Author Archives: Amanda Urke

Brain Balls: Effective Science Communication or Misinformed Hype?

Which is more likely to catch a reader’s attention: a pop science article referring to “human cortical spheroids” or “brain balls”? Each has its advantages, but also its drawbacks. Communication of science requires reader-friendly translation of jargon-filled, complex ideas, but it’s crucial that this is done accurately and without misinformed hype. For Stanford researcher Dr. Sergiu Pasca, this challenge is

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DNA Synthesis Going Viral: Evaluating the Security of Dual-Use Biotechnology

In 2004, the United States passed legislation that made hundreds of researchers around the country guilty of a crime with consequences of up to $2,000,000 fines and a prison sentence of 25 years to life. What was that crime? Working with vaccinia—a live virus vaccine that essentially eradicated smallpox by 1980 and became the most widely used human immunization. While

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The Science of Symphony

How music can restore dementia patients’ rhythm of life Cover photo presents members of The 5th Dementia; back row from left to right: Gene Sterling, Sam Mayo, Spencer Lemann, Walker Landgraf, Jacob Ehrlich; sitting: Carol and Irwin Rosenstein The experience of playing music is commonly equated to a “fully body workout for the brain,” engaging multiple areas of the brain

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