendar of events.


Harvard’s popular food science lecture series is back. This session features two food writers,  Dave Arnold, chef and Equipment & Kitchen Science editor at Food Arts and Harold McGee, an expert on food chemistry and a columnist for the New York Times. Read more