Of Schemes and Memes Blog

The Best of Nature Network: 18-23 September 2010


This week, Stephen Curry attends an annual meeting on picornaviruses (Europic) but finds himself distracted by a lady:

So I try to stay tuned in all the talks. But this year there has been something different about the conference. It hasn’t happened in every talk but from time to time, after the same visual or audible cue, I am suddenly aware that there is someone new at Europic, someone I hadn’t noticed before. Her name is Henrietta Lacks.

Henrietta, of course, was the lady who became the unwitting donor of the first immortal culture of human cells. Her remarkable story is told in a recent book by Rebecca Skloot, which Stephen recommends.

Other remarkable stories may soon be springing out of a new facility in San Francisco, as Jo Scott explains:

BioCurious aims to create a lab for non-institutional science – a place where people with ideas for biotech start-ups, individual projects or even just work that doesn’t come under the day job can have access to lab space, equipment and collaborators.

Elsewhere, Andrew Sun highlights plagiarism in Chinese journals, Jim Caryl find gaps in source material, Kausik Datta disses impact factors and Ayusman Sen describes how being scooped is no less frustrating when the subject matter is chocolate.

Science Maps

Remember, we’re still looking to add to our series on scientific maps. In the past week, we added Boston to the collection, which now includes eight cities. If you’d like to take part, and map your own city, please email Matt Brown (i.am.mattbrown – at – gmail.com) for details, and read our guide to making maps.

Lindau Conference

You may recall that Nature recently provided coverage of the 2010 Lindau Conference, in which early career scientists get to freely mingle with Nobel Prize winners. The winners of a special competition, allowing anyone to suggest and vote for questions for the Nobel laureates, have now been announced after 15,000 votes on over 200 questions. Find out who won here. Answers to the questions will be published in a specially commissioned Nature Outlook supplement available in print and online from October 14th.

The Nature Video team also produce short films around the conference each year. The first two of these are now available to view and include an interview with Tim Hunt talking about systems biology and Jack Szostak on the handedness of life.

And Finally…

On Boston Blog, Tinker Ready gears up for the forthcoming Ig Nobel Awards, to be webcast live from Boston on 30 September. Here’s a preview:

And we think Viktor Poór deserves some kind of award for his improvised sciency cufflinks


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