Living Lab on The Point

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Living Lab on The Point is a forum for the stories behind science headlines — the people who do the research, the unexpected ways that science gets done, and how the results make their way into our everyday lives.

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Living Lab host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Host and producer Dr. Heather Goldstone.
Credit Maura Longueil

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Living Lab on The Point is Produced by Dr. Heather Goldstone. The Executive Producer is Mindy Todd.

Major support for the Living Lab is provided by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and The Kendeda Fund. Additional support is provided by Lee McGraw and the Elizabeth B. McGraw Foundation.

Hibernating black bear mother and cubs.
National Park Service

Hibernation is far more than a long winter's nap. It's more akin to a coma, with heart rate, breathing, metabolism, and consciousness all dramatically reduced, if not suspended. Steve Swoap is among those who think understanding hibernation could help doctors treat victims of trauma or stroke.

Beaches along Delaware Bay are hotspots for horseshoe crab spawning each spring.
Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve

You can't be everything to everybody. The decline of horseshoe crabs is an example of why not.

Horseshoe crabs are bizarre-looking and slow-moving, sometimes called living fossils. In fact, these ancient animals aren't really crabs, at all. More like horseshoe scorpions or horseshoe ticks, if you want to be evolutionarily correct.

In The Abandoned Barn
Courtesy of Jennifer Morgan

You've heard of being snowed in. For that matter, you've probably experienced it more than once in recent months. Well, artist Jennifer Morgan got snowed out of her studio this winter. She took the opportunity to try something new, and the result is In The Abandoned Barn, a beautiful, new children's nature book.

Naomi Oreskes' work as a science historian has pulled back the curtain on a small group of scientists and others who have deliberately worked to obscure the true risks of tobacco smoke, CFCs (remember the ozone hole?), and greenhouse gas emissions. Now, she and co-author Erik Conway have turned to science fiction to spread their message about the urgent need to address climate change. Living Lab had a few questions about that choice.

Naomi Oreskes
Wikimedia Commons

Science historian Naomi Oreskes stumbled upon what has become one of the most contentious facts of our time: the nearly unanimous consensus that humans are causing climate change. She subsequently uncovered a small group of scientists who’ve helped sew doubt about climate change, the ozone hole, even the link between smoking and lung cancer.

A mother sperm whale and her calf.
Gabriel Barathieu / Flickr

No one has hunted whales in American waters for decades, but scientists continue to chase them in pursuit of data and understanding. Now, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is adding this distinctly modern chapter to their repertoire with the world's most comprehensive collection of whale sounds.

Andreas Cellarius, illustration of the Copernican system, from the "Harmonia Macrocosmica" (1660).
Wikimedia Commons

The more we know, the harder it is to be groundbreaking. The burden of knowledge is changing the way we work, and who drives innovation.

Tom Kleindinst / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


The past fifty years have seen enormous advances for women in science-related careers, but equity in the top ranks of academia remains elusive.

Jason Padgett's representation of Pi.
Courtesy of Jason Padgett

Each year, on March 14th, math afficianados everywhere celebrate Pi Day. For Jason Padgett, though, every day is Pi Day.

We track the prices of everything from crude oil to milk for clues about the state of the economy. But what could they tell us about the environment?