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Related ArticlesSkip carousel
- May 26 20161 minute
Spark of Science: Robbert Dijkgraaf: The director of the Institute for Advanced Study on the wonders of his childhood attic.
Robbert Dijkgraaf will sometimes let himself drift back to his childhood attic in the Netherlands. It was there that he did some of his first physics experiments, playing with discarded binocular optics that his father kept stacked in boxes. As he ha
- May 30 20131 minute
Graphing Human Uniqueness
Throughout this issue, we’ve explored the question of whether humans are unique, and if so, in what ways. In one interactive piece, “The Vocabulary of Our Uniqueness,” we asked readers which words best described what makes us special. And here are th
- Feb 1 20151 minute
Do You Have Entrepreneurial DNA?
The Founder Institute, a startup training and launch program, has developed a test to identify entrepreneurial personality traits. Take the abbreviated quiz below for a quick evaluation of your entrepreneurial prowess. PART 1: Each puzzle has three r
- Nov 28 201310 minutes
Not Merely the Finest TV Documentary Series Ever Made: A reflection on Jacob Bronowski’s “The Ascent of Man.”
A range of dark hilltops appears against a dawn sky. On a ridge in the far distance we can discern a human silhouette. It is someone telling us about the uniqueness of Man. “Man …” says the tiny figure in the landscape, “is not a figure in the landsc
- Jun 6 20132 minutes
The End of Human Uniqueness, and a New Beginning
Today Nautilus launched its second issue, “Uncertainty: A new look at an indeterminate world.” For now we’ve just opened up the first chapter, “Uncertainty in Nature,” with looks at how uncertainty is embedded in math, particles of matter, our genome
- Mar 1 20132 minutes
Finding the Right Hire for Your Company
How do you make sure new hires will mesh well with your other employees and with your company's culture?
- Jun 1 20153 minutes
How and When to Give Advice (Hint: It's Not as Simple as You Think)
The first step in giving advice is: Do not give advice. Listen instead. The advice-seeker must establish: 1. The problem and why it’s important. 2. Possible solutions. (The seeker needs to have done at least as much work as he’s asking you to do.) 3.
- Feb 9 201712 minutes
Does Depression Have an Evolutionary Purpose?: Some psychologists believe suicide and depression can be strategic.
I had a tough time in high school. Like many other young adolescents, I saw myself as fundamentally flawed, and felt a searing isolation. Nothing I looked forward to brought any hope. I stopped getting out of bed. I cut myself. I drafted a suicide no
- Dec 1 20161 minute
The Facebook Founder in His Own Words
Zuckerberg often muses on management. Here, a selection of quotes from public Q&As posted on Facebook.
- Jun 1 20164 minutes
A Head of STEAM
Regular readers of this column may recall that my father was a scientist at Bell Telephone Laboratories. Beginning his work in the 1950s, when computers were the size of classrooms and programming was something that was done by executives at one of t
- Feb 1 20132 minutes
Why Being a Workaholic Is Counterproductive
Sometimes self-destructive workaholic behavior can get so out of hand there's only one recourse left: an office intervention. Enter Leslie Perlow, a Harvard Business School professor of leadership armed with an eagle eye for counterproductive work st
- Feb 5 201513 minutes
The Man Who Tried to Redeem the World with Logic: Walter Pitts rose from the streets to MIT, but couldn’t escape himself.
I walk into Starbucks in Achrafieh, Beirut and feel all eyes on me. I tug at my top self-consciously, probably making things worse, and wonder a) do I look like an easy Westerner; b) do I look like a ragamuffin (in comparison to the groomed Lebanese)
- Feb 1 20172 minutes
Why We Buy Items We Never Wear
IF THIS IS THE YEAR you vow to finally tame your stuff, you’re not alone. According to Statistic Brain, “getting organized” is the second most popular New Year’s resolution (losing weight is No. 1). So you dig into your closet or rummage under the be
- Mar 6 20173 minutes
How to Create More From What You Already Have
ASK MOST PEOPLE TO DESCRIBE THE path to success and their answer will likely call for “more”—more money to buy things, more time to do things and more knowledge to inform things. There’s an intuitive appeal to this argument. In terms of success, more
- May 5 20153 minutes
How Enormous Dominoes Can Help You Rethink Saving for Retirement
It’s a clear warm day in early August, and the Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert is lucky it isn’t windy. Towering right behind him stands a 30-foot tall domino. It’s 15 feet wide, four feet long, and weighs two tons. Gilbert, who is bald and has a th
- Mar 25 20174 minutes
Escaping Office Ennui Through Painful Exercise
A study explores how Tough Mudders allow the “cognitariat” a break from the tedium of sedentary work
- May 14 201512 minutes
The Trouble With Scientists: How one psychologist is tackling human biases in science.
Sometimes it seems surprising that science functions at all. In 2005, medical science was shaken by a paper with the provocative title “Why most published research findings are false.”1 Written by John Ioannidis, a professor of medicine at Stanford U
- Apr 21 201612 minutes
Why Physics Is Not a Discipline: Physics is not just what happens in the Department of Physics.
Have you heard the one about the biologist, the physicist, and the mathematician? They’re all sitting in a cafe watching people come and go from a house across the street. Two people enter, and then some time later, three emerge. The physicist says,
- Oct 10 20165 minutes
Framing the World in Terms of “Left” and “Right” Is Stranger Than You Think
Sometimes it’s the simplest studies that reveal how deeply culture shapes our thinking. Take a 2009 experiment involving only a researcher, a child, and a two-word instruction.1 The researcher announces, “Let’s dance!” and demonstrates a series of mo
- May 5 201611 minutes
Yes, Life in the Fast Lane Kills You: New insights into mitochondria reveal how life expends energy.
Nick Lane is an evolutionary biochemist at University College London who thinks about the big questions of life: how it began, how it is maintained, why we age and die, and why we have sex. Shunning the habit of our times to regard these as questions
- Jan 21 201610 minutes
The Problem with Nature Therapy: The medicalization of nature turns a relationship into a dose.
In a popular online video, Nature Rx, a depthless-eyed, rakishly bearded man prescribes nature as the drug of choice for your stress, cynicism, narcissism, and other “crippling symptoms of modern life.” There are scenes of campfires, mist-covered lak
- Jul 15 20132 minutes
Why People Love to Get Lost in Books
In the huge range of different human cultural inclinations, one of the most widespread is a fondness for stories. We just love to get lost in a good book or movie. When we do, we tend to ignore where we are and become completely absorbed in the story
- Oct 27 201615 minutes
The Strange Inevitability of Evolution: Good solutions to biology’s problems are astonishingly plentiful.
Is the natural world creative? Just take a look around it. Look at the brilliant plumage of tropical birds, the diverse pattern and shape of leaves, the cunning stratagems of microbes, the dazzling profusion of climbing, crawling, flying, swimming th
- Aug 16 20132 minutes
Why Everyone Thinks They're Safer Than Average
It’s an odd quirk of the human mind that we tend to think we’re less likely to be affected a particular threat—be it the flu, a car accident, or a flood—than anyone else. Like the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above avera
- Nov 28 20161 minute
Think you can make it as a pro gamer? Great! Just have the nerves of an Olympic sharpshooter and reflexes 40 percent faster than the world’s quickest draw. A Sport Science investigation.
- Mar 17 20172 minutes
'Pokémon Go' Special Items: Your Buddy Pokémon Might Determine Which Evolution Items Drop
Could your buddy Pokémon in 'Pokémon Go' affect special item drop rates? Some players think so.
- Apr 22 20171 minute
PHOTOS: Scientists Take To Washington To Stress A Nonpartisan Agenda
The science community feels threatened under the current administration. Researchers, educators and activists took to the nation's capital to say that cuts to scientific funding affect us all.
- Apr 4 20164 minutes
This Man Is Genetically Altering Ecosystems to Save Them from Climate Change
On a chilly afternoon last October, at a University of Northern Arizona conference, Thomas Whitham, a plant geneticist, proposed a plan to save hundreds of species from extinction. For the last several years, Whitham said, he and his colleagues had u