Edward-Joseph-Lofgren-scientist image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

A pioneering physicist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who helped build a key tool for studying the universe and played a role in the project that created the first atomic bomb has died, a lab official said Thursday.

Edward Joseph Lofgren led the development, construction and operation of the Bevatron, an early particle accelerator at the lab. A giant machine that smashes atoms, it was used to find the antiproton, a discovery which led to a Nobel Prize. This research helped scientists study how today’s universe was created and grew.

Lofgren also was involved in the Manhattan project, the federal government’s successful effort to build an atomic bomb.

Lofgren died in Oakland, California, on Sept. 6, lab spokesman Glenn Roberts Jr. said. He was 102.

Before his retirement in 1979, he also served as associate laboratory director, and he was the first director of the newly formed accelerator division.

Born Jan. 18, 1914, and the youngest of seven in a family of Swedish immigrants, he moved to Los Angeles at age 13 and finished high school. He later enrolled at UC Berkeley, arriving by bus with two suitcases and $200. He had read about and become increasingly interested in its Radiation Laboratory and the cyclotron developments there.

He earned an undergraduate degree in 1938 and then enrolled as a graduate student. In 1940 he joined the Radiation Laboratory’s staff as a research assistant. One of his duties was assisting in the development of techniques for medical isotope production.

Lofgren left his graduate studies to become a full-time employee of the Radiation Lab and led development of the ion sources for the Calutron. He spent much of the early war years in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, assisting in the development of the Calutron farm there to enrich uranium-235 for the Manhattan Project, which built the first atomic bomb, according to friend and former colleague Jose Alonso.

Lofgren moved in fall 1944 to Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he joined a group working on detonators for the atomic bomb, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory website says. He eventually became the group’s leader, the website says. Lofgren was at the Trinity atomic bomb test in New Mexico, manning a radiation-monitoring station six miles from ground zero, according to the website.

He earned his doctorate from UC Berkeley in June 1946.

Alonso, who worked for Lofgren for five years, but knew him for more than 40 years, said that even a week before his death his innate interest in the world hadn’t faltered. Alonso recalled how Lofgren was explaining how San Francisco fog was generated and why it was there.

“He was always wanting to teach,” Alonso said.

His daughter, Claire Lofgren, agreed. “As kids, he had a big love of the natural world and throughout his adult life he was a supporter of (the environment) and he would take us to all these wild places,” she said.

He would explain the phases of the moon to his children among other things, she recalled. She said she once asked him what led him to become a physicist. He explained to her that as a child of 5 or 6 he was laying under a tree watching the branches blow.

“He was watching the tree move and wondering if the tree was making the wind or the wind was making the tree move,” she said. “Those types of questions never left him.”

He is preceded in death by Lenore Lofgren, his first wife and the mother of his three children; and Selma Lofgren, his second wife. Lofgren is survived by his three daughters: Helen Lofgren, Laurel Phillipson and Claire Lofgren; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.


Henry Sapiecha

From the rare scribblings of Alan Turing through to the genius of Newton, Einstein and Madame Curie, we continue to navigate our way through the fascinating list of the 50 most valuable scientific documents of all-time.

This is a representation of what is to come in the series of the 50 very important scientific documents.

Next postings will be detailing what the docs are.So watch for them here.

Collectibles Feature

The most valuable scientific documents of all-time #20-11

Collectibles Feature

The most valuable scientific documents of all-time #30-21

The most valuable scientific documents of all-time numbers #40-31
Collectibles Feature

The most valuable scientific documents of all-time #40-31

An analysis of the world's most valuable scientific documents and manuscripts, and it illustrates both how ...
Collectibles Feature

The most valuable scientific documents of all-time #50-41

An analysis of the world's most valuable scientific documents and manuscripts, and it illustrates both how ...
Collectibles Feature

The world’s most valuable scientific books and manuscripts – an overview of the marketplace


Henry Sapiecha

Senior geneticists and bio-ethicists have agreed with the US spy chief’s claim that genetic engineering could be a serious threat if put to nefarious ends

Gene editing has been made possible by rapid advances in technology-image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Gene editing has been made possible by rapid advances in technology.

A senior geneticist and a bioethicist warned on Friday that they fear “rogue scientists” operating outside the bounds of law, and agreed with a US intelligence chief’s assertion this week that gene editing technology could have huge, and potentially dangerous, consequences.
Top biologists debate ban on gene-editing
Read more

“I’m very, very concerned about this whole notion of there being rogue clinics doing these things,” geneticist Robin Lovell-Badge told reporters at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Washington DC, referring to the unregulated work of gene scientists. “It really scares me, it’s bad for the field.”

Recent advances in genetics allow scientists to edit DNA quickly and accurately, making research into diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and cancer, easier than ever before. But researchers increasingly caution that they have to work with extreme care, for fear that gene editing could be deployed as bioterrorism or, in a more likely scenario, result in an accident that could make humans more susceptible to diseases rather than less.

Earlier this week the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, testified before the Senate as part of his worldwide threat assessment report that he considers gene editing one of the six potential weapons of mass destruction that are major threats facing the country, alongside the nuclear prospects of Iran, North Korea and China.

Bioethicist Francoise Baylis, who also spoke at AAAS and who took part in the international summit that debated gene editing last year, said the technology behind gene editing could be dangerous on a global or individual level.

“I think bioterrorism is a reality, and a risk factor we need to take into consideration,” she said. “It’s like any dual-use technology that can be used for good or evil.”

The Dalhousie University professor compared the advances in technology, particularly a tool called Crispr-Cas9, to a hammer in the hands of good and bad actors alike. “It can be the murder weapon, it can be the gavel the judge uses,” she said. “So I don’t know that there’s any way to sort of control that.”

Since its discovery, Crispr-Cas9 has revolutionized gene editing by helping scientists target certain genes with an unprecedented degree of speed and accuracy. The bacteria-originated tool has sparked a patent war among a handful of scientists, and a new industry worth billions.

In the US, members of the intelligence community agreed that gene editing represents a largely open field. Clapper’s report to the Senate cited the easy access, rapid development and weak regulation abroad in its argument that the “deliberate or unintentional misuse” of gene editing technology “might lead to far-reaching economic and national security implications”.

Daniel Gerstein, a former under-secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, said: “It’s interesting that we have something that is clearly a technology that was designed for legitimate biotechnology research which has been associated in this way with weapons of mass destruction.”

But the prospects are simultaneously magnificent and alarming, said Columbia University bioethicist Robert Klitzman, who was happy to see gene editing on the list.

“I think that this is a very powerful technology,” Klitzman said. “I think as a result that there are things that need to be done that have not yet been talked about.”

Research and technology is growing so fast that it is easy to imagine Crispr used for nefarious ends – or as the enabler of a catastrophic accident, said Klitzman.

“The infectious agent responsible for bubonic plague, if altered through Crispr,” he said, “could potentially be used as a WMD. Currently, we have effective treatment against it. But if it were altered, it could potentially become resistant to these treatments and thus be deadly.”

Setting standards on who can buy the technology and using discretion when publishing scientific research could be key, he said. “Just like guns, you need some kind of security check.”

But regulating gene editing would be like trying to govern how people use fire, said Michael Wiles, a senior director at the Jackson Lab in Maine, a leader in growing genetically modified mice for research.

“Every technology has two edges,” Wiles said. “It’s a disturbing but real concept with humans … you can’t control it.”

While intentional abuse of gene editing is ringing alarm bells, some at AAAS were more wary of accidental adverse consequences from reckless gene editing. Lovell-Badge said he particularly fears the kind of work that might go on in labs or fertility clinics where work on human embryos is performed carelessly and without oversight. Such labs, he said, have “popped up in many countries, including the US”, with “no real basis in science or fact, and may be dangerous in some cases”.

Some of these labs might alter particular genes to create so-called “designer babies”, with tailored features that range from height and eye color to disease immunity. But turning a given gene on or off could also affect the genes around it. For example, giving a baby immunity to one disease could mean it’s now vulnerable to other diseases or infections.

Baylis maintained that genetic enhancements of humans are inevitable, even if she could not say what they will be. But she said that unregulated modifications could exacerbate inequality and create “a new eugenics, a different kind of eugenics”.

Other scientists disagreed – on both sides of the debate. Sarah Chan, a University of Edinburgh bioethicist, said fears of inequality are “definitely overblown”, and that “designer babies” are not inevitable. She added that technology that could make diseases more infectious and dangerous has existed for decades, as have the questions around it.

“Some of the fears and concerns surrounding genome editing technology are, if not overblown, perhaps misdirected.”

Taking the contrary opinion, geneticist Robert Winston said: “Regulation cannot prevent this from happening either in the UK eventually or much more likely elsewhere.

“With the power of the market and the open information published in journals,” Winston said, “I am sure that humans will want to try to ‘enhance’ their children and will be prepared to pay large sums to do so.”


Henry Sapiecha


migrant scientist image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

From 2003 to 2013, the number of scientists and engineers residing in the United States rose from 21.6 million to 29 million. This 10-year increase included significant growth in the number of immigrant scientists and engineers, from 3.4 million to 5.2 million.

Immigrants went from making up 16 percent of the science and engineering workforce to 18 percent, according to a report from the National Science Foundation’s National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). In 2013, the latest year for which numbers are available, 63 percent of U.S. immigrant scientists and engineers were naturalized citizens, while 22 percent were permanent residents and 15 percent were temporary visa holders.

Of the immigrant scientists and engineers in the United States in 2013:

  • 57 percent were born in Asia.
  • 20 percent were born in North America (excluding the United States), Central America, the Caribbean, or South America.
  • 16 percent were born in Europe.
  • 6 percent were born in Africa.
  • And less than 1 percent were born in Oceania.

Among Asian countries, India continued its trend of being the top country of birth for immigrant scientists and engineers, with 950,000 out of Asia’s total 2.96 million. India’s 2013 figure represented an 85 percent increase from 2003.

Also since 2003, the number of scientists and engineers from the Philippines increased 53 percent and the number from China, including Hong Kong and Macau, increased 34 percent.

The NCSES report found that immigrant scientists and engineers were more likely to have earned post-baccalaureate degrees than their U.S.-born counterparts. In 2013, 32 percent of immigrant scientists reported their highest degree was a master’s (compared to 29 percent of U.S.-born counterparts) and 9 percent reported it was a doctorate (compared to 4 percent of U.S.-born counterparts). The most common fields of study for immigrant scientist and engineers in 2013 were engineering, computer and mathematical sciences and social and related sciences.

Over 80 percent of immigrant scientists and engineers were employed in 2013, the same percentage as their U.S.-born counterparts. Among the immigrants in the science and engineering workforce, the largest share (18 percent) worked in computer and mathematical sciences, while the second-largest share (8 percent) worked in engineering. Three occupations — life scientist, computer and mathematics scientist and social and related scientist — saw substantial immigrant employment growth from 2003 to 2013.


Henry Sapiecha

Albert-Einstein-at blackboard image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Rumors are rippling through the science world that physicists may have detected gravitational waves, a key element of Einstein’s theory which if confirmed would be one of the biggest discoveries of our time.

There has been no announcement, no peer review or publication of the findings—all typically important steps in the process of releasing reliable and verifiable scientific research.

Instead, a message on Twitter from an Arizona State University cosmologist, Lawrence Krauss, has sparked a firestorm of speculation and excitement.

Krauss does not work with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, or LIGO, which is searching for ripples in the fabric of space and .

But he tweeted on Monday about the apparent shoring up of rumor he’d heard some months ago, that LIGO scientists were writing up a paper on gravitational waves they had discovered using US-based detectors.

“My earlier rumor about LIGO has been confirmed by independent sources. Stay tuned! Gravitational waves may have been discovered!! Exciting,” Krauss tweeted.

His message has since between retweeted 1,800 times.

If gravitational waves have been spotted, it would confirm a final missing piece in what Albert Einstein predicted a century ago in his theory of general relativity.

The discovery would open a new window on the universe by showing scientists for the first time that  exist, in places such as the edge of black holes at the beginning of time, filling in a major gap in our understanding of how the universe was born.

A team of scientists on a project called BICEP2 (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) announced in 2014 that they had discovered these very ripples in space time, but soon admitted that their findings may have been just galactic dust.

A spokeswoman for the LIGO collaboration, Gabriela Gonzalez, was quoted in The Guardian as saying there is no announcement for now.

“The LIGO instruments are still taking data today, and it takes us time to analyze, interpret and review results, so we don’t have any results to share yet,” said Gonzalez, professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University.

“We take pride in reviewing our results carefully before submitting them for publication—and for important results, we plan to ask for our papers to be peer-reviewed before we announce the results—that takes time too!”

Other observers pointed out that any supposed detection may be a simple practice run for the science teams, not a real discovery.

“Caveat earlier mentioned: they have engineering runs with blind signals inserted that mimic discoveries. Am told this isn’t one,” Krauss tweeted.

But science enthusiasts may have to wait awhile longer to get all the details.

The LIGO team’s first run of data ends Tuesday, January 12.

“We expect to have news on the run results in the next few months,” Gonzalez was quoted as saying by New Scientist magazine.


Henry Sapiecha

Many scientists perform their research in totally uncharted territories. Some of them flirt with danger on a daily basis. The persistence of a small percentage creates their own demise with overexposure to toxic substances, or by working alone with hazardous equipment. Watch this video showing 10 famous scientists that were killed by their own experiments.
Source: Alltime10s/Youtube


Henry Sapiecha

einstein image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Einstein was a man of many talents, but did you know that he also enjoyed a good riddle? He even created a nearly unsolvable riddle of his own one day. Do you think you can solve it? Let’s find out.

There are five houses in five different colors in a row. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The five owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage.

So the question is this: who owns the fish?


1. The Brit lives in the red house.
2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.
3. The Dane drinks tea.
4. The green house is on the immediate left of the white house.
5. The green house’s owner drinks coffee.
6. The owner who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.
7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.
8. The owner living in the center house drinks milk.
9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.
10. The owner who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.
11. The owner who keeps the horse lives next to the one who smokes Dunhill.
12. The owner who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer.
13. The German smokes Prince.
14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
15. The owner who smokes Blends lives next to the one who drinks water.

Stumped? Here’s how you can figure it out:

(via If I Science)

Pretty intense, right? How many of you brainiacs out there go it right? How long did it take you? Fastest time gets a cookie!


Henry Sapiecha

Belvedere Ampitheatre image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Belvedere Ampitheatre will come alive at dusk on Saturday. Photo: Peter Solness

National Science Week is upon us and it’s being celebrated locally as the inaugural Sydney Science Festival.

Naturally there are the big-name events, such as singing astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, US “celebrity” astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki​.

But there are plenty of other events that you should put into your diary.

Here are some that are well worth catching.


1…Field of Orbs
Saturday, August 15, 5.30pm, Centennial Park.

Field of Orbs image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Belvedere Amphitheatre, Centennial Park. Photo: Centennial Parklands

Be part of a light painting extravaganza in Centennial Park as the sun goes down on Saturday evening.

2…100 years of Einstein’s gravity revolution
Monday, August 17, 6.30pm, University of Sydney.
A handwritten detail from Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

A handwritten detail from Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Photo: David Silverman

Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity in 1915. The world has never been the same since. Sydney University’s Professor Geraint Lewis will discuss how his theories of space-time, black holes and expanding universes have changed our world.

3…Lloyd Godson, Undersea Survivor
August 18-23, Maritime Museum.
Underwater living enthusiast Lloyd Godson image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Underwater living enthusiast Lloyd Godson. Photo: Ocean Exploration Trust

Lloyd Godson is passionate about the human potential for living under the sea. Using technology from Google Lloyd will be streaming from his prototype underwater habitat. Check it out.

4...Kinda Thinky panel discussion on ‘Excess’
Wednesday, August 19, Powerhouse bar.
Kinda Thinky panel discussion image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Kinda Thinky is an irreverent theme-driven live chat show.

How much stuff is too much? And why do we all want to live longer? Featuring Father Rod Bower, the Gosford Anglican priest behind the provocative political church signs, with recycler David Singh, longevity expert Dr Samantha Solon-Biet, and architect Melonie Bayl-Smith. It’s adults only, with a cash bar. Hosted by Will Grant and Rod Lamberts. Should be fun.

5…Know your own genome
Thursday, August 20, 5pm, Garvan Institute, Darlinghurst.A replica of the human neuropeptide Y gene at the Garvan Institute image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

A replica of the human neuropeptide Y gene at the Garvan Institute. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Do you really want to know your own genome? Discover what genetic testing might reveal and the ethics behind finding out. With world-renowned genetic counsellor Professor Kelly Ormond.

6…Particle Fever
Thursday, August 20, 6pm, University of Sydney.
Particle accelerator switzerland image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

The Large Hadron particle accelerator at CERN, Switzerland.

The story behind the Large Hadron Collider and the hunt for the Higgs boson. With a special live introduction by Associate Professor Kevin Varvell​, Sydney director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics.

7…Quantum computing and teleportation
Thursday, August 20, 6.30pm, Footbridge Theatre, University of Sydney. 

An atomic-scale transistor image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

An atomic-scale transistor. Photo: UNSW

Will quantum computers really allow us to teleport objects including ourselves? Join world-class physicists Professor Michelle Simmons, University of New South Wales, and Professor Ping Koy Lam, Australian National University, for a discussion about teleportation and other strange properties of the quantum world.

8…Family day: Indigenous science experience
Saturday, August 22, 10am-4pm, Redfern Community Centre.
Emu in the Milky Way image www.sciencearticlesonline.com

Emu in the Milky Way, courtesy Barnaby Norris. Photo: act\ian.warden

A hands-on exploration and celebration of Aboriginal and European science, demonstrating the value of traditional knowledge. Hosted by the National Indigenous Science Education Program, Macquarie University, Inspiring Australia, Redfern Community Centre and the City of Sydney.

9…SMH Live: Science and Innovation
Thursday, August 27, 6pm, Australian National Maritime Museum.

science-SMH team image www.sciencearticlesonline.com
Can we ever be the clever country? While the rest of the world is embracing science and innovation in the hunt for new jobs and greater economic opportunities, Australia is at risk of lagging behind. Join SMH’s Science Editor, Nicky Phillips, and our expert panel of commentators as they unpick the challenges that stand in the way of us being a truly, science and innovation-led nation.
Henry Sapiecha

einstein B&W image ww.sciencearticlesonline.com

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When he wasn’t busy scribbling out the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein seems to have spent a fair amount of time writing letters involving topics such as God, his son’s geometry studies, even a little toy steam engine an uncle gave him when he was a boy.

The Einstein Letters, which include more than two dozen missives, will go up for sale Thursday at the California-based auction house Profiles in History. Some were in English and others in German. Some were done in longhand, others on typewriters.

Amassed over decades by a private collector, the letters represent one of the largest caches of Einstein’s personal writings ever offered for sale.

But more than that, they give a rare look into Einstein’s thoughts when he wasn’t discussing complicated scientific theories with his peers, said Joseph Maddalena, founder of Profiles in History.

“We all know about what he accomplished, how he changed the world with the theory of relativity,” Maddalena said. “But these letters show the other side of the story. How he advised his children, how he believed in God.”

In one letter, Einstein urged one of his sons to get more serious about geometry. In another, he consoled a friend who recently discovered her husband’s infidelity. In still another to an uncle on his 70th birthday, Einstein recalled how the toy steam engine the uncle gave him years ago had prompted a lifelong interest in science.

On the issue of God, Einstein dismissed the widely held belief that he was an atheist.

“I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one,” he wrote to a man who corresponded with him on the subject twice in the 1940s. “You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. … I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

Maddalena expects the 27 letters to fetch anywhere from $5,000 to as much as $40,000, for a total take ranging from $500,000 to $1 million. They are priceless, in his opinion, when it comes to having a greater understanding of the most brilliant physicist of the 20th century, the man whose theories ushered in the atomic age.

“These are certainly among the most important things I’ve ever handled,” Maddalena said. “This is not like a Babe Ruth autograph or a signed photo of Marilyn Monroe. These are historically significant.”


Henry Sapiecha

June 10th marks the (alleged) 263rd anniversary of the day Benjamin Franklin conducted his famous experiment. In celebration, Ohio University put together an inforgraphic that delves into other cool experiments that led to major breakthroughs.

Beyond-Kite-Key-infographic image www.sciencearticlesonline.com