Big Firsts for the Solar System & for MSW: This and More in Our Picks of the Week

[24 - 28 March 2014] The editors’ note about your science week

This week in science news saw asteroids gaining rings, the edge of the Solar System potentially extended, and MyScienceWork taking off for Silicon Valley. Read all about it in our selection of the week.

This week, science news saw asteroids gaining rings, the edge of the Solar System potentially extended, and MyScienceWork taking off for Silicon Valley. Read all about it in our selection of the week.

Credit: Scott S. Sheppard: Carnegie Institution for Science

This week, on the MyScienceWork menu:

First things first: today marks the launch of European Women Researchers Day, an initiative aimed at improving gender balance in science with workshops and other opportunities to help women researchers advance in their career. The launch event is happening in Paris, so MyScienceWork will be on the scene and tweeting (#EWRD), but you can also watch and participate online. You’ll find the details in:

Today! Tomorrow, European Women Researchers Day Launches in Paris

Many other projects are underway around the world to assist women in science, or to help get them there in the first place. We interviewed the engaging Mayana Zatz about some of her favorites. Her answers involved “scientific dowries” and the São Paulo public transport system…

[Video] From subway posters to old-fashioned marriages: Mayana Zatz on the promotion of science

Maybe in your city, too, there’s something thought provoking happening in the subway, but don’t stay down there too long. The sun, it seems, has many more effects on our brain than you might think. This even goes for fetuses and blind people! Take a look at some of the research in:

The Sun Shines Bright on Your Brain

And for some members of the MyScienceWork team, more sun is in the forecast: we’ve been accepted at the Plug and Play Tech Center in Silicon Valey for a 3-month program. California, here we come!

MyScienceWork to Set Up Shop in Silicon Valley

 

Some favorites from around the web:

Last week’s big news – results possibly showing the first direct evidence for inflation and the Big Bang – has this week been called into question. But that’s ok, that’s science at work. Find out where some cosmologists see a problem in:

Cosmologists cast doubt on inflation evidence

Don’t feel bad if proof of the Big Bang is yet to come, because there may be not only a new dwarf planet beyond Pluto, but possibly another giant, too!

New Dwarf Planet Redefines Edge of Our Solar System

And not only that, but:

Icy Chariklo asteroid has ring system

 

If that last story had been illustrated with a sexy model posing on the surface of asteroid Chariklo, neuroscientist and blogger Dean Burnett would have had something to say about it.

Sexed-up science news - reporting the story gets in the way of a good fact

Although “sex sells”, maybe placing science in its historical context is a better way to get students hooked. Andrew Holding thinks so.

My best science lesson: why history is essential to engage students

When looking at the history of popular science itself, the question arises:

Why Are There So Few Women Science Popularizers?

 

In energy news,

Nanostructures enhance light trapping for solar fuel generation.

Plus, at a summit in The Hague, with the goal of countering the threat of nuclear terrorism, several countries agreed to reduce their stockpile:

Japan, Belgium and Italy reduce their stockpiles of nuclear material

 

In a category on its own, filed under "Cool", a step forward has been made in translating the language of dolphins! Algorithms are used to detect patterns in their whistles and could also reveal information about primate communication.

Dolphin whistle instantly translated by computer