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The Curious Wavefunction

The Curious Wavefunction


Musings on chemistry and the history and philosophy of science
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    Ashutosh Jogalekar Ashutosh (Ash) Jogalekar is a chemist interested in the history and philosophy of science. He considers science to be a seamless and all-encompassing part of the human experience. Follow on Twitter @curiouswavefn.
  • Drug costs and prices: Here we go again

    Gilead's hepatitis C drug sofosbuvir (Sovaldi)

    Misleading statements and conclusions regarding drug costs and prices are again being thrown around. It started with a post right here on Scientific American Blogs with the title “The Quest: $84,000 Miracle Cure Costs Less Than $150 to Make”. As the title indicates, the post is about a new hepatitis C drug called Sovaldi developed [...]

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    Y Combinator and biotech: The wave of the future?

    Marcus Wohlsen's book "Biopunk" details the efforts of dedicated garage biotech enthusiasts. Startup incubators like Y-Combinator could help bring their efforts to fruition (Image: Steve Zazeski)

    Y Combinator is the well-known startup incubator that picks promising computer technology startup ideas from a competition every year and seeds them with a few tens of thousands of dollars and dedicated space in Silicon Valley in return for an equity stake. It has been cited as one of the most successful startup accelerators around [...]

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    Neil DeGrasse Tyson makes an excellent point, but Larry Summers is still right

    A part of former Harvard president Larry Summers's speech continues to be misunderstood (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

      This is a guest post from my friend Chris Martin. Chris (chriscmartin.com) studied psychology and music at Davidson College, human-computer interaction at Georgia Tech, and psychology at the College of William and Mary. He is currently in a sociology doctoral program at Emory University, where he primarily conducts research on psychological well-being, but also [...]

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    It’s the end of fundamental physics. Again.

    After Isaac Newton's discoveries of the laws of gravitation and motion, nothing comparable came out of science for more than a hundred years (Image: Wikipedia)

    Fellow Scientific American blogger John Horgan is at it again. This time he is heralding the end of fundamental physics based on the increasing time lag between Nobel Prizes awarded for fundamental discoveries. There’s actually a grain of truth in his analysis; for instance the prizes awarded for quantum mechanics in rapid succession in the [...]

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    Diversifiers of the world – Unite!

    Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 11.42.44 AM

    On my computer screen right now are two molecules. They are both large rings with about thirty atoms each, a motley mix of carbons, hydrogens, oxygens and nitrogens. In addition they have appendages of three or four atoms dangling off their periphery. The appendage in one of the rings has two more carbon atoms than [...]

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    Physics envy: The last emotion you ever want to feel

    BICEP2 Twilight

    This is a guest post by my friend Pinkesh Patel, a data scientist at Facebook. Pinkesh has a PhD in physics from Caltech during which he worked on LIGO, the gravitational wave detector. He then did research in computational biology at Stanford after which he moved to Facebook. Pinkesh is thus ideally poised to think [...]

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    The House of Representatives Committee on Science is turning into a national embarrassment

    A few days back I wrote a post explaining why I am all for private support of basic science, especially in an age when government funding and support is flagging. My feelings were simply reinforced when I came across this news piece documenting the shameful behavior of Republican members of the House Committee on Science, [...]

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    Are We Entering a Golden Era of Private Science Funding?

    Paul Allen is just one example of billionaires who are productively funding cutting-edge and important science (Image: Forbes)

    Last week, the BICEP2 experiment dropped a bombshell in the physics world by announcing potential evidence for gravitational waves from inflation as well as support for the quantization of gravity. The news was all over the place. What was less appreciated was the fact that BICEP2 was prominently funded by the Keck Foundation and the [...]

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    Why the new NIH guidelines for psychiatric drug testing worry me

    Chlorpromazine revolutionized the treatment of psychiatric disorders in the 50s. Since then there has been no comparable revolution (Image: Wikipedia Commons)

    Psychiatric drugs have always been a black box. The complexity of the brain has meant that most successful drugs for treating disorders like depression, psychosis and bipolar disorder were discovered by accident and trial and error rather than rational design. There have also been few truly novel classes of these drugs discovered since the 70s [...]

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    Evidence of cosmological inflation reveals how much we don’t know

    John F Kennedy eternal flame, Arlington National Cemetery.

    I was immersed in the American Chemical Society’s national meeting in Dallas this week, which meant that I could not catch more than wisps of the thrilling announcement from cosmology on Monday that could potentially confirm the prediction of inflation. If this turns out to be right it would indeed be a landmark discovery. My [...]

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