Archive for October, 2009
Raghavendra Gadagkar, social insects biologist, writes:
I believe that most working scientists should spend part of their time explaining and discussing their work with a larger audience. There are at least three important reasons for this. One is that science needs to become an integral and essential part of society and not be perceived as an outside force that is at loggerheads with society. Second, scientists need to recruit the best young minds to make up the next generation and that can only happen if we devote time to communicate with the general public. Third, I have no doubt it will help us appreciate our own work better.
- That would be the other Keller, mind you. ↩
The lateral eyes of adult insects (and most Arthropods) known as compound eyes, are like no other visual organs found in animals. You can think of our vertebrate eye as a simplified, one-lens photographic camera with a sensor composed of millions of light sensitive cells (and a blind spot, mind you). Well, that’s nothing. Each insects eye is composed of several small photographic cameras, each with its own lens and light sensitive cells (albeit, commonly only six of these). These units are called ommatidia (sing. ommatidium), and the image if formed by the combined information from all of them.1
- To be honest, I have never know if this visual organ is called compound eye because it is composed of several ommatidia or because each ommatidium is composed of several elements. This has never disturb my sleep though. ↩
Hail Queen of Formicidae, ruler of all ant species! (that’s 12,591 species as of today if you ask)
Over at Evolving Thoughts, the mighty white gorilla from the Antipodes (that sometimes goes under the nom de plume John Wilkins) has paused from his grand World Tour 2009 to write a nice and succinct reflection on the nature of concepts and definitions in Biology. He writes:
We ought not to think that a conception or definition or hypothesis that works in one part of biology must work in all others, and yet biologists themselves often behave as if this were true. That is another challenge: why is this? The answer, I believe, is that biology is both highly diverse, and also massive.
Read the rest in his post: Counterintuition: Bdelloid Rotifers « Evolving Thoughts.
- Tom Waits