#siddartha mukherjee
BunsenBwog

Alchemy is not Science

When they’re not headbanging or answering our inane questions, Columbia faculty enjoy getting dirty in the lab. Bwog takes a moment to look back on this week in science. Headlines were compiled by our Blip-Spotter-Spotter-in-Chief Ricky Raudales.

In a lengthy New York Times piece, Siddhartha Mukherjee, self-proclaimed biographer of cancer (and Pulitzer Prize winner!), tackles overreaching claims that link cell phone radiation to brain cancer. Though perhaps not carcinogenic, cell phone radiation can still apparently cause bright orange splotches to appear in your brain.

Columbia and University of France researchers have identified an antagonist known as ANA-12 that could potentially be used to treat anxiety and depression. In a recent, unpublished, non-scientific, non-peer-reviewed study, Bwog found that sunshine on the steps of Low makes Columbia students happier.

The Gray Lady recently dropped by Pupin to join in the latest data-crunching search for dark matter. While nothing was immediately apparent, the appearance of three blips on a computer screen (compared to the usual two due to background microwave radiation) left researchers hopeful for more blips in the future.

Columbia and NASA have teamed up to make space travel less stressful for astronauts, enlisting some of our architecture students in the redesign of future spacecraft interiors. Or, you know, they could just steal the space-agey furniture from NoCo.

Painting by a bank clerk via Wikimedia Commons

Pulitzers Galore

An award, not of the Pulitzer variety

If you read the Iliad, you know that people have been giving each other prizes for quite some time. Today the Pulitzer Prize Board announced its winners for 2011. While there is no Pulitzer category for archery, the Board decided that two books from notable Columbia professors hit the mark.

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History, won the prize for history with his book The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. At this point, it is impossible to tell if Foner’s scholarly work benefitted from the Colbert Bump. While that analysis is pending, we direct you to our in-depth coverage of the book’s launch event last October. This is not the only award Foner has picked up for his most recent book—he won the 2011 Bancroft Prize (his second) as well.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, Assistant Professor of Medicine, won the prize for general nonfiction with his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. The book, which traces the diagnoses and treatments of cancer from ancient times through the present, has landed on numerous top 10 lists since its release last year, garnering praise for its literary, as well as scientific, merit.

The full list, including Columbia alum Zhou Long, is after the jump!

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