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From Frankenstein to Hawking: Which is the Real Face of Science?


by Jonathan D. Moreno, Ph.D.

If Stephen Hawking knew that he was facing his last days he would surely have been amused that his death would come on Albert Einstein’s birthday and almost exactly two hundred years after the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As a matter of character and reputation the imaginary Victor and the richly real Stephen couldn’t have been more different, but together they represent our Janus-Headed modern view of science and scientists.

Hawking was the bright, shining face of creative genius and human intellectual flourishing, gifted with both an immense imagination and a startling, vulnerable humanity. …

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Global climate science group ponders effort to recruit more female authors Science

The world’s leading climate science body is expected to decide this week on whether to establish a new task force on promoting gender equity within the male-dominated group. The move comes on the heels of a study finding that although the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has increased the proportion of women involved in writing its authoritative reports, barriers to participation remain.

U.K. attack shines spotlight on deadly nerve agent developed by Soviet scientists Science

One of the world’s deadliest poisons has emerged from the shadows after the audacious attempt earlier this month to murder a former Russian spy on U.K. soil. Scientists are racing to unravel why the mysterious nerve agent, concocted by Soviet chemists in the 1970s, is so potent.

AI diagnostics need attention Nature

Many in the field complain that too many developers are not taking the studies far enough. They are not applying the evidence-based approaches that are established in mature fields, such as drug development. Many reports of new AI diagnostic tools, for example, go no further than preprints or claims on websites. They haven’t undergone peer review, and might never do so. That would verify key details: the underlying algorithm code, and analyses of, for example, the images on which the model is trained, the physicians with which it is compared, the features the neural network used to make decisions, and caveats.

AI researchers embrace Bitcoin technology to share medical data Nature

He and his colleagues are building a system that allows people to share their medical data with researchers easily and securely — and retain control over it. Their method, which is based on the blockchain technology that underlies the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, will soon be put to the test. By May, Hadley and his colleagues will launch a study to train their AI algorithm to detect cancer using mammograms that they hope to obtain from between three million and five million US women.