What Is the Meaning of Life?

For Sir Paul Nurse, Creativity and Community Are Essential Building Blocks

What does it take to create meaning in our lives? According to Sir Paul Nurse, a Nobel laureate geneticist and author of What Is Life?, supporting family and community as well as improving the world for others are key to fulfillment.

Nurse, currently the founding director and CEO of the Francis Crick Institute, visited Zócalo yesterday with Caltech developmental biologist Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, author of The Dance of Life, for a conversation that reflected on his scientific and philosophical insights into human life throughout his career as a geneticist. The Zócalo/Caltech event …

Is It Possible to Be Just Terrified Enough This COVID Halloween? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Is It Possible to Be Just Terrified Enough This COVID Halloween?

A Biologist of Animal Behavior Explains Why This Primordial Emotion Can Help Guide Us Through an Especially Spooky Season

It’s Halloween, the season when we go out and try to spook each other—at least in normal years. Indeed, fears of contracting and spreading the novel coronavirus have drastically impacted …

An Intimate Portrait of a Coronavirus | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

An Intimate Portrait of a Coronavirus

Biologist David Goodsell Uses Watercolors to Explore Viruses and Cells Molecule by Molecule

Humans have probably always known about what viruses can do: throughout the ages, people have endured the familiar sniffles of a cold, the tell-tale rashes of measles, the occasional devastation …

What One New England Tree Can Tell Us About the Earth’s Future

By Studying a Single Massachusetts Oak, I Recorded How Climate Change Is Confusing Nature

Trees are up to more than we think. Belying their image as mute, unmoving, and solitary, trees are not just standing there. They move. Breathe. Communicate. Politically astute and nimbly …

Why Fruit Flies Are the New Lab Rats

These Quick-Breeding Insects Have Similar Genetic Cellular Functions as Humans

Set out a bowl of fruit, and they will arrive: small, buff-colored flies with garnet eyes and an attraction to fermenting bananas. Annoying but not harmful, they are easy to …