Prove or disprove: A Nobel Prize winner’s approach to science

Whether the data prove you right or wrong, it's crucial to ask: what else is it telling me?

  • In 2018, Dr. Jim Allison was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering an effective way to attack cancer through immunology.
  • In his lab, Allison urges researchers to get rid of the idea that they can prove something with science. All they can do is fail to disprove.
  • Jim Allison is the subject of Jim Allison: Breakthrough, a documentary narrated by Woody Harrelson that brings filmmakers and scientists together to tell the story of a Nobel Prize-winning cancer discovery that changed the world. In cinemas September 27th, 2019.
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Nom-nom or dinner call? Silverbacks sing as they eat.

Dominant wild silverbacks wax musical with their mouths full.

Image source: Grant Tiffen/Shutterstock
  • Recent recordings of gorillas singing as they eat add the species to a lengthening list of musical eaters in the animal kingdom.
  • Two types of songs have been recorded: a hum, and, well, gorilla improv.
  • It's suspected that spoken language may begin with songs.
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Snakes with hind legs were the old normal

A tiny, perfectly preserved 3D fossil from Argentina tells us more about an early snake.

Illustration: Raúl Gómez
  • It turns out legs, and least back legs, were no passing fancy for some serpents.
  • Hind legs were found on Najash snakes, a bridge species between lizards and snakes.
  • A new study provides several new insights into Najash rionegrina.
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Is the universe controlled by gigantic structures?

The idea that celestial objects exist within utterly immense cosmic structures is becoming inescapable.

Image source: Mike Rosecope/procy/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • New findings in astronomy are making some astronomers doubt our basic model of the universe.
  • Alignments of celestial objects suggest that they may be embedded in large-scale structures.
  • Galaxies too far apart to be influencing each other are moving through space together.
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Meet Stella — the pup who knows how to use 29 human words

"What a shock," said no dog lover ever.

  • A speech language pathologist has taught her puppy Stella to use 29 words.
  • Stella "speaks" by stepping on large buttons programmed with recordings of words.
  • The dog expresses her desires, comments on household events, and offers opinions.
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