There’s gold in your brain — we now know where it came from

The answer is surprisingly simple, if cataclysmic.

Image source: tomertu/BravissimoS/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • A unique, tiny grain of stardust has provided a look at the early universe.
  • Computer simulations point to a single neutron-star collision as a significant source of heavy metals.
  • Gold is more than bling — it's in our neurons.
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Surprising Science

What would alternate, alien forms of life look like?

All life as we know it relies on carbon and water. But researchers speculate this doesn't have to be the case.

Photo credit: JR Korpa on Unsplash
  • Life on Earth (and therefore all life we know) relies on carbon and water.
  • Carbon and water make for excellent ingredients when making life, but many other elements could serve in their place under the right conditions.
  • What are these alternative forms of life and under what conditions could they flourish?
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Surprising Science

New hope for cancer patients: Studies identity whether you will respond to chemotherapy or not

Two new studies might have identified whether or not patients will respond to chemotherapy.

Mitchell Xayapraseuth receives chemotherapy at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska in April 2012. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News/MCT via Getty Images)
  • Using radiomics, two new studies identified whether patients would respond to chemotherapy or not.
  • This breakthrough occurred by investigating tissue around the tumor, instead of only looking at the tumor itself.
  • This could lead to the cessation of much suffering for patients that will not respond to chemo.
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Surprising Science
  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed 'Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.
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Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
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Surprising Science