There's often a science angle to news events, whether it's the claim that North Korea exploded an H-bomb or a new set of nutritional guidelines from the USDA. It's less often true for pop-culture events, but the past few days have been an exception. Here are a few examples:
1. David Bowie died in New York City on January 10 of complications from cancer. He was 69 years old. Two days before he died he released his last album.
Some of Bowie's songs provided the sound track for many a young scientist, including the 1969 Space Oddity, chronicling the lost-in-space journey of a fictional astronaut, Major Tom. Many of his songs dealt with space. He was also known for exploring sexual identity.
2. Somewhat unsurprisingly, The Martian collected two Golden Globe awards last night: best picture and best actor for its star, Matt Damon. Somewhat surprisingly, the film was categorized not as a drama but as a comedy or musical. The director, Ridley Scott, pointed out that both his film and Star Wars had “majestic success. It’s inspiring. You gotta stay hungry and keep your eyes on the ball.”
3. El Chapo, the Mexican drug lord who escaped twice from Mexican prisons, was caught unharmed with his wife and young daughters. How? Using science, naturally. His captors used infrared detectors to determine that they were sleeping bodies, providing the element of the surprise.