John Rennie

Deputy Editor

Illustration for "Mathematics Shows How to Ensure Evolution"
mathematical biology

Mathematics Shows How to Ensure Evolution

June 26, 2018

New results emerging from graph theory prove that the way a population is organized can guarantee the eventual triumph of natural selection — or permanently thwart it.

Photo of Emmanuelle Charpentier, Virginijus Šikšnys, Jennifer Doudna
Abstractions blog

CRISPR Gene-Editing Pioneers Win Kavli Prize for Nanoscience

May 31, 2018

The inventors of a “Swiss army knife” for genome editing received prestigious honors, as did pioneering scientists in astrophysics and neuroscience.

Image of feathers
Abstractions blog

How Brain Waves Surf Sound Waves to Process Speech

May 22, 2018

By paying more attention to behaviors, and not just the activity of neurons, two researchers critical of most neuroscience learned how brains make sense of spoken language.

Art for "Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells"
Abstractions blog

Artificial Neural Nets Grow Brainlike Navigation Cells

May 9, 2018

Faced with a navigational challenge, neural networks spontaneously evolved units resembling the grid cells that help living animals find their way.

Illustration for brain computer interface
Abstractions blog

Brains Cling to Old Habits When Learning New Tricks

March 27, 2018

Using a brain-computer interface, scientists are beginning to learn why learning is hard.

520px photo of phytoplankton
Abstractions blog

Evolution Saves Species From ‘Kill the Winner’ Disasters

February 12, 2018

Modelers find evidence that a combination of competition, predation and evolution will push ecosystems toward species diversity anywhere in the universe.

Red slime mold
Multimedia

Seeing the Beautiful Intelligence of Microbes

November 13, 2017

Bacterial biofilms and slime molds are more than crude patches of goo. Detailed time-lapse microscopy reveals how they sense and explore their surroundings, communicate with their neighbors and adaptively reshape themselves.

Cryo-electron microscopy
Abstractions blog

Supercool Protein Imaging Gets the Nobel Prize

October 4, 2017

This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry goes to researchers who made it possible to see proteins and other biomolecules at an atomic level of detail.

Clock
Abstractions blog

Nobel Prize Awarded for Biological Clock Discoveries

October 2, 2017

Three U.S. biologists share the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their research into the molecular mechanism that drives circadian rhythm.