Must Know, Science Gist, Science thrills


Albert Einstein was one of the most brilliant scientist of all time, no doubt. But they are something “natural endowments” which I like to call it, that aided is genius.

In this post, I would give you 8 reasons why the pioneer of relativity- Albert Einstein was a natural genius:


1. He learned about what he wanted to learn and not what other authority’s like school wanted him to learn.

2. The parietal operculum region of his brain was missing. This let other parts of his brain like the parietal lobe grow larger.

3. Parts of his Sylvian fissure in his brain  were no where to be found. This could of enabled the neurons in that part of the brain to work better.

4. Einstein thought visually. Instead of thinking about information and words; he thought by visually imagining things.

5. His inferior parietal lobe was 15 percent wider than normal. This region of the brain is connected to mathematics.

6. He had more glial cells in his brain. Glial cells support nutrition in the brain and help with synthesizing information faster. That could be why he could think so powerfully.

7. He started building models and reading books about science, math, and philosophy at a young age.

8. He devoted much of his time to learning and thinking about new things.

Please do comments and state more reasons you know that made Albert Einstein a genius.


Great Findings, Must Know, Science Gist, Science thrills

NASA Launches Satellite to Study How Sun’s Atmosphere Is Energized

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft launched Thursday at 7:27 p.m. PDT (10:27 p.m. EDT) from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The mission to study the solar atmosphere was placed in orbit by an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket.

“We are thrilled to add IRIS to the suite of NASA missions studying the sun,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “IRIS will help scientists understand the mysterious and energetic interface between the surface and corona of the sun.”

IRIS is a NASA Explorer Mission to observe how solar material moves, gathers energy and heats up as it travels through a little-understood region in the sun’s lower atmosphere. This interface region between the sun’s photosphere and corona powers its dynamic million-degree atmosphere and drives the solar wind. The interface region also is where most of the sun’s ultraviolet emission is generated. These emissions impact the near-Earth space environment and Earth’s climate.

The Pegasus XL carrying IRIS was deployed from an Orbital L-1011 carrier aircraft over the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of 39,000 feet, off the central coast of California about 100 miles northwest of Vandenberg. The rocket placed IRIS into a sun-synchronous polar orbit that will allow it to make almost continuous solar observations during its two-year mission.

The L-1011 took off from Vandenberg at 6:30 p.m. PDT and flew to the drop point over the Pacific Ocean, where the aircraft released the Pegasus XL from beneath its belly. The first stage ignited five seconds later to carry IRIS into space. IRIS successfully separated from the third stage of the Pegasus rocket at 7:40 p.m. At 8:05 p.m., the IRIS team confirmed the spacecraft had successfully deployed its solar arrays, has power and has acquired the sun, indications that all systems are operating as expected.

“Congratulations to the entire team on the successful development and deployment of the IRIS mission,” said IRIS project manager Gary Kushner of the Lockheed Martin Solar and Atmospheric Laboratory in Palo Alto, Calif. “Now that IRIS is in orbit, we can begin our 30-day engineering checkout followed by a 30-day science checkout and calibration period.”

IRIS is expected to start science observations upon completion of its 60-day commissioning phase. During this phase the team will check image quality and perform calibrations and other tests to ensure a successful mission.

NASA’s Explorer Program at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., provides overall management of the IRIS mission. The principal investigator institution is Lockheed Martin Space Systems Advanced Technology Center. NASA’s Ames Research Center will perform ground commanding and flight operations and receive science data and spacecraft telemetry.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory designed the IRIS telescope. The Norwegian Space Centre and NASA’s Near Earth Network provide the ground stations using antennas at Svalbard, Norway; Fairbanks, Alaska; McMurdo, Antarctica; and Wallops Island, Va. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida is responsible for the launch service procurement, including managing the launch and countdown. Orbital Sciences Corporation provided the L-1011 aircraft and Pegasus XL launch system.

For more information about the IRIS mission, visit:



Great Findings, Must Know, Science Gist, Science thrills

Japan OKs world’s first iPS stemcell clinical trial Read more: Japan OKs world’s first iPS stemcell clinical trial – Latest – New Straits Times

English: A diagram illustrating the disctincti...

English: A diagram illustrating the disctinction between cancer stem cell targeted (above) and conventional (below) cancer therapies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Stem Cell Therapy (dog) - Thérapie par transpl...

Stem Cell Therapy (dog) – Thérapie par transplantation (chien) (Photo credit:



AMD (Photo credit: Majiscup – The Papercup & Sleeve)


English: Fat Stem Cells

English: Fat Stem Cells (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Stem cell division and differentiation

Stem cell division and differentiation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatm...

Diseases and conditions where stem cell treatment is promising or emerging. (See Wikipedia:Stem cell#Treatments). Bone marrow transplantation is, as of 2009, the only established use of stem cells. Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Stem Cell Week 2012

Stem Cell Week 2012 (Photo credit: UC Irvine)


Diagram of stem cell division and differentiat...

Diagram of stem cell division and differentiation. A – stem cell; B – progenitor cell; C – differentiated cell; 1 – symmetric stem cell division; 2 – asymmetric stem cell division; 3 – progenitor division; 4 – terminal differentiation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: Embryonic Stem Cells. (A) shows hESCs...

English: Embryonic Stem Cells. (A) shows hESCs. (B) shows neurons derived from hESCs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The same view with age-related macular degener...

The same view with age-related macular degeneration (B&W). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Image representing AMD as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase


clinical trials forum university of maryland b...

clinical trials forum university of maryland bio park techninical trials forum university of maryland bio park (Photo credit: MDGovpics)


Newspaper advertisements seeking patients and ...

Newspaper advertisements seeking patients and healthy volunteers to participate in clinical trials. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Mouse embryonic stem cells. More lab photos

Mouse embryonic stem cells. More lab photos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


English: This table summarizes the key strateg...

English: This table summarizes the key strategies and techniques used to develop iPS cells over the past half-decade. Rows of similar colors represents studies that used similar strategies for reprogramming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


organ regeneration example from induced plurip...

organ regeneration example from induced pluripotent stem cells(iPS cell) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


clinical trial capsules

clinical trial capsules (Photo credit: Esthr)


Clinical trials 05

Clinical trials 05 (Photo credit: Sanofi Pasteur)


A scheme of the generation of induced pluripot...

A scheme of the generation of induced pluripotent stern (iPS) cells. (1)Isolate and culture donor cells. (2)Transfect stern cell-associated genes into the cells by viral vectors. Red cells indicate the cells expressing the exogenous genes. (3)Harvest and culture the cells according to ES cell culture, using mitotically inactivated feeder cells (lightgray). (4)A small subset of the transfected cells become iPS cells and generate ES-like colonies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


TOKYO: Japan has given the green light to the world’s first clinical trial using stem cells harvested from a patient’s own body, officials said Thursday, testing a treatment that may offer hope to millions of people robbed of their sight.


A government committee approved proposals for tests aimed at treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common medical condition that causes blindness in older people, using “induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells”, a health ministry official said.


The trial treatment will try to create retinal cells that can be transplanted into the eyes of patients suffering from AMD, replacing the damaged part of the eye.


AMD, a condition that is incurable at present, affects mostly middle-aged and older people and can lead to blindness. It afflicts around 700,000 people in Japan alone.


Stem cell research is a pioneering field that has excited many in the scientific community with the potential they believe it offers.


A China-based research group on Wednesday said they were hoping for regulatory approval to test stemcell therapy on spinal cord injuries they believe can help immobile people walk again.


Stem cells are infant cells that can develop into any part of the body.


Until the discovery of iPS cells several years ago, the only way to obtain stem cells was to harvest them from human embryos.


This is controversial because it requires the destruction of the embryo, a process to which religious conservatives, among others, object.


Groundbreaking work done in 2006 by Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University, a Nobel Laureate in medicine last year, succeeded in generating stem cells from adult skin tissue.


Like embryonic stem cells, iPS cells are also capable of developing into any cell in the body, but crucially their source material is readily available.


Following the government approval, the Riken Center for Developmental Biology will start the world’s first clinical trial using iPS cells as soon as next summer, a Riken spokesman said.


Riken will recruit six patients suffering from AMD, all aged at least 50 years, and take cells from their skin.


These cells will be genetically reprogrammed to become iPS cells. The infant cells will then be nudged in the direction of developing into retina cells.


Once a network of retina cells has been developed — a process that could take around 10 months — this can be transplanted into the patient’s eye, the spokesman said.


Patients will be monitored over the next four years to determine how well the implants have performed, whether the body has accepted them and if they have become cancerous.


“Because no one in the world has used iPS cells in a clinical trial, what we are doing will set the standard,” research leader Masayo Takahashi told the Mainichi, a daily paper.


“It’s a daunting prospect, but one that brings joy.” She said she expects that patients in the initial trial will see only a very modest improvement in their sight.


“We don’t want people to have excessive expectations,” she said.


Kanji Takahashi, chief ophthalmologist at Kansai Medical University Hirokata hospital, told AFP the trial was a positive step, but not a done deal.


He said current treatment regimes include monthly drug injections directly into the eyes of AMD sufferers, at a cost of 150,000-170,000 yen ($1,500-$1,700) per injection.


“Improving the eyesight of AMD patients is a difficult task, and what’s important is whether transplanting cells improves vision,” he said.


“The trial is a hope for AMD patients, but it will probably take years before the new treatment will actually contribute to improving the vision of  many people.” — AFP




Read more: Japan OKs world’s first iPS stemcell clinical trial – Latest – New Straits Times








Science Gist, Science thrills, World News

Science survives latest UK spending round

Setting out a spending plan for 2015-16, the UK’s Chancellor George Osborne described investment in science as ‘an investment for the future.’ Osborne announced that the science budget will remain frozen at £4.6 billion in cash terms (a real terms cut) while the capital budget for science will be increased in real terms to £1.1 billion, and then maintained at that level ‘until the end of the decade.’

In total, the Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) which funds scientific research and higher education in the UK, received a 6% cut in resource funding but a 15% increase in capital funding. As well as maintaining resource funding for science BIS will also increase resource funding for the technology strategy board by £185 million. The savings to allow for this increase in funding will come from cuts in further and higher education funding, student maintenance and further departmental efficiencies. For example, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will be asked to save at least £45 million by ‘reprioritising’ teaching grants.

As other departments were subject to larger cuts, the news was greeted with mixed feelings by the scientific community. ‘The Chancellor was right when he said investment in science is investment in our future,’ says the Royal Society of Chemistry’s President, Professor Lesley Yellowlees. ‘Britain’s world-leading science is central to creating growth and jobs… but we need to see more comprehensive forward-thinking if we really want Britain to stay ahead in the global economic race. Over past decades our government’s investment in research and development has slid towards the bottom of the international rankings – out of our G8 competitors, only Italy spends less as a proportion of GDP.’

‘This is a real terms cut, make no mistake about that,’ says Jenny Rohn, chair of campaign group Science is Vital. While Rohn admits that compared to the cuts other government departments have suffered, BIS has fared less badly, she says the group is disappointed. Earlier this month, Science is Vital, presented a report on the legacy of the 2010 comprehensive spending review, which showed how the ring-fence had affected researchers and called for a reversal in the current decline in funding to avoid seriously damaging the UK’s research base. As inflation further reduces the research budget of researchers, she adds ‘who’s going to run the machines the capital injection buys?’

As this is an interim funding plan up to and beyond the next general election, scheduled for the 7 May 2015, Rohn says her focus now is on continuing to pressure all three main parties to commit to science rather than perpetuating a budget she views harmful. ‘There is a theoretical limit beyond which we won’t be able to recover,’ she concludes. ‘I don’t know how close to that line we are now.’




Great Findings, Must Know, Science Gist, Science thrills

Hawaiian Telescope Discovers Ten Thousandth Near-Earth Object

English: Asteroid Toutatis from Paranal

English: Asteroid Toutatis from Paranal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Timelapse of Asteroid 2004 FH's flyby (NASA/JP...

Timelapse of Asteroid 2004 FH’s flyby (NASA/JPL Public Domain) 2004 FH is the centre dot being followed by the sequence; the object that flashes by near the end is an artificial satellite. Images obtained by Stefano Sposetti, Switzerland on March 18, 2004. Animation made Raoul Behrend, Geneva Observatory, Switzerland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



NASA said the 10,000th near-Earth object (NEO) has been discovered using the Pan-STARRS-1 telescope in Hawaii.


Astronomers spotted asteroid 2013 MZ5 on the night of June 18, marking a significant milestone for the NEO search. The space agency said 90 percent of all NEOs discovered were first detected by NASA-supported surveys.


“But there are at least 10 times that many more to be found before we can be assured we will have found any and all that could impact and do significant harm to the citizens of Earth,” said Lindley Johnson, program executive for NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington.


In order to be classified as an NEO, a comet or asteroid must approach Earth at an orbital distance to within about 28 million miles. They range in size from as small as a few feet to as large as 25 miles for the largest NEO. Asteroid 2013 MZ5 is about 1,000 feet across and will never be close enough to Earth to be considered potentially hazardous.


“The first near-Earth object was discovered in 1898,” said Don Yeomans, long-time manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. “Over the next hundred years, only about 500 had been found. But then, with the advent of NASA’s NEO Observations program in 1998, we’ve been racking them up ever since. And with new, more capable systems coming on line, we are learning even more about where the NEOs are currently in our solar system, and where they will be in the future.”


About 10 percent of the 10,000 NEOs discovered are larger than six-tenths of a mile, which is roughly the size that could produce global consequences if one struck Earth. However, NASA says its program has found that none of these larger NEOs currently pose an impact threat.


NASA said scientists predict there to be about 15,000 NEOs that are one-and-a-half football fields in size, or 480 feet. There could be more than a million NEOs that are about one-third of a football field in size. An NEO hitting Earth would need to be about 100 feet or larger in order to cause significant damage in a populated area. The space agency said less than one percent of the 100-foot-sized NEOs have been detected.


“These days we average three NEO discoveries a day, and each month the Minor Planet Center receives hundreds of thousands of observations on asteroids, including those in the main-belt,” said Tim Spahr, director of the Minor Planet Center. “The work done by the NASA surveys, and the other international professional and amateur astronomers, to discover and track NEOs is really remarkable.”


Earlier this month, NASA announced a grand challenge focused on finding all asteroid threats to human populations. This “Great Challenge” asks citizen scientists, along with industry professionals, to focus on detecting and characterizing asteroids and learn how to deal with potential threats.


“We will also harness public engagement, open innovation and citizen science to help solve this global problem,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver.


The space agency also invited industry and potential partners to offer up some ideas on accomplishing NASA’s goals to locate, redirect and explore an asteroid.




Great Findings, Must Know, Science Gist, Science thrills, Show me whats new

Three Habitable Super-Earths Discovered In Multi-Planetary Star System

Astronomers have discovered a record-breaking planetary system with at least six planets orbiting its host star.

New observations of Gliese 667C show for the first time that three of these six new planet candidates are super-Earths. In order for a planet to qualify as a super-Earth, it must exist within the “habitable zone,” which is the zone around the star where liquid water could exist, making it a possible candidate to host life.

Gliese 667C is just one-third the mass of the Sun and is part of a star system known as Gliese 667. The star sits 22 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Scorpius. Astronomers have seen before that Gliese 667C hosted three planets, with one of them in the habitable zone, but the latest observation shows the count is much higher than that.

If you were to stand on the surface of one of these newly found planets, two other suns would look like a pair of very bright stars visible in the daytime. At night, the nearby stars are so close they would be providing as much illumination as the full moon.

This new discovery means the habitable zone around Gliese 667C is completely full, leaving no more room for another planet to exist.

“We knew that the star had three planets from previous studies, so we wanted to see whether there were any more,” says Mikko Tuomi of the University of Hertfordshire, UK. “By adding some new observations and revisiting existing data we were able to confirm these three and confidently reveal several more. Finding three low-mass planets in the star’s habitable zone is very exciting!”

Super-Earths, as opposed to Earth-like, are planets that are more massive than Earth but still in the habitable zone.

“The number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy is much greater if we can expect to find several of them around each low-mass star — instead of looking at ten stars to look for a single potentially habitable planet, we now know we can look at just one star and find several of them,” said Rory Barnes from the University of Washington and co-author of the study published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

The habitable zone around Gliese 667C sits entirely within an orbit the size of Mercury’s. In our system Mercury is incredibly hot, thus unable to host liquid water. However, Gliese 667C is smaller than our star, so the orbit for the habitable zone can sit closer in. Gliese 667C is the first example of a system where such a low-mass star can host several potentially rocky planets.

“This exciting result was largely made possible by the power of HARPS and its associated software and it also underlines the value of the ESO archive,” said the European Space Observatory (ESO) scientist responsible for HARPS, Gaspare Lo Curto. “It is very good to also see several independent research groups exploiting this unique instrument and achieving the ultimate precision.”



biographies, Must Know, Science Gist, Science thrills

Leonardo da Vinci Biography

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) is one the world’s greatest thinkers, artists and philosophers. In several different fields, from science to astronomy, he proved to be both innovative and several centuries ahead of his contemporaries. He is considered to be a key person in the birth of the European renaissance period, which saw a flowering of new ideas, scientific discoveries and creation of beautiful art.

Short Biography of Leonardo da Vinci


Leonardo was born as illegitimate son of a Florentine noble and peasant woman Leonardo grew up in Vinci, Italy. In his formative years he developed a love of nature and from an early age displayed his remarkable talents and capacities.

In 1466 he moved to Florence where he entered the workshop of Verrocchio. His early style reflected his teacher, but he soon developed an artistic sense which went far beyond his teachers rigid style. His first work of great significance was the “Adoration of the Magi” commissioned by monks of San Donato a Scopeto. Although unfinished, the work was a masterpiece and introduced several new ideas. In particular he introduced the themes of movement and drama. He also pioneered the use of Chiaroscuro. This is the technique of defining forms through the contrast of light and shadow. This would be later used to great effect in the Mona Lisa.

In 1482 Leonardo went to the court of Ludovico Sforza for 16 years in Milan. Here he continued painting and also branched out into other interest such as engineering and anatomy.  During this period he painted the famous “Madonna on the Rocks” and also “the Last Supper” This has been described as one of the greatest spiritual paintings. With Christ at the centre of the picture it embodies great feeling and action as Christ is about to announce his imminent betrayal. Unfortunately over the time the quality of the original painting has deteriorated despite frequent restoration attempts.

Leonardo Da Vinci and Mona Lisa


In 1499 his patron L. Sfoza was defeated by the French invasion, thus Leonardo, after a time, returned to Florence. During this period he painted the fresco of the battle of Anghiari. This artwork was to exert tremendous influence over future artists. However it was unfortunately never completed and was later destroyed. It was also in this period that Leonardo completed The Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa is one of the worlds most famous and intriguing pictures. The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a wife of a Florentine noble. For several days she came to Leonardo and sat for her portrait to be painted. However she refused to smile, Leonardo even tried hiring musicians but to no avail. One day just for a fleeting second she gave a faint smile and Leonardo was able to capture it. Her smile encapsulates a tremendous mysteriousness which is both fascinating and intriguing. Sri Chinmoy said of the Mona Lisa.

That smile has immortalized her, immortalized the artist and immortalized the art. Artist and art have been immortalized by just a faint smile, a smile that has an enigmatic touch. Even now a soul-touch is there, and that soul-touch has conquered the heart of the world.” (1)


In this picture Leonardo masters the techniques of sfumato and chiaroscuro. Sfumato involves the most gradual switch from colour to the other giving a very delicate and expressive images. Chiaroscuro as mentioned before highlights the contrasts light and shadow. In the Mona Lisa this is most evident in the contrast between face and dark background.

In this period Leonardo extended his studies into engineering, science and other subjects. There seemed to be no end to his interest. He made copious notes in his complex mirror handwriting. A lot of which wasn’t deciphered in his lifetime. He also drew complex models of machines, in particular he was fascinated by flight. He used to buy birds just so that he could release them so he could enjoy watching them fly away. He also attempted to build a flying object himself. Machines that he drew on paper, such as helicopters, would become a reality many centuries later. If his medicinal studies had been published, it would have revolutionised the science, as he was one of the first to understand the circulation of blood within the body. There seemed to be no limit in the scope of his interest and work.

Between 1506-1510 Leonardo spent time in Milan working on behalf of the very generous French King Lois XII. In 1513 he travelled to Rome where he enjoyed the patronage of the new Medici pope, Leo X. Here he worked with contemporaries such as the great Masters Michelangelo and Raphael. In 1515 he left to settle at the castle of Cloux, near Amboise by the kind invitation of Francis I of France. Here he spent his last years free to pursue his own studies. He died in 1519 leaving behind one of the greatest body of artistic and scientific works.