It’s time for this week’s installment of Neurosciency Friday (inspired by NPR Science Friday!), in which I bring you science news and tidbits from around the web!
I spent most of last week at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, which was held in sunny San Diego, CA. Each year, the conference gathers over 30,000 researchers, clinicians, educators, and other brain enthusiasts to nerd it up for a few days, attending poster sessions, lectures, and other events. But anyway, here are a few findings that were presented at the conference:
– Neuroscience and the law. Nita Farahani of Duke University gave a lecture about neuroscience findings as they are currently used in the legal system. Although the legal applications of neuroscience findings remain fraught with ethical quandaries, the use of neuroscience evidence in courts, particularly in criminal cases, is on the rise. Read more about Farahani’s talk here or here.
– Science, it’s what’s for dinner. NPR’s John Hamilton tweeted from the conference: “NIH scientist helps high school kids dissect a squid’s giant axon, then cooks the squid for dinner. Yum.” (I apparently missed this. Bummer.)
– Gender bias in the sciences. Check out a summary of all the talks here. I didn’t attend many scientific talks this year, but I attended a panel discussion on gender bias in science which included studies from Muriel Niederle of Stanford University who described the results of her studies investigating gender differences in competitiveness. Niederle has been studying the choices of youth in the Netherlands, who, unlike American students, have to decide on a career track very early in their education. Although science/technology is the most prestigious career track, it is disproportionately chosen by males. Niederle wondered why this was the case, and her studies led to the characterization of a factor she calls “competitiveness” that is unrelated to risk-taking or academic ability that partially explains this gender difference. You can get all the details about her studies on Niederle’s blog.
– Dinosaur brains. Researchers at Duke university created a map of the T-rex brain. Well, actually, what the scientists did was map out alligator and bird brains, then merge them into the shape and proportions of a T-rex brain. So not exactly a T-rex brain, but it’s not like those are readily available these days. At least they tried…
Check out The Guardian for more coverage of Neuroscience 2013!
Have a great weekend!