How do painkillers actually kill pain? From ibuprofen to fentanyl, it's about meeting the pain where it's at

Different painkillers provide relief in different ways. The most effective medication is the one that best targets the type of pain you’re experiencing with minimal side effects.

Benedict Alter, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences • conversation
June 24, 2022 ~11 min

Google's powerful AI spotlights a human cognitive glitch: Mistaking fluent speech for fluent thought

Fluent expression is not always evidence of a mind at work, but the human brain is primed to believe so. A pair of cognitive linguistics experts explain why language is not a good test of sentience.

Anna A. Ivanova, PhD Candidate in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) • conversation
June 24, 2022 ~9 min

Misinformation will be rampant when it comes to COVID-19 shots for young children – here's what you can do to counter it

With COVID-19 shots finally available for infants and preschoolers, knowing how to combat misinformation on social media and elsewhere could be more important than ever.

Maya Ragavan, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences • conversation
June 24, 2022 ~9 min

Five billion people can't afford surgery – a team of innovators could soon change this

A team of doctors and academics worked together on back-to-basics surgical equipment that is already changing lives.

Noel Aruparayil, Clinical research fellow in global surgery, University of Leeds • conversation
June 24, 2022 ~10 min

Curious Kids: what is cosmic microwave background radiation?

It’s the oldest light in the universe.

Christopher Pattison, Senior Research Associate at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth • conversation
June 23, 2022 ~5 min

Evolutionary tree of life: modern science is showing how we got so much wrong

DNA analysis is beginning to reveal how wrong the long-accepted evolutionary tree is.

Matthew Wills, Professor of Evolutionary Palaeobiology at the Milner Centre for Evolution, University of Bath • conversation
June 23, 2022 ~7 min

Cosmic dust from Venus is inspiring new air pollution-busting technology

New catalytic converters can remove toxic chemicals from the exhaust fumes of combustion-engine cars.

Alexander James, Research Fellow in Atmospheric Chemistry, University of Leeds • conversation
June 23, 2022 ~5 min

What is BPA and why is it in so many plastic products?

The US Environmental Protection Agency is reexamining the health effects of bisphenol A. A chemist explains why BPA is in plastics and why it’s hard to find a safe replacement.

Benjamin Elling, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Wesleyan University • conversation
June 23, 2022 ~6 min

Abortion and bioethics: Principles to guide U.S. abortion debates

A bioethicist explains the four ethical principles that guide medical practitioners’ thinking about abortion, such as autonomy and justice.

Nancy S. Jecker, Professor of Bioethics and Humanities, School of Medicine, University of Washington • conversation
June 23, 2022 ~9 min

Citizen science volunteers are almost entirely white

The homogeneity of citizen science volunteers undercuts the ability of these projects to bring science to underserved communities.

Caren Cooper, Associate Professor of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University • conversation
June 22, 2022 ~5 min