According to Emma Kowal of Harvard University, yawning evolved in our hunter-gatherer ancestors to be a highly efficient method of bug-consumption. Her argument is thoroughly and impressively researched, logically presented, undeniably captivating, and hilariously wrong.
Let's start with a quiz…
According to MIT graduate student Tomer Ullman, humanity's early ancestors harnessed the "natural adrenaline boost" brought on by the sound of wailing babies by strapping infants to their bodies and wearing them into battle.
When it comes to scientific or medical research, we like to believe the authors of a paper stand behind their work — but what if the actual authors aren't really listed?
A group of physicians and human rights activist claim that the United States government used shoddy and intentionally biased science in order to downgrade what was considered torture to "enhanced interrogation techniques."
British doctor Andrew Wakefield already lost his medical license over his faulty research linking vaccines and autism, but now a new report says his 1998 paper, published in the Lancet, was actually fraudulent.
Roland Emmerich's 2012 has the worst science in a science fiction film, according to NASA's experts — followed by Armageddon, Volcano, The Sixth Day and Chain Reaction. So what were the films with the best science, according to NASA?
Have you resolved this New Year to reveal your Theory of Everything to the scientific world, but aren't sure how to do it in a maximally off-putting and confusing way? In this week's "Ask a Physicist," we'll find out how.
Sorry to ruin your enjoyment of Mission to Mars—or, fine, Aliens and Star Wars—but it joins a host of sci-fi movies that just can't quite get their space science right. Here are the most common offenses and offenders.
In the following essay, Jennifer Ouellette explores what happens when otherwise normal science documentaries attempt to give their topics dramatic flourish...and fail hard.
Doctor Who shouldn't really be called science fiction, says author Terry Pratchett. It's "ludicrous and breaks most of the laws of narrative," he adds, in a tongue-in-cheek but fairly bracing critique. Guards! Guards?
Jeff Fahey and his random scummy colleague have just a few seconds to get to their underground bunker before the Earth's temperature reaches... Absolute Zero! Yes, the temperature is going to be colder than space. But they can outrun it!
Physicist Sidney Perkowitz has one simple request for scifi filmmakers: please break the laws of physics only once per movie. He insists this for Tinseltown's own good, as audiences' disbelief can be only be suspended so far.
The debate over bad science in science-fiction movies has gotten a major new source of ammunition: Phil Plait, writing for Discover Magazine, has rounded up a fairly definitive list of the best and worst moments in movie science.
On physics-gone-haywire show FlashForward, characters recently suggested that an accelerator in Palo Alto, CA might have caused a worldwide blackout that killed millions by conducting "proton-driven plasma-wakefield acceleration" experiments. Now scientists at the real accelerator in Palo Alto have responded.
CERN, home of the notorious Large Hadron Collider, threatened destruction (via anti-matter) in the recent movie Angels And Demons and (via ghosts) in a recent Torchwood radio play. But CERN is just one example of how science fiction demonizes science.
A bevy of terrible contraptions have been concocted lately for the benefit of our breasts. Here are a few of the more recent "WTF get the away from me" over-the-shoulder boulder-holder gadgets.
A Canadian college student majoring in chemistry built himself a home lab - and discovered that trying to do science in your own home quickly leads to accusations of drug-making and terrorism.
A prankster who submitted a computer-generated research paper to the International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering discovered that not only was his fake paper accepted - its "author" is to chair a panel.