It just wouldn’t be Thursday if The Huffington Post didn’t announce the launch of a new section. This time the latest addition to the HuffPost lineup is Huffpost Science: “a one-stop shop for the latest scientific news and opinion, [f]rom the farthest reaches of space to the tiniest cells inside our bodies,” according to Arianna Huffington, in a lengthy personalized introduction to the site.
David Freeman, whose previous gig was at CBSNews.com, will be editing the section.
Huffington’s full ode to science and her new site posted in full after the jump.
I’m delighted to announce the launch of our newest section, HuffPost Science, a one-stop shop for the latest scientific news and opinion. From the farthest reaches of space to the tiniest cells inside our bodies, HuffPost Science will report on the world’s greatest mysteries, most cutting-edge discoveries, and most thought-provoking ideas.
The section will also be home to a robust debate on issues great and small — from the Big Questions of our time (are we alone in the universe?), to quirky, fun ones (will they ever create a pill that will let me eat all the pistachio ice cream I want and not gain weight?) There’s no better time than now to launch a venue that explores these questions, given the explosion of truly medieval thinking in our world — and not just on the fringes. It’s a world in which we have senators and presidential candidates who don’t believe in evolution and who think that global warming is a myth. A world in which politicians don’t just have their own set of ideas but their own set of facts.
Science is a subject that has fascinated me for years. I remember, in the mid-70s, being taken by Bernard Levin to meet Arthur Koestler at his flat in London. I had just read his book, The Act of Creation, on the inspirations that propelled great scientists. Koestler, who described scientists as Peeping Toms at the keyhole of eternity, talked about scientific equations with the ease most of us discuss what we had for dinner (or, if you are a HuffPost regular, the Iowa results). I still remember his lyrical analysis of Einstein’s breakthrough equation, E=mc2. The equation’s assurance that nothing in the universe is unrelated to anything else had a real emotional impact on him — as it soon did on me. An emotional impact not usually associated with scientific equations.
It’s the sense of wonder we so often see in our children. I still recall lying on the grass with my then four and two-year-old daughters one night outside our home in Santa Barbara, and Christina looking out into the night sky and asking, “Mommy, what makes it go?” That sense of wonder will be at the core of HuffPost Science. We will explore timeless questions and we will allow our minds to be blown by what is mind-blowing and awe-inspiring.
In keeping with the E=mc2 rule that nothing is unrelated, much of HuffPost Science’s coverage will take a scientific look at stories that cross over into our other sections — from Technology, Green, and Health to Politics, Business, and Sports. You’ll not only find the latest news about robots, computers and space travel, but will also encounter offbeat musings on topics you might not immediately associate with scientific exploration, like romantic love, war, or football.
I’m particularly looking forward to HuffPost Science’s coverage of one of my longtime passions: the intersection of science and religion, two fields often seen as contradictory — or at least presented that way by those waging The War on Science. A key part of HuffPost Science’s mission will be to cut through the divisions that have resulted from that false war.
Rather than taking up arms in those misguided, outdated battles, HuffPost Science will work in the tradition of inquisitive minds that can accommodate both logic and mystery. It’s a tradition exemplified by Brown University biology professor Kenneth Miller, who, when I visited with him last year, told me that he sees Darwin not as an obstacle to faith but as “the key to understanding our relationship with God.”
At its core, HuffPost Science will be a place for all of us, no matter our beliefs or leanings, to zero in on traits we have in common — especially our thirst for knowledge, and our boundless curiosity. I’m drawn back to my memories of researching my book The Fourth Instinct in the early 1990s, a task that brought me into contact with some of history’s greatest scientists — brilliant thinkers who not only never lost their own childlike capacity for wonder, but recognized it as the foundation of their scientific work.
There was Einstein, who said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” And the Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who, more than a century before my daughters and I had lain on the Santa Barbara grass, described his own earliest memory as “lying on the grass, looking at the sun and wondering.”
Among the original stories we’re featuring today: Lynne Peeples on how scientists are looking to nature for ideas on solving complex environmental and public health problems; Tom Zeller on the Johns Hopkins scientists pushing for adoption of a new calendar that would “stabilize” the current calendar and ease the problems it causes; and Kimberly Brooks on artists whose work stands at the intersection of science and art.
HuffPost Science will be anchored by our Science Correspondent Cara Santa Maria, whose “Talk Nerdy to Me” video series will change the way you look at everyday things, from what your brain looks like during an orgasm to the many ways our bodies are rejuvenated by a good night’s sleep. Today’s topic: “In vitro meat: Will ‘Frankenfood’ save the planet or just gross out consumers?”
And be sure to check out our launch day blog posts, including Richard Branson on how space travel will lead to broader scientific innovation and discovery; Buzz Aldrin on walking on the moon with Neil Armstrong; X-PRIZE Foundation founder Peter Diamandis on why the future is a lot brighter than you might think; Max Tegmark on the end of the universe, or what he calls the “Big Snap”; astronomer Seth Shostak on why the era of “heroic exploration” on Earth and in space isn’t dead; psychologist Sam Sommers on the science of beauty; and physicist Lisa Randall on the familiar question, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
HuffPost Science is edited by David Freeman, who comes to HuffPost from CBSNews.com, where he was managing editor of the health section. A Yale grad, David has written extensively for WebMD, Men’s Health, Consumer Reports, Popular Mechanics, and other sites and magazines.
So, find a spot on the virtual grass and wonder along with us. HuffPost Science may or may not provide the answer to my daughter Christina’s question, “What makes it go?” But the point is to keep asking.
As always, please use the comments section to let us know your thoughts, whether about the mysteries of the universe or how we can improve the section.