Grade 8 Vocabulary List (Nature of Science)sciencetheorylaw (science)systemphysical sciencetechnologysocietyhypothesisinfervariableconstantmodelcriticaldatadiscoverydeductionthought experimentcorrelational studyrig (verb, science)rationalirrationaleconomicstentativesubjectivecreative** Need to write for each word:1. Definition2. Your own sentence
The Nature of Science- Section 1 Why do Scientists do Thought Experiments?Thought experiments are important forshowing things where it is impossible tofind evidence. For example, Einsteinused thought experiments to talk aboutthe speed of light. As he could not travelor even measure how fast light travels.When we use a thought experiment tofind out / guess new information, we callthis a constructive thought experiment.But we can also, use thoughtexperiments to prove something is wrongor false. These are destructive thoughtexperiments.
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The Nature of Science- Section 2 ______________________________?The word science a complicated word. It can represent various elements and process of thenatural world and also can overlap with many other happenings and aspects of other subjectsand fields.Your textbook defines__________________ as: a way of learning more about the natural world.Also, a scientist is defined here as a person who studies and normally has expert knowledge onsome area(s) within science.However, you may also find some different opinions on what science actually is or involves inthis particular unit and in other future areas of study. So it is important to be critical.Despite the complex and the debate on understanding the nature of science, there are still anumber of elements that are considered by most if not all to be fundamental parts of science.They are described as follows: A. ______________________ – in general, scientists and citizens of science engage in (at least) two types of actions. 1. They _______________________ about things in the natural world. 2. They try to explain answers to their questions. And when they explain, they often try to establish patterns and rules. In some cases, they develop theories. A ________________ is an attempt to explain a pattern that keeps happening in the real world. For example, they explain why gravity exists. As well, they also establish laws. A ________________ (in science) is a rule scientists make to explain something in nature. For example, they make the rule that if you throw something up it will fall back down because of gravity. B. ___________________________ – it is also common for scientists to group similar things together to help everyone understand them better. This grouping or collection of similar structures, cycles and processes is called a system. For example, scientists have created the digestive system to group together all the “things” involved in eating and breaking down food in your body.It is also important to understand that many things in science are related to each other and/orother things. Things in one system interact with each other. All systems can make up othersystems too. C. _________________________ – People have also tried to group all the systems in science into 3 main areas : 1. ____________________- is the study of living systems and the ways they interact 2. ______________________ – is the study of Earth and space systems 3. ____________________ – is the study of systems related to matter and energy.
D. ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ Last, you should realize that science does not happen in isolation. Scientists do not work alone. Science is –very- connected to other parts of the world and society. For example, the textbooks describes the belief that science is done to create technology. Others can argue that sometimes technology is made to help understand science. There are also relationships between science and social elements. For example, social issues are often the reason why people do science. This interaction is a ____________________ one and often debated by many.Again, although the above elements are very helpful in understanding what science is, thepicture is complex. There are actually a variety of ways that science can be done or define asdespite what you may think. This is the goal of Topic 2: helping you to understand the__________________________________
_____________________________________According to your textbook, there is a general pattern that most scientific investigations follow.They steps are outlined briefly as follows: 1. __________________________________ – Scientists usually see or have seen something. Then, they ask a question about it. 2. _______________________________– Scientists than state a possible explanation for what they have seen. Again according to the textbook, the hypothesis is a reasonable and educated statement that explains something you know and/or have observed. 3. _____________________________- Scientists than do various things. They might make more observations to collect more information. They might build a __________________ They might make a ______________________ and then test out their hypothesis and prediction by experimenting. One common way to experiment is through a controlled experiment. Here, scientists identify _____________________ which are factors they can change in their experiments. They often change one variable which is called the ________________________. Then, they usually observe how another variable gets affected (gets changed by changes in the first variable). This variable is called the _______________________. It is also important to keep other variables fixed. They are called _______________________________. And when experimenting , they often organize their findings by making a chart of their observations. 4. __________________________– Next, they compare their results with their earlier observations and hypothesis. 5. ________________________________ – Then, they tell what they learned from their investigation. We can also say, they try to infer something. When they do this, they also often go back and retest their hypothesis to make sure they inferred correctly. However, sometimes, they fund out that what they thought before is not correct. Then, they go back and gather new information, make new hypothesis and repeat everything again. 6. ______________________________– Scientists publish what they have learned to others including the results of their investigations and the methods used. They often publish things in the form of journals , books and Internet sites.
Other Notes-Another important aspect of the scientific method is ______________________. You will learnabout this throughout your topic 2 and all other topics whenever some activity or experiments ispotentially dangerous or harmful to you and/or others.
Comparing and Being Critical of the Scientific ProcessIn today’s activity, you should try to achieve the following two goals: 1. Understand the similarities and differences between the Scientific Process and the Inquiry process that you learned before 2. Begin to be critical of the Scientific Process given by the textbookPart 1 – Labels--> Use your textbook (see page 12 ) to write the correct labels for the Scientific Process on theleft side.--> Use your knowledge of the Inquiry Process to write the correct labels for the Inquiry Processon the right side The Scientific Process (in your textbook) The Inquiry Process (from Topic 1) Questioning and Observing
Part 2 – Questions 1. How are the two processes similar?____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Is there anything different about the two processes? Explain well.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. Is one process better than the other? If yes, how? Explain well. If no, explain also why well.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Models for ScienceA model is a representation of some object or event in order to understand the natural world.They are often used to help people to understand things that are difficult to see or hard tocomprehend. For example, a model could show something that is too small to see with youreye.Types of Models-There are 3 types of models- A. Physical Models-Any model that allows you to see and touch things is called a physical model. This kind of modelthen shows how different parts of something relate to each other. It can also show how thingslook when you change their positions or when they experience some force. A world globe is oneexample. B. Computer Models-These models are created on a computer using some software. You can only view them.Computer models are good for events that take a long time see normal or to show motions andpositions that would usually take a long time to calculate. So they speed things up. They canalso be used to make predictions. A weather computer model is an example. C. Idea Models-An idea model is simply an idea or a concept to describe what you think of the natural world. Soan idea model cannot be built in a physical sense. A model for Einstein’s theory of relativity(E=mc2) is an example.Making and Using Models-Making a model is very similar to making an art sketch. You simply take descriptions from othersources and try to make something based on them. (Just like an artist takes a description ofsomething from other sources to draw a picture). Usually, the more detail you can get, the moreaccurate your model will be.Models can be used in various ways once created including: 1. For communication – models can help people to make observations and ideas and then communicate them to other people. You don’t just talk about something. You talk while showing a model of the something. This makes it easier for others to understand.
2. For testing predictions – after making a prediction, you can sometimes test it out by making a model. For example, engineers make wind tunnels to test predictions for airplanes and cars. 3. For Saving Time, Money and Lives – models are often cheaper, take less time to run and can done under safe conditions. For example, astronauts might ride in a model shuttle for practice. This I much safer and cheaper than riding a real rocket up into space.Limitations of Models-Models are never perfect as they are built only on information that may even not be alwayscomplete. For instance, some models are built on things that we can only imagine and not seeentirely. As a result, the model may be wrong or at least contain some wrong parts. Peoplecould also have wrong ideas when designing a model. For example, some people used to thinkthat the Earth was in the centre of the universe because they did not have enough informationabout space and they cannot see everything in space.But even if models are not completely accurate or complete, at least they often give peopleideas to build better models later and build upon their understandings. In time, knowledge canbe developed.
Let’s Learn Something More about Sources of (Scientific) Knowledge- In today’s activity you will learn something more about the nature of science.- In particular, you will be able to complete the blank for the following sentence.Scientific Knowledge is not always________________________________. (answer at the end of class)Instructions- 1. As instructed, complete each part. (using book or computer) 2. Complete all steps and boxes for each part as described below. 3. At the end, fill in the blank to the statement above. Part 1 – GoogleStep 1 – Choose two people in your group to read the short dialogue below. A: Hey, _______________. What do you think of Google? B: I like using google. It is an easy and powerful way to get information from the Internet. A: I agree. I can almost find out anything I want to research for my science class. B: Yes. I don’t have to go to the library as much and I don’t have to carry as many heavy books around. A and B: Yes. Google we love you. Let’s do some research using google right now! Let’s learn about…. eggs!Step 2 – i) On the computer, go to google.com ii) Type eggs ovaprima site (ovaprima is the name of site for scientific information) iii) Click News and see if you can find a passage, “Astounding Discovery in Sri Lanka” iv) Read the article and write a few ideas about it in the box below:Step 3 – i) On Internet, go to http://21cif.com/resources/materials/survey/four/evalexamples.htm ii) Go to line 7 and read the paragraph titled “What is the author’s expertise on the topic?” iii) Go to line 33 and read the first sentence of the paragraph titled, “Do other reliable (or unreliable) pages provide links to the authors page?) iv) Write few ideas about what you just read in the box below:
Step 4 – Compare your ideas from your boxes. What conclusions can you make?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Part 2 – WikipediaStep 1 – Choose two people in your group to read the short dialogue below. A: Hey, _______________. What do you think of Wikipedia? B: I love Wikepedia. It is always the first site I visit when I need to get some good ideas for a topic at school.. A: Yes. Everyone visits. It looks to be the most visited site in the world for information. You can tell by the number of hits. B: Yeah. There is usually so much information I can use. And I can always find other links to other sites if I need even more information. A and B: Yes. Wikpedia you are the best. Let’s learn more withWikipedia right now! Let’s learn about _______________. (you choose)Step 2 – i) On the computer, go to Wikipedia.org ii) On search line, type a word(s) for what to you want to know about iv) Read some of the information given and write a few ideas about it in the box below:Step 3 – i) On the Internet, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=XPC-bNX9O_E#t=178 ii) Watch the video iv) Write few ideas about what you just listened to in the box below:
Step 4 – Compare your ideas from your boxes. What conclusions can you make?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Part 3 – BooksStep 1 – Choose two people in your group to read the short dialogue below. A: Hey, _______________. What do you think of books? B: They are good. I always use them to study. If I read carefully, I can understand the content well. A: That is good. And of course we can study from textbooks to learn. Everyone does that! B: Yeah. I just finished making a summary on our science textbook’s last chapter. I learned a lot about science models. A and B: Yes. Books are so precious! Let’s learn more with our science textbook right now!Step 2 – i) Open your science textbook and turn to page 30. ii) Look at Figure 28 in the top left corner. Read the text in the figure as best you can. iii) Write a few ideas about what you read in the figure below:Step 3 – i) Now read the first paragraph of pg 30 that is titled, “Evaluating Promotional Materials” ii) Write few ideas about what you just listened to in the box below:Step 4 – Compare your ideas from your boxes. What conclusions can you make?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Critical ThinkingWhat is it?Critical thinking is self-guided techniquewhere you attempt to reason at thehighest level of quality in a fair-mindedway. People who think criticallyconsistently attempt to live rationally,reasonably, empathically. They arekeenly aware that human thinking is notalways correct when left unchecked.They strive to decrease wrongful orselfish thinking.They use the intellectual tools such as criticizing relating evaluating reflecting wonderingThey work to improve the world ofwrongful and especially harmful ideas
and even supposed facts to contribute toa more rational, civilized society.How do we do it? 1. Examine a piece of knowledge, thought or data 2. Consider or pose a question. 3. Attempt to answer the question with good detail in a critical way. (ie. when answering, criticize the piece, reflect on the piece, judge the piece, etc.) 4. Two types of ideas must be included: 1. content from the piece 2. ideas from outside of the piece (ex. our brains, our experiences, another person, another book etc.)
Why do we need think critically? 1. We can understand pieces of knowledge and thought better 2. We and others can live better lives
Critical Thinking Assignment1. Read the following two writing pieces and answer one question that follows for each piece.For each question:1. Write ½ page MINIMUM.2. Included content from the writing piece.3. Include ideas from outside the writing piece.
The Discovery of DNA (From People and Discoveries site. To be used for viewing only) In the late nineteenth century, a German biochemist found the nucleic acids, long-chainpolymers of nucleotides, were made up of sugar, phosphoric acid, and several nitrogen-containing bases. Later it was found that the sugar in nucleic acid can be ribose or deoxyribose,giving two forms: RNA and DNA. In 1943, American Oswald Avery proved that DNA carriesgenetic information. He even suggested DNA might actually be the gene. Most people at thetime thought the gene would be protein, not nucleic acid, but by the late 1940s, DNA was largelyaccepted as the genetic molecule. Scientists still needed to figure out this molecules structureto be sure, and to understand how it worked. In 1948, Linus Pauling discovered that many proteins take the shape of an alpha helix,spiraled like a spring coil. In 1950, biochemist Erwin Chargaff found that the arrangement ofnitrogen bases in DNA varied widely, but the amount of certain bases always occurred in a one-to-one ratio. These discoveries were an important foundation for the later description of DNA.In the early 1950s, the race to discover DNA was on. At Cambridge University, graduate studentFrancis Crick and research fellow James Watson (b. 1928) had become interested, impressedespecially by Paulings work. Meanwhile at Kings College in London, Maurice Wilkins (b. 1916)and Rosalind Franklin were also studying DNA. The Cambridge teams approach was to makephysical models to narrow down the possibilities and eventually create an accurate picture ofthe molecule. The Kings team took an experimental approach, looking particularly at x-raydiffraction images of DNA. In 1951, Watson attended a lecture by Franklin on her work to date. She had found thatDNA can exist in two forms, depending on the relative humidity in the surrounding air. This hadhelped her deduce that the phosphate part of the molecule was on the outside. Watson returnedto Cambridge with a rather muddy recollection of the facts Franklin had presented, thoughclearly critical of her lecture style and personal appearance. Based on this information, Watsonand Crick made a failed model. It caused the head of their unit to tell them to stop DNA research.But the subject just kept coming up. Franklin, working mostly alone, found that her x-ray diffractions showed that the "wet"form of DNA (in the higher humidity) had all the characteristics of a helix. She suspected that allDNA was helical but did not want to announce this finding until she had sufficient evidence onthe other form as well. Wilkins was frustrated. In January, 1953, he showed Franklins results toWatson, apparently without her knowledge or consent. Crick later admitted, "Im afraid wealways used to adopt -- lets say, a patronizing attitude towards her." Watson and Crick took a crucial conceptual step, suggesting the molecule was made oftwo chains of nucleotides, each in a helix as Franklin had found, but one going up and the othergoing down. Crick had just learned of Chargaffs findings about base pairs in the summer of1952. He added that to the model, so that matching base pairs interlocked in the middle of thedouble helix to keep the distance between the chains constant.Watson and Crick showed that each strand of the DNA molecule was a template for the other.During cell division the two strands separate and on each strand a new "other half" is built, justlike the one before. This way DNA can reproduce itself without changing its structure -- exceptfor occasional errors, or mutations. The structure so perfectly fit the experimental data that it was almost immediatelyaccepted. DNAs discovery has been called the most important biological work of the last 100years, and the field it opened may be the scientific frontier for the next 100. By 1962, whenWatson, Crick, and Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine, Franklin had died. TheNobel Prize only goes to living recipients, and can only be shared among three winners.
Questions- 1. Had Franklin been still alive in 1962, should she have been included in the prize? 2. Who discovered DNA in your opinion? 3. In 1953, Wilkins shared data with Watson. Is it okay to for scientists to share data like Wilkins? The Theory of Evolution Darwin became famous for his theory of evolution. It is the widely held notion that allforms of life (from bacteria to birds to fish to human etc.) are related. Moreover, every livingthing comes from the same ancestor: the birds and the bananas, the fishes and the flowers areall related. Darwins general theory presumes the development of life from non-life and stressesa purely naturalistic (undirected) "descent with change". This means, more complex creaturesevolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. Bascially over a long period of time,many random genetic mutations occur within one earlier organisms genetic code. Sometimes,the mutations were beneficial and the slightly different offspring did not only survive but wasable live more easily. In the process, the altered living thing became the dominant life form andthe earlier living thing eventually died off. Such a process where beneficial mutations arepreserved because they aid survival is known as "natural selection." These beneficial mutationsget passed on to the next generation. Over more and more time, the beneficial mutationsaccumulate enough such that an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original,but an entirely different creature) is formed. And this process can happen repeatedly to result inmany different creatures being formed over time.Questions – 1. Should evolution be fact and not theory? 2. Is it really possible for one life form to change into another life form over time because of mutations in the DNA? 3. What is wrong with evolution?
The Nature of Science- Section 3 The Uncertainty of ScienceScientific knowledge is fundamentallyuncertain. We must further understandthe following: 1. Science is uncertain because it is a human activity. 2. Science explanations seem less certain when they are based on indirect information 3. Scientific uncertainty can be reduced through collaboration with others.Why is Science Uncertain?
Information can be obtained that is non-sensory (ex. non-visual) because wecannot always sense (see, hear. Etc)everything that we would like toAs a result, scientists can at best makeonly theories. (Review) A theory is anoverarching explanation that has beenwell substantiated. Good examples oftheories include evolution and cell theory(ie. all living things are composed of cells)An Important Consequence -Because science can be uncertain, it isimportant to understand the following:Any theory or other scientific knowledgecan be refined or even replaced by an
alternative theory in light of new andcompelling evidence.Real Examples of Uncertainty -1. Making a map of Yosemite NationalPark2. Making a map of the Earths interior3. Exploring the surface of the Moon.4. Exploring the surface of Venus.5. Studying a cancer cell.6. Learning the structure of an atom.7. Finding out how DNA works.8. Learning what causes a new disease.9. How do we remember things?
The Uncertainty of Science NOTE 2As stated before, scientific knowledgecan be uncertain because we do notalways have all the information availableto understand something.But there is another reason too:As humans, we sometimes fail to sensewhat really is. We make misconceptions.- We do not always see what we reallyshould see (eg. optical illusions)- We do not always infer what is reallytrue (eg. infer the correct idea from areading)- We may be blinded by traditions,customs or even pride (ex. Rice is better
than bread, humans are the mostpowerful living thing in the universe)Thus, it is important in science, to becritical of people’s senses, beliefs andassumptions.Again, use the critical thinking strategy toexamine for misconceptions in science.
Understanding Uncertainty in Science – Exercise on Common MisconceptionsDirections – 1. Read the statement given for each question below. 2. Write your opinion for each statement. (ex. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you have some other opinion). Be sure to write a few sentences to explain your opinion. 3. After you have given your opinion for ALL questions, complete the research parts. Using the link provided (or another trustworthy source) find out what misconception people have / have had. Find out what is the accepted truth (for many but not all) at present for the statements. 1. The earth is closer to the sun in the summer. That is why it is hotter in the summer.My Opinion -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Research- --> Go to http://newyorkscienceteacher.com/sci/pages/miscon/astr.php (write #9) --> Go to http://pwg.gsfc.nasa.gov/istp/outreach/sunearthmiscons.html (see 1st paragraph)Common Misconception of the Past / Present -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Current Accept Belief as of Now (By Many) -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. A rainbow is made of some material(s).My Opinion -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Research- --> Go to http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/tj.html (read all)Common Misconception of the Past / Present -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Current Accept Belief as of Now (By Many) -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________The continents of the world are fixed. (always in the same spot)My Opinion -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Research- -->Go to http://www.hokeg.dyndns.org/AITruth.htm(Read “The Most Ridiculous Thing) --> Go tohttp://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/astronomy/planets/earth/Continents.shtml (read all) Common Misconception of the Past / Present -____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Current Accept Belief as of Now (By Many) -_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4. The speed of light is instantaneous.My Opinion -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Research- --> Go tohttp://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/d/d_02/d_02_cr/d_02_cr_vis/d_02_cr_vis.html(read paragraph 4) --> Go to http://library.thinkquest.org/25607/anatomyParts.php3 (read pupil paragraph)Common Misconception of the Past / Present -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Current Accept Belief as of Now (By Many) -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 5. ___________________________________________________________ (Do your own!)My Opinion -________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Research- --> Go toCommon Misconception of the Past / Present -____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Current Accept Belief as of Now (By Many) -____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Uncertainty of Science – Day 3 ActivityInstructions---> Today, you will learn more about how science can be uncertain and also –why- it isimportant to be critical of science. 1. With your group you will visit three stations when instructed by your teacher. 2. At each station, one of your classmates will demonstrate something or just show you something. 3. Listen carefully, as your classmate tells you something. He/she will also do science to show you something amazing! 4. After, answer the two questions below for each station. 5. Last, answer the final question at the bottom.Station # __________________Answer the 2 questions –AFTER- your classmate has finished his/her show.Question 1 – What did you observe your classmate just do? Explain well.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Question 2 – How do you feel about what you saw or heard? Write down your reaction below.Again, try to explain well.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Station # _____________Answer the 2 questions –AFTER- your classmate has finished his/her show.Question 1 – What did you observe your classmate just do? Explain well.____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
The Uncertainty of Science – Note 3 ____________________________________There is another reason why you should be skeptical of (not trust) science. Some peopleintentionally lie and commit other acts of fraud so that what they communicate is not always trueand can be even harmful. . We can refer to this element of science as________________________________________.There are also various ways scientists cheat and create science falsehoods such as incorrectdata or false methods. Some of them could be harmful to others and society._________________________________- fabrication in general means publishing orreporting misleading facts that are connected to your inquiry or other form of study. It includesfalsifying data, falsifying evidence, falsifying data, falsifying evidence. It could also involveconjuring where you purposely use lab materials wrongfully to get the desired result. A goodexample is Dr. Woo Suk Hwang who forged false results to claim he made some achievementsin human cloning when he had not.________________________- plagiarism is the copying of others’ work and using it asyour own. On scientist might steal the results of another scientist to help aid him/here in his/herown inquiry that needs good results but he/she was unable to get on his/her own easily. Anumber of researchers have also been found to steal the work and results of their own students.Especially nowadays with the advancement of technology it is getting easier to steal ideas byhacking, computer cameras and illegal downloading.________________________ – rigging means tweaking the situation or environment sothat more optimal (better) results occur. When you rig, you are not directly changing the result ormethod but your intentionally do the experiment only at the best time, or using the best materialsor using the best machine etc. By doing so, your results will be better than normal on theaverage. Examples- science teachers might purposely choose to NOT to do a static electricityon a humid day but always do in the winter on a very dry day because the experiment will workbetter (but they do not tell the students about this). Drug designers choose the strongestpatients instead of a wider population to test some new medicine.______________________ – sometimes professors or scientific team leaders give all theresearch work to their technicians and other assistants. Yet when they publish things, they maynot acknowledge the work of their team and they take all the credit for themselves unfairly._________________________ – some scientists and citizen of scientists intentionally talktheir way out of bad results. Ie. They make their results look correct or supportive of theirconclusions by talking nonsense. Yet many believe their nonsense because they are good atusing hard concepts or procedures that may be difficult for others to understand and the othersjust trust them when should not.
Cheating in Science, Part I: The Tragic Story of a Young Man’s Suicide A story of ambition, suspected scientific fraud, and suicide. Published on October 5, 2010 by Peter Gray in Freedom to Learn I begin with a true and tragic story. Many years ago I was a graduate student conducting research in one of the top biopsychology laboratories in the country. The lab chief was one of a handful of the worlds most prominent research psychologists at that time, and many in the lab believed he was headed for a Nobel Prize. As is often the case, this lab head was not doing hands-on researchhimself. He was busy writing articles and grant proposals and traveling around giving speeches.A fleet of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conducted the research. He would put hisname on reports of research that he had helped to design but that others had conducted. Hedidnt even understand fully the equipment that was used in those experiments.A certain postdoctoral fellow in the lab--Ill call him Henry--was getting most of the fabulousresults. At about the same time that I received my Ph.D. and took an assistant professorship ata more humble institution, Henry accepted an offer to become full professor at one of the mostprestigious psychology departments in the country. The task of continuing the line of researchhe had been doing was then turned over to an excellent, conscientious graduate student in thelab he had left. That graduate student could not replicate any of Henrys famous findings. Thisled to repeated calls to Henry to come back and demonstrate how he got those fabulous results,to which there was no satisfactory response. With continued failures to replicate, and withcontinued defensiveness and evasiveness on the part of Henry, the suspicion grew, usuallyunstated, that Henry may have made up those findings. And then the tragedy happened. Henrycommitted suicide.What a shock that was to me. I cant say that I really liked Henry; his ambition was such that herubbed those who were beneath him, including me, the wrong way. But I knew him and felt Iunderstood him. He was a real flesh and blood person to me, and when I heard of his suicide Icried. I could see him as a frail person--despite his burly physique and blustering style--caughtup in a drive toward self-advancement, in a lab that was rewarding the "right" findings and hadlittle interest in the "wrong" ones. He was not, in truth, a scientist at all. He wasnt interested inthe questions he was supposedly pursuing in the lab. When the foundation for his self-advancement was pulled out from under him he toppled; he could no longer see any purpose inliving.Ive been thinking lately about the whole question of cheating in science. It has been brought tomind, of course, by the recent media coverage of the Marc Hauser case at Harvard. Hauser isaccused of fabricating data in at least some of his celebrated experiments on the cognitiveabilities of monkeys. The Hauser case is reminiscent of another case of scientific fraud that alsooccurred in the Harvard Psychology Department. In the late-1990s, fast-rising Harvardpsychologist Karen Ruggiero was found guilty of fabricating five experiments, which had beenpublished in two articles, and of altering the data that appeared in a third article. Her career wasdestroyed.
How common is scientific fraud? Nobody really knows. Defenders of sciences purity often arguethat such fraud is very rare, the product of a tiny number of "bad apples." But I doubt that. Mysuspicion is that the cases of fraud that are exposed are just the tip of the iceberg.Ive heard people argue that it would be against anyones self-interest to cheat in sciencebecause cheating will be caught when someone tries to replicate the experiment and fails. But,in truth, replication is rare in most areas of science. Most scientists want to do something new,and funding agencies rarely provide grants to repeat already published experiments. Even whenreplications are conducted and fail, there are almost always ways to explain the discrepancieswithout suggesting fraud. No experiment can possibly be an exact replication of a previous one.This is especially true in the behavioral sciences. The subjects are different (different people, orrats, or ant colonies), the time in history is different, the ambient conditions (temperature,barometric pressure, color of the walls) are different, and so on. Failure to replicate may well betaken to indicate that the original findings are not as "robust" as previously believed, but it isalmost never taken as evidence of fraud.Even in the case of Henry, where every attempt was made to keep conditions exactly the sameas those in the original experiments, the researchers continued to "explain" the failure, at leastpublicly, in terms of hypothetical changed conditions. They suggested in one article, for example,that the company from which they obtained the rats may have been breeding the animals in away that had altered their behavioral reactions. My guess is that if Henry had remained aliveand had been formally accused of fraud, nobody would have been able to prove it.Proof of fraud in science rarely if ever comes from failure to replicate. It comes, most often,when the perpetrator of the fraud becomes so brazen that he or she fabricates or alters data inways that make the fraud obvious to others. Hauser was caught, apparently, because he beganto pressure his graduate students to get the results he wanted, which led them to becomewhistleblowers, which, in turn, led to an investigation revealing that his recorded data did notmatch that in his published papers. A graduate student complaint also triggered theinvestigation that led to Karen Ruggieros downfall. The student had asked Ruggiero for a copyof the original data for a certain experiment, and Ruggiero had refused. This led the student tosuspect that the data might not exist, which led to the investigation. If Ruggiero had taken thetrouble to produce a false paper record to "support" her falsified experiments, the investigationwould not have happened.Some other scientists have been caught cheating because their fabricated data, quite literally,was too good to be true. There is always a certain degree of random variability in real data, andrepeated data sets that have no or almost no variability are powerful evidence of fabrication.You have to be either very brazen or very stupid to get caught at cheating in science.Over the years a number of surveys have been conducted in which scientists were asked toreport, on an anonymous questionnaire, on their own fraudulent behavior. A recent meta-analysis of those surveys reveals that, on average, about 2% of scientists admitted to fabricatingor falsifying data, and 14% said that they had personal evidence of such behavior in one ormore of their colleagues. The percentage admitting to fraud was highest among scientists doingpharmaceutical, clinical, and other medical research, which either means that researchers inthose fields fabricate lab data more often or lie less often on questionnaires than do researchersin other fields.As the author of the meta-analysis, Daniele Fanelli, points out, the 2% figure is the lowestpossible estimate of the percentage of scientists who have deliberately falsified data. Norespondents would say that they had behaved fraudulently if they hadnt, but many, even on an
anonymous questionnaire, might be expected to lie in the opposite direction. The meta-analysisalso revealed that a full third of the respondents to the surveys admitted to more subtle forms ofscientific cheating, such as failing to report data that contradicted their theories or dropping datapoints from analyses because of a "gut feeling" that they were inaccurate.The purpose of science is to discover truths. Cheating completely defeats the purpose. Why,then, do scientists cheat? In my next post Im going to delve more deeply into this question andsuggest that many so-called scientists are not, in their heads, really scientists. Instead, they arestill students, going through one hoop after another to reach the next level. To them, cheating inscience is just like cheating in school, and "Who doesnt do that?"Critical Thinking Questions- 1. Can you be understanding of Henry’s action in committing suicide? (ie. Was his suicide a reasonable act considering what had happened to him?) 2. Can you compare Henry’s suicide to anyone else? Do you know of anyone else who has committed suicide for a similar reason? 3. Daniel Fanelli states that at least 14 % of scientists have admitted to cheating or observing cheating and the actual number is probably higher. Why do you think scientists cheat? Is it okay? 4. Consider the last sentence, To them, cheating in science is just like cheating in school, and "Who doesnt do that?" Do you agree with these statements? Why or why not? 5. Another big problem in science and other school subjects is plagiarism. Write your opinion on plagiarism in science or other school subjects.
Your titlepage forScience inthe LargerFieldsection
The Kayapo Indians’ Struggle in Brazil By Ava Y. GoodaleThe Kayapó get settled at a rally against a dam on the Xingu River, Brazil. Photo: InternationalRivers.The author’s visit among the Kayapo Indians left a lasting impression.Summer 2003 with the Kayapo Indians of Brazil, a personal account: I was decorated, head totoe, in paint. The city dust tried to fade the colors but I still remembered. I rememberedspending hours in the shade of Baycocaco’s house in a frozen stance as she moved her fingerssteadily, constantly, down my back. The coolness of the paint traced my body, exaggerated thewhiteness of my skin. I practiced a few Kayapo words in between strokes: ‘Mex Kumrex’(beautiful/ good/ thank you), ‘Akatemae’ (good morning), ‘Wea-wea’ (butterfly). She smiled, revealing her aged set of teeth. Welaughed at my attempts but she encouraged me with a hand on my upper chest, a common Kayapo gesture of appreciation. Shepainted vertical stripes with dots on my legs, turned my arms into the scaled pattern of a fish, and highlighted my cheekboneswith crosshatchings. She painted me Kayapo. Painted Kayapo on my belly. Painted Kayapo on my heart. The paint dried. Myskin pulled it down, fastened it, let it seep to the place where I hold it now — deep in my chest.Who are the Kayapo Indians?The tribe lives along the Xingu River in Brazil.The Kayapo Indians are an indigenous tribe inhabiting land on both sides of the Xingu River in the state of Pará, Brazil on theCentral Brazilian Plateau. Nine Kayapo villages are scattered throughout the territory, creating a 28.4 million acre home formore than 5,000 people.1 The dominant ecosystems are tropical rainforest and grassland in which the Kayapo hunt, fish, andpractice swidden agriculture (slash and burn). The Kayapo wear intricate beadwork and headdresses in ceremonies anddecorate their bodies with dye coming from the plants genipapo and urucu. The Kayapo refer to themselves as Mebêngokrê,which means ‘the men from the water place.’How is Kayapo culture at risk?Their livelihood is threatened by pollution, land grabs, and dams. Pollution: Outside the boundaries of the territory, acres of soybean and cattle characterize Brazil’s landscape. The ecological stress from these practices is negatively affecting life for the Kayapo and others. Pollution is traveling from the headwaters of the Xingu downriver to the reserve, contaminating water supplies and food resources. Land Invasion: Parts of the east bank of the Middle Xingu called Kapôtnhinore are being illegally invaded and sold. Over the last two years ranchers and others have sought out the land. Hostile relationships have formed, creating a dangerous and volatile environment and also blocking river travel. Hydroelectric Dams: The Brazilian government has revived a set of plans that will establish dams along the Xingu River. The proposed project would displace Kayapo from their homes, cause a loss of sustenance for those living downstream, disturb fish populations, and damage terrestrial ecosystems.The historyThe river tribes took action against damming in 1989.In 1989 these issues reached a climax. The original plans for damming were exposed, revealing the damages that would occurif such a project were to ensue. The proposals would harm about 3,000 people who live along the Xingu flood more than 1,600 square kilometers, 85% of which would be indigenous land
create the world’s largest manmade lake2The government terminated its plans due to indigenous action.The Kayapo did not passively watch the scene unfold. They took action that would reverberate globally. In the town ofAltamira an intertribal, international, and integrated coalition, called The Peoples of the Xingu, was formed to demonstrateagainst the dams. For five days the town was transformed into a traditional Kayapo village — homes filled with men, women,and children, adorned in ceremonial dress for the New Corn Ceremony, performing their daily tasks. Over 600 Kayapo, 40other indigenous Amazonian tribes, world media members, and non-government organizations (NGOs) representatives shookthe streets until the government pledged to listen. In addition to the demonstration, the Kayapo met with government officialsand sent chiefs to tour North America, Europe, and Japan. 3Through effective leadership and organization the Kayapo presented their culture to the world, showing their vigor and vitality.The global community returned with a voice of support and respect, loud enough to urge the termination of the project. Theunprecedented victory gave hope and empowerment to the region and world.Today’s challengeNow the government has revived its plans.14 years later the government has reopened the book on the Xingu. A second round of proposals are being reviewed and theKayapo plan a second round of defense.Displaced Indians will not be compensated. Electronorte, an electrical utilities company owned by the state, is spearheading this initiative to create the world’s third largest dam.4 The first dam, the Belo Monte, will not be able to operate during the four-month long dry season, making the system inefficient and dependent on the construction of additional dams. A canal system has also been proposed that would be the largest canal project since the Panama Canal. Funding for the proposal comes from Electronorte and private vendors like the Brazilian National Developmental Bank. There will be no compensation to the people who would be displaced or harmed. 5Tribes are again organizing to fight.November 2003 in Piaraçu, Brazil, 100 delegates from some 28 tribes met to reorganize a plan to halt the abuse of their land.6The purpose of this meeting was to form a united front of opposition to the harmful developments that will affect all the peoplewho depend on the Xingu. This meeting was the precursor to a meeting that is planned for summer 2004 in Altamira, whereagain the Kayapo and their friends will raise their voices.As I walked through the streets of Redençao, the out-post city six hours outside the village, I considered my role in the Kayapo’sstruggle. Some of my paint was covered with Kayapo style cloths and jewelry. Some Brazilians in this area hate the Kayapoand admire Americans. Every corner I turned, another confused look settled upon me. My superficially bronzed skin andtouring eyes revealed my home. I was a young American woman stitched in Kayapo. Every patch of my body sent a clearmessage I was proud to post wide.Conclusion: The Xingu River tribes need the support of people everywhere.I now continue with this message: Kayapo Indian culture holds beauty that our world cannot afford to live without. Just as inRedençao, I recognize the privileges I have and with that comes the responsibility to know where and how to apply that energy.The Kayapo need help. The Brazilian government wants to dam the Xingu River that they depend on. Pollution and ranchersencroach; logging and mining chip away. These are some of the challenges faced by the Kayapo Indians as modernity slowlytries to sew itself into their fabric. The Kayapo are strong in leadership, creativity, spirit, and love but without global supportthey may be overcome by the development’s impetus. Before we left the village, the Chief and his son came up to us and askedfor our help. Please hear their words.
Questions- 1. What is the main idea of this reading? What are the supporting ideas? Write a few sentences (1-2) for the main idea AND for EACH supporting idea. 2. How does this article related to Science? Try to identify as many ways as you can. Write a few sentences for each way as follows: One way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) A second way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) A third way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) ETC. * After you finish, be ready to share your answers with one partner. ** Then, be read to share with your group or class. ** Continue to add ideas to you question 2 as follows: One way my classmate, ________’s article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) ETC. HW- Make a special web diagram as follows: 1. Write the word “Science is..” in a circle in the centre of a A4 paper. 2. Add rectangles around your circle from a distance. 3. Write some words from each blank in your question 2 list in your rectangles. 4. Explain underneat each rectangle using some of the explanations you added after your words in the blanks in question 2. You may also include other ideas or details. ** See teacher’s diagram for a helpful illustration to do your HW.
Light Pollution and Ecosystems By Travis Longcore and Catherine RichLife on Earth has evolved for eons with predictable daily, monthly, and annual patterns of light and dark.The physiology and ecology of species, the interactions between species, and functioning of ecosystems isgoverned in part by light. In modern times, humans have developed and deployed extensive outdoor andindoor electrical lighting. The outline of these lights is now visible from space.1 By disrupting naturalpatterns of darkness, artificial light acts as a pollutant, with significant and adverse impacts to ecosystems.Figure: Earth at NightA composite image of the Earth at night in 1994-95. This image is actually a composite of hundreds ofpictures acquired by three of the four DMSP satellites, which operate in low-altitude polar orbits and havethe unique capability to detect low levels of visible-near infrared (VNIR) radiance at night. Image:NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Scientific Visualization Studio.Is light pollution a modern problem?Humans have long known that lights can be used to influence the behavior of other species. For example:Birds can collide with tall lighted structures. Early humans used the light of fire to keep predators at bay. 2 The philosopher Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) observed that moths were attracted to a flame. In modern times, lighthouses and light-ships confused birds during their nocturnal migration, sometimes resulting in collision and demise. As early as the 1880s, scientists remarked, “the destruction of birds by light-houses on the coast of the United States must amount to many 3 thousands annually.” Many observations have been made of birds killed in lighted areas, including the first street 6 lights, tall lighted structures, ceilometers (vertical lights used to measure the altitude of clouds at 7 airports), and television and radio towers (see review in Gauthreaux et al. ). Mortality of sea turtle hatchlings disoriented by lights has been recorded at least since the mid- 4,5 1900s and has motivated research and mitigation as well.
The constellation Orion, imaged at left from dark skies, and at right from the metropolis of Orem, UT,with a population of about half a million people. Photos taken 8 January 2009 by Jeremy Stanley.Types of light pollutionLight pollution is often not aesthetically pleasing. Ecological light pollution has been identified as “artificial light that alters the natural patterns of 8 light and dark in ecosystems.” Astronomical light pollution, which is not the same as ecological light pollution, is light that interferes with the view of the night sky. The general term “light pollution” can also refer to light that is aesthetically disruptive.This time exposure photo of New York City at night, with the Empire State Building at center, shows skyglow, one form of light pollution. Photo taken in October 2004 by Charliebrown7034.Light polluters Light pollution includes sky glow, the reflected light in the sky from artificial lights. Direct glare is a light that is directly visible to an observer at night.Light measurement Illumination is the amount of light energy incident on a particular area. Luminance is the brightness of a light source against its surroundings. Spectrum comprises the different wavelengths in any particular light.
How does light pollution affect wildlife?Loggerhead turtle hatchlings in Broward County, Florida making it to the ocean just after sunrise.Artificial lighting on nesting beaches disrupts the ability of marine turtle hatchlings to find the sea, aneffect termed “hatchling disorientation.” Photo: Mary Wozny, Broward County Sea Turtle ConservationProgram; Sea Turtle Image Library.Some marine animals, such as sea turtles, and insects are disoriented by night lights.OrientationLight is necessary for some species to become familiar with their environments. It can also serve toextend the activity period of species that are mainly active in the daytime. Known as the “night lightniche,”9 the increased activity time may benefit these species, but it comes at the expense of other specieswith which they compete, or on which they prey. Unfortunately, light can also cause disorientation or actas an unnatural stimulus. Sea turtle hatchlings are disoriented by lights along the beaches where femaleslay their eggs4,5 (see review in Salmon10). The attraction of insects to lights is another example of thisphenomenon, which results in the deaths of billions of insects each summer in Germany alone.11ReproductionMany reproductive activities are synchronized by light, or they require specific lighting conditions.Fireflies use lights to attract mates—a communication that artificial lights make less visible.12 Thespawning of corals is highly synchronized with lunar cycles,13 which is a method of “predator swamping”that maximizes the survival of the larvae. Other species, such as some insects and frogs, only mate in thedarkest part of the night, presumably to minimize the risk of predation.14Animals, including humans, have an internal clock.Circadian rhythms and physiology (functions)Animals set their internal clocks based on light cues and light pollution can have weighty consequences.Alterations of the natural pattern of light disrupts “circadian” cycles—a roughly twenty-four-hour cycle inthe biochemical, physiological, or behavioral processes of organisms. In many species, exposure to lightat night suppresses the production of the hormone melatonin. Light in the shorter wavelengths (e.g., blue)is biologically active, and it is most effective at triggering such physiological changes in animals.15 Inhumans, decreased concentration of melatonin is associated with increased risk of breast and prostatecancer.16,17 For species that are normally active at night, such as salamanders,18 sugar gliders,19 and flyingsquirrels,20 encountering light can cause them to delay their nightly activities such as foraging. Light atnight can also influence the timing of physiological changes associated with migration.21CompetitionInteractions between species are affected by lighting conditions. For example, some lizards are successfulin establishing themselves in non-native environments because they have the ability to exploit artificialnight lighting successfully.22 Experimental research has shown the decline of one native gecko species in
Hawaii when it was out-competed by another species in the presence of clustered insect distributionscaused by lights.23 Species can show strong preferences for activity during different light conditions. Wenow know that changing the lighting could increase or decrease competition between species.Some prey species function best at night.PredationAs a general rule, additional light allows predators to find their prey. Some prey species, therefore,evolved to be active only during the dark of night to avoid predators. This pattern is seen across manygroups of organisms, including seals that capture juvenile salmon under artificial lights,24 nocturnalrodents that are exposed to predators in various environments,25 and snakes that reduce activity during thefull moon when they would be vulnerable to predation from owls.26 The exceptions to this rule are speciesthat seek safety from predators in numbers, such as flocks of birds27 or schools of fish.28 In these instances,additional light may benefit the prey species because it heightens their communal awareness of theirenvironment.How can light pollution be addressed?Light pollution requires changing human behavior.Light pollution is simultaneously extremely simple and extremely difficult to remediate. It is simplebecause once a light is switched off or redirected, the pollutant is gone from the system with no expensiveclean-up effort. Because remediation requires changing the behavior of billions of people and overcomingtheir various prejudices and attitudes about darkness and artificial lighting at night, it is extraordinarilydifficult to control. Local and regional ordinances can educate the public, and such regulations have beenshown to address this challenge effectively.10 Efforts to mitigate the effects of light pollution on speciesand habitats should consider five elements of lighting:1. Need Is the light needed? The choice not to light may be appropriate in many circumstances—especially in parks or wilderness areas where visitors are prepared for the darkness. In addition, undermany circumstances, removing existing lights is an option because they were not needed.All light should only illuminate what’s necessary.2. Direction All light should be directed where it is needed, and any light escaping in other directionsshould be eliminated. To reduce sky glow this means using lights that are “full cut-off,” which is definedas a light that emits virtually no light upward and very little light in the 10° angle below the horizon.Depending on where the light is located, additional shielding may be necessary to keep light from spillinginto sensitive habitats such as a wetland or forest. Even lights that are directed downward may still causeadverse effects for ecosystems.3. Intensity Users should only install lights as bright as needed for a particular situation because theinfluence of a light correlates with its intensity. If an existing light is shielded properly, often less light isjust as effective because it is all going where it is desired. For natural areas, intensity should be kept lowso that the contrasts between lit and unlit areas are minimized. This increases overall visibility byallowing the human eye to keep some of its adaptation to the dark. When lights are very bright, the eyeadapts to this brightness and all else appears as dark shadows. When illumination is closer to ambientconditions, the eye is actually able to see more that is not directly illuminated by the light.29Not all lights should shine from dusk to dawn.
4. Duration Not every light needs to be on from dusk to dawn. Lighting can be minimized by setting thefixture to turn off after a certain hour (the Dutch government does this with some of its street lights,30), orby putting the light on a motion sensor so that it is only on when needed. Good practices such as turninglights out when they are not needed could go a long way to minimizing light pollution on private property,not to mention the benefits of reducing pollution from energy production and saving money.5. Spectrum Although all light has some effects on wildlife and habitats, certain spectra are moredamaging. Full spectrum light, which has blue and ultraviolet wavelengths, should not be used. Eventhough such lights allow people to see color at night, the presence of the blue light sends anenvironmental signal that it is daytime. Ultraviolet light is highly attractive to insects and it should beavoided as well. Longer wavelengths such as yellow and red appear to have fewer impacts in general,although even longer wavelengths were shown to disrupt foraging of beach mice18 and the orientation ofsome salamanders.31 In the laboratory, some migratory birds were unable to orient under red lights. Theresearch suggested that green should be used on offshore oil platforms to make it safer to migrate.32Questions- 1. What is the main idea of this reading? What are the supporting ideas? Write a few sentences (1-2) for the main idea AND for EACH supporting idea. 2. How does this article related to Science? Try to identify as many ways as you can. Write a few sentences for each way as follows: One way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) A second way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) A third way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) ETC. * After you finish, be ready to share your answers with one partner. ** Then, be read to share with your group or class. ** Continue to add ideas to you question 2 as follows: One way my classmate, ________’s article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) ETC. HW- Make a special web diagram as follows: 1. Write the word “Science is..” in a circle in the centre of a A4 paper. 2. Add rectangles around your circle from a distance. 3. Write some words from each blank in your question 2 list in your rectangles. 4. Explain underneat each rectangle using some of the explanations you added after your words in the blanks in question 2. You may also include other ideas or details. ** See teacher’s diagram for a helpful illustration to do your HW.
Searching for Natures Medicines By Mark J. PlotkinWhy is biodiversity important to an ethnobotanist?We have no right to destroy species for profit.Plotkin: In the field of ethnobotany, biodiversity is incredibly important for utilitarian purposes, the utility and the potentialutility of these species — both plants and animals. We are talking about usefulness not only to the local peoples that we areworking with and studying but potentially to ourselves as well, in other words, to global culture. But we should take a stepback from that and say that it is important to protect species and biodiversity not just for utilitarian purposes. Conservationreally should be a spiritual exercise first and foremost, a moral exercise. In other words, we don’t have the right to extinguishspecies because of our own stupidity, greed, or ignorance. But when you are talking with hard-pressed development planners,in the third world in particular, and this happens in Washington as well, dollar values can sometimes carry the day.What medicines can be derived from nature?Nature offers medicines, such as painkillers, that can be derived naturally or in combination with chemical synthetics.Plotkin: Well, my new book, Medicine Quest, focuses on the medicines of the future that will be derived from natural productsbeing investigated today. I think the best way to predict the future, no matter what field you are in, is to look at the past andpresent and try and define where we are going. The mistake that a lot of people make, particularly the general public, is thatthey think, “well, we have got all this cool technology, who needs Mother Nature?” Put more crudely: in the age of the Internetwho needs fungi? But the fact of the matter is that, despite the fact that we have the most successful system of science,medicine, and healing ever seen anywhere, there are certain things that western medicine cannot do. So, I think the drugs of thefuture that come from nature are going to be for the treatment of pain first. Some very exciting things are in the pipeline and Igo into some detail in my book particularly about painkillers from cone snails, snake venom, and frog skin poison. We’relooking at new treatments for cancer, from marine organisms in particular, and new antibiotics from natural sources. Antibioticsare incredibly important. I’m increasingly convinced that the major threat to our species is from drug-resistant bacteria. Thesource of almost all classes of antibiotics has been natural sources. I spoke recently with the head of microbiology at HarvardMedical School and he pointed out that new technologies allow us to access 98% of the soil diversity. This was not accessibleusing the old method of throwing something on a petri dish to see if it will grow. I predict that many of the new antibiotics ofthe future will come from soil fungi, as was the case in the past. It’s important to note that this does not deny the importance ofsynthetics or potential synthetics. The two hottest new leads for drug- resistant bacteria that hit the market in the last two yearsare ones that come from Argentine soil fungi and the other from a synthetic chemical laboratory. So it’s not one or the other. It’snatural products, synthetic chemistry, and semi-synthetic products as well.What are governments and organizations doing to preserve naturally-derived medicalresources?Companies that bioprospect for natural products should compensate the local people who have used them in their culture.Plotkin: I think that the whole concept of intellectual property rights boils down to a question of good manners. If you’re goingto compensate local or indigenous people, you want to do so in a culturally sensitive way. But you cannot say, “okay — we’llbe back in twelve years and, if we have the cure for AIDS, you’ll be in the money.” These people have real needs now. Andthose needs need to be addressed, whether its education or access to Western medicine or access to lawyers to gain title to theirtraditional lands. This model is increasingly accepted but the problem is that there’s been so much noise about this that, I think,it frightens some companies off that might be, and I emphasize might be, willing to do things the right way. You have a lotmore emphasis on bioprospecting for natural products that are not used by indigenous or local cultures because, frankly,corporations don’t want the headaches of dealing with them.Which issues are important to your organization, The Amazon Conservation Team?The protection of indigenous knowledge will ensure that we learn about nature’s benefits.
Plotkin: As I point out in my new book, the urgent need is to protect biodiversity and I would say, even more importantly, toprotect cultural diversity because it’s at that nexus where shaministic knowledge and western science interface. If you look atthe country of Suriname in Northeastern South America, where I have done much of my work, there are no indigenous peopleliving in 75% of the national parks. Most of them went extinct from these areas long before these parks were set up. Even ifthere are species in the area that might help us treat or cure something like diabetes, how do we know what they are, what partof the plants to use, what phase of the moon to harvest them in, and what is the dosage? That’s the loss we face when thesecultures disappear. Our concern is not the commercialization of natural products - we are a not-for-profit and do not dobioprospecting. Our focus is to ensure that the traditional knowledge is passed from one generation to the next within the tribe.We are interested in protecting biological and cultural diversity, not in commercial development. Our work entails everythingfrom sponsoring shaman’s apprentice programs to helping our tribal colleagues map their lands.Does genetic engineering threaten the remaining natural resources?We must approach genetic engineering cautiously since we have no idea of its impacts on the environment and our health.Plotkin: Well, genetic engineering is like western medicine. The potential is great but the potential to harm has to berecognized. I don’t think that genetic engineering is going to solve the world’s problems any more than I know thatethnobotany is going to save the rain forests or that the next presidential election will solve all of our economic and povertyproblems in this country. The future may be great for genetic engineering but I want to make sure that it’s safe and effectiveand I don’t want these crops tested on me, or my kids, or my grandkids. I want to make sure they don’t have ancillarydownstream negative effects on the environment before they’re out there. In some cases, it seems that the cart has been putbefore the horse; we’re being told that these things are safe and the next thing you know the butterflies are dying off. No, Iwant more conclusive scientific proof that this stuff is indeed harmless. The upside is very obvious but the downside isbecoming more evident and needs to be addressed before we start eating the stuff.In addition, the jungle is a pretty robust place. I don’t really see anything taking over in the heart of the jungle andoutcompeting the jungle. I haven’t in 20 years. That is not to say I am Pollyannish about it. I just don’t think you could havesome Frankenstein or “frankenfood” that can get in there and make a mess of things. I’m more concerned about places likeIowa or places with large plantations growing this stuff rather than places where it hasn’t really penetrated, for example, intothe rogue corners where I work.Are there places in the world other than the Amazon, for example, the desert, wherenature’s medicines can be found?Rain forests and coral reefs have incredible potential for natural medicines.Plotkin: The hottest regions, in terms of immediate potential, would be rain forests and coral reefs. As I pointed out in my firstbook [Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Amazon Rain Forest], therainforest is one for obvious reasons. My new book shows that coral reefs are drawing even more attention than the rainforest.Now it’s interesting that you mention the desert because the organization that I run is the Amazon Conservation Team but oneof our major programs is in the Sonoran desert. It is headed by my good friend and colleague Gary Nabham. Although this isone of the most difficult and challenging environments on the planet, local and indigenous people have figured out how toecolive from it. One of the ways they’ve been able to do that is by understanding the resources and managing them wisely.Now if you were a plant and want to survive in the desert, you have to be tough and be able to protect yourself. These people’slives depend on knowing this ecosystem. Why not look to them to not only understand it but also to protect and even use it?Can we find an organism in nature that will alleviate the threat of antibiotic resistance?We desperately need to solve the antibiotic resistance crisis and nature may hold the key.Plotkin: I really do believe we’re at a crisis point. There is a bug called Staph aureus that you may have heard of and there is abug that you may or may not have heard of called Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE). If VRE transfers its Vancomycinresistance to Staph aureus, we are toast. It is going to melt the human species like a wax museum on fire. Doctors have gonefrom concerned to worried to verging on frightened in some cases. These are quotes now; I’m not making this up. Wedesperately need new drugs for drug-resistant Staph, drug resistant enterococcus, and all these other drug-resistant bacteria thatare out there, gram negative and gram positive.
It’s interesting that you mention the word “organism” to treat this. We tend to think of antibiotics as things that come frommicrobes. There is an even more exciting, or at least as exciting, development and that is the use of tiny tiny tiny viruses calledbacteriophages. Bacteriophages eat bacteria. They were developed in France and in Soviet Georgia in the 30’s and, guess what,the Russians and Georgians have never stopped using this stuff. There is, in fact, evidence that Russian troops in Chechnya arestill using bacteriophages. Certainly the Soviet soldiers carried them into World War II so it is clear that these things can beeffective. There are several startup companies now in the U.S. and in parts of Europe investigating bacteriophages as a sourceof new treatments for drug-resistant bacteria. They are claiming phenomenal rates of success. So it’s that mixture of nature andscience, which promises so much for the future.Does nature have many more secrets for us to unravel?Conclusion: Biodiversity education is very important since there is still much to discover in nature.Plotkin: Yes and that is there’s so much to be learned from biodiversity. I run into kids that feel, “Oh well, the world is alreadyexplored and there’s nothing left to do. Maybe we have to go to other planets to do this stuff.” They need to know that newtechnologies make it possible to explore realms of our world, whether it’s deep-sea vents or soil fungi, in ways never beforepossible. We need to get kids excited about science and biodiversity because, if they’re not, they will go into fields like thecomputer sciences, thinking that’s where the action or money is. Bringing this knowledge not only to schoolchildren but also topeople who have an even shorter attention span, like Congress, is extremely important.Questions- 1. What is the main idea of this reading? What are the supporting ideas? Write a few sentences (1-2) for the main idea AND for EACH supporting idea. 2. How does this article related to Science? Try to identify as many ways as you can. Write a few sentences for each way as follows: One way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) A second way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) A third way this article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) ETC. * After you finish, be ready to share your answers with one partner. ** Then, be read to share with your group or class. ** Continue to add ideas to you question 2 as follows: One way my classmate, ________’s article relates to science is ________________________. --> Then Explain more. (tell how or why, give examples or other details, etc.) ETC. HW- Make a special web diagram as follows: 1. Write the word “Science is..” in a circle in the centre of a A4 paper. 2. Add rectangles around your circle from a distance. 3. Write some words from each blank in your question 2 list in your rectangles. 4. Explain underneat each rectangle using some of the explanations you added after your words in the blanks in question 2. You may also include other ideas or details. ** See teacher’s diagram for a helpful illustration to do your HW.
A Case Study: Nanotechnology It’s a Small World Indeed Written by Kelli HazzardOverviewAnd you thought the Jetson’s and Star Trek were science fiction! Imagine being able torearrange the atoms from your trash to make a steak or being able to turn coal into a diamond!Although these things may seem far-fetched they really point to the current and future frontiersof science. You may ask how such things are possible and the answer is Nanoscience andNanotechnology (NT). As the prefix implies, ‘nano’ refers to science and technology on a scalethat is very, very small – less than 100nanometers (to put it in perspective, a human hair measures about 80,000 nanometers indiameter!). More specifically, nanoscience is the study of phenomena and their effects on theproperties of material at atomic, molecular and macromolecular levels, where properties differsignificantly from those at a larger scale. Nanotechnologies (also referred to as molecularmanufacturing) refers to the design, characterization, production and application of structures,devices and systems that exploit the effects by controlling shape and size and properties.Nanoscience and nanotechnology encompass a range of techniques rather than a singlediscipline, and stretch across the whole spectrum of science, touching medicine, physics,engineering and chemistry. “The dream of nanotechnology is to build things theway nature does, atom by atom and molecule by molecule (Bow, 2005).” The technologyinvolves developing tiny electromechanical devices in order to manipulate material at the atomiclevel. The general idea is that everything is made up of atoms whose properties are based onhow these atoms are arranged. For example, the air we breathe is composed primarily ofoxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen and these elements can be found in countless physicalproducts. Conceivably, nanoscience could determine the properties that would result fromparticular arrangements of atoms and thennanotechnology will take these fundamental atomic building blocks and physically rearrangethem into different products, materials, and technologies. Nanocomputers (no bigger thanbacteria) and nanomachines (nanites) could become molecular assemblers and dis-assemblersthat build, repair, or tear down any physical or biological objects.“Nanotechnology is the way ofingeniously controlling the building of small and large structures, with intricate properties; it isthe way of the future, a way of precise, controlled building, with incidentally, environmentalbenignness built in by design.”(Ronald Hoffmann Cornell University, Chemistry Nobel Prize Winner). Working on the nanoscale is not a new concept. In 1959, physicist Richard Fenman, imagined an individual couldwrite the whole of Encyclopedia Britannica on the head of a pin. Feynman is credited as the firstindividual to imagine and write about the possibility of manipulating material at the scale ofindividual atoms and molecules. "The principles of physics, as far as I can see, do not speakagainst the possibility of maneuvering thingsatom by atom (Feynman, 1959)." However, the ability to achieve this ‘maneuvering’ wasn’trealized until more recently because of advances in microscopy such as the scanning tunnelingmicroscope (STM) developed in 1981, optical tweezers, and electron beam techniques.There are two significant factors that make nano-materials so appealing and potentially powerful.One factor is that the smaller the object, the higher its surface-tovolume ratio (the reason whywe have so many cells in our body!) and this makes nanoparticles more reactive, more powerfulas catalysts, and more sensitive to sensors.
In addition, as the size of matter is reduced, quantum effects become important and cansignificantly change a material’s optical, magnetic, or electrical properties. Nanotechnology isabout having the tools to work on the molecular level in the same way we have tools to work atthe macro-world level.Sounds Cool But, What Really is the Big Deal?Advances in nanotechnology could have applications in materials, electronics,information/communication technology, and medicine. Some individuals close to the technologybelieve this field is almost limitless in its potential and espouse it could reform society as weknow it by:Meeting global energy needs with clean energy solutions – ability to create‘indestructible’ solar cells that could be painted on surfaces and production of fuel withoutpollutionHealing the environment – nanorobots could sweep the oceans, disassembling pollutants anddecontaminating water, while other could scrub the air in a similar fashion and still others couldrestore forests and speciesIncreasing the health and longevity of human life – ability to develop nanorobots that canrepair the body at the cellular level – AIDS, cancer, wrinkles, arthritis and even genetic diseasescould be a thing of the past, drug developmentIntroduction of new materials and manufacturing - virtually anything allowed by the laws ofnature could be manufactured without labor or polluting factories. “Smart materials” that arestrong, light and with the ability to assemble and repair and restore themselves. Eric Drexlerprovides the image of a rocket engine that not only repairs itself but changes shape like muscletissue as different requirements of thrust, force, and aerodynamics come into play.Disassemblers would include naturaltools like enzymes, ions and free radicalsMaximizing the productivity of agriculture – food could be grown to feed the world that doesn’trequire as much space or inputs (fertilizers, insecticides)Making powerful information/communication technology available everywhere – size would besmall and there would be no need for infrastructure therefore extremely small and powerfulcomputers will be cheap and abundant, available to even the poorest people.Enabling the development of space – because of the size, nanotechnology would be verycheap to send into space. Conceivably, advanced nano-devices could quickly prepare planetsfor human occupation by building structures, changing the composition of the atmosphere orperforming other critical tasks; while nanomedicine could customize the human body for spacetravel and perhaps even for tolerating other atmospheres.Nanotechnology TodayAlthough it will still be some time before nanotechnology revolutionizes a variety ofapplications and as predicted, our way of life, there have already been some significantadvances: