12 incredible women you’ve never heard of who changed science forever.

Sure, most people have heard of Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, Jane Goodall and Sally Ride.

But for every female scientist whose work has been recognized and celebrated, there are thousands who have been accidentally or purposefully forgotten.

For a few, that might change, thanks to a beautiful new book, “Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World,” by artist Rachel Ignotofsky.

While she highlights some of the classic women in science, she’s also profiled some less familiar faces – and discoveries.

Here are a dozen of our favorites.

Meghan Bartels wrote an earlier version of this post.

Florence Bascom: Helped us understand how mountains form

Florence Bascom (1862-1945) discovered her love for geology on a childhood trip with her father and a geologist friend of his.

She worked for the US Geographical Survey, particularly specializing in the Piedmont Plateau between the Appalachians and the Atlantic coastal plain. She was voted one of the top 100 geologists in 1906 in an edition of a magazine called, ironically, American Men of Science.

In addition to her research, she also taught several important geologists of the next generation at Bryn Mawr College.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas: Championed the ecological importance of The Everglades

President Clinton talks with Marjory Stoneman Douglas after presenting her with a Medal of Freedom.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998) moved to Miami to write for the Herald, where her father worked. She left to work for the Red Cross during World War I, then returned to the Herald before branching out on her own as a writer.

She was able to see the value and importance of the Everglades despite finding them “too buggy, too wet, too generally inhospitable.” She wrote a book called “The Everglades: Rivers of Grass,” which raised awareness about the threats the ecosystem faced.

She successfully led the opposition to an Army Corps of Engineers planthat would have reduced flooding but destroyed the Everglades. In addition to conservation, she also fought for women’s rights and racial justice.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin: Figured out what the Sun was made of

Celia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979) was the astronomer who discovered that the sun is made of hydrogen and helium.

She went to college in Britain for botany, then attended by chance a lecture given by a prominent physicist, which she found so intriguing she changed fields (the lecturer, Arthur Eddington, became an important mentor for her). She moved across the Atlantic to study at Harvard, where she spent the rest of her career.

Her dissertation was called “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.” In addition to our sun, she also studied variable stars, taking more than a million photographs of them with her team.

Rita Levi-Montalcini: Made a breakthrough in understanding the nervous system

Rita Levi-Montalcini celebrating her one hundredth birthday in Rome.

Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012) was the first Nobel Prize winner to reach the age of 100. Born in Italy, she talked her father into letting her study medicine.

During the Jewish persecution and World War II, she had to leave her university and eventually flee to the countryside with her family, but she kept working on science, dissecting chick embryos.

After the war, she moved to the US, where she discovered nerve growth factor, which guides the development of the nervous system. She later became an Italian senator for life.

Chien-Shiung Wu: Helped figure out how to enrich uranium

Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) grew up in China, then moved to the US for her PhD studies.

She was recruited by the Manhattan Project during World War II. During her interview for the top-secret work, she was able to guess what they were researching from an equation left on a blackboard.

She helped figure out how to enrich uranium to fuel nuclear bombs. She was snubbed by the Nobel Prize committee for her work showing that nature isn’t always symmetrical. (The Prize was awarded to two men who first floated the idea, even though she was the one who proved itexperimentally.)

Katherine Johnson: Calculated Apollo 11’s flight path to the moon

President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Katherine Johnson.

Katherine Johnson (1918- ) did the math that launched the manned Mercury mission into orbit around the Earth and calculated the flight path for the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon.

She also helped write the first textbook about space.

As a child, she loved to count – and from that springboard she graduated college at 18 and spent three decades at NASA.

Rosalyn Yalow: Developed a technique that tests for diabetes, birth defects, and more

Rosalyn Yalow (1921-2011) spent most of her life in New York City. She and her lab partner developed a technique for studying hormones that is still used today, called radioimmunoassay.

They used the process to differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It can also determine whether an unborn child has certain birth defects and to make sure the supplies in blood banks are clean.

Esther Lederberg: Discovered that bacteria mutate randomly

Esther Lederberg (1922-2006) studied bacteria and viruses, helping her work by inventing a technique called replica plating, which made it easy to study certain bacterial colonies across a set of Petri dishes.

The technique contributed to a Nobel Prize for her husband.

From this work, she confirmed that bacteria mutate randomly, including acquiring resistance to particular antibiotics before ever having been exposed to that particular chemical.

She also discovered a type of virus called a lambda phage, which lies low in a cell until the cell is going to die from other causes. It’s now used as a model for human viruses like herpes and tumor viruses.

Annie Easley: Helped write the code behind the Centaur rocket system

Annie Easley (1933-2011) planned to become a nurse, but was inspired to work for the precursor of NASA when she read an article about local twin sisters who worked there as human computers.

She became first a mathematician and then a computer programmer, working particularly on the code for the Centaur rocket launcher and navigation system.

She also tutored inner-city children (she had previously helped neighbors learn to pass Jim Crow voting tests) and worked on energy issues.

Patricia Bath: Invented a device that removes cataracts

A recent science fair presentation about Patricia Bath.

Patricia Bath (1942- ) invented a device for removing cataracts that fog people’s vision.

She also created the field of community ophthamology, which combines public health outreach with ophthamology. The strategy reduces rates of preventable vision loss, particularly in lower-income neighborhoods.

The organization she founded, the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, provides vitamin A eye drops to newborns.

May-Britt Moser: Discovered how our brains make mental maps

May-Britt Moser talked with Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Nobel banquet in 2014.
May-Britt Moser (1963- ) helped discover grid cells, special nerve cells in the brain that create mental maps of places we’ve been – work that won the Nobel Prize.

As a psychologist in Norway, she began studying the brains of rats, particularly as they completed mazes. She has also studied how the brain filters out unnecessary information to focus on particular issues and what happens when your brain thinks you’re somewhere you aren’t.

May-Britt Moser

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi: Helped determine the cause of AIDS

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi (1947- ) is a French scientist who helped discover HIV and determine that the virus causes AIDS.

She had been studying retroviruses and was asked to join a team looking to determine whether AIDS was caused by one (it is, as she determined in two weeks).

She then researched how the immune system responds to HIV and AIDS in hopes of finding a cure. Although she retired last year, she is still outspoken in encouraging the world to rally against AIDS and fight the stigma surrounding the disease.

And so many more …

Tech Insider learned about all of these women from Rachel Ignotofsky’s beautiful book, “Women in Science,” which features full profiles of 50 scientists, plus tidbits on women in science more generally – not to mention gorgeous illustrations.

She also compiled a great list of resources for learning more about any of these scientists.



David Oliver: Getting real about care closer to home.

There’s a growing consensus about how we must change to ensure sustainable future health services. Its essence is: let’s focus more on public health, prevention, and wellbeing; enhance primary and wider community support for people with long term conditions; and, during acute crises, help patients spend less time in hospitals—or none at all—repurposing resources and staff away from hospital buildings.

In England we see such ambitions and rhetoric in political pronouncements and in key documents such as the NHS Five Year Forward View,1 sustainability and transformation plans (STPs),2 and position papers from professional organisations.34

These grand ideas aren’t new, but they remain unmatched by grand actions. This isn’t surprising, when service leaders must balance imagined future benefits against tangible current pressures in broke, full acute hospitals—admitting that they can no longer hit high profile and politically sensitive performance targets.5

These grand ideas aren’t new, but they remain unmatched by grand actions

The health announcements in the chancellor’s March 2017 spring budget further exposed this dissonance.6 First, Philip Hammond promised an extra £100m for GPs based in emergency department triage—even though upstream conventional primary care, with the potential to help keep patients away from them, is experiencing workforce and workload crises and has 100 fewer GPs this year despite plans to recruit 5000 more.7

Social care was promised a further £2bn uplift over the next three years. But this announcement was clearly labelled in terms of reducing delayed transfers from—you guessed it—acute hospitals.8 Senior NHS leaders encouraged these hospitals to “get lippy” about use of the social care money.9 Little mention, then, of supporting people and their carers to stay at home in the first place, although this is at the core of social care’s purpose.

Hammond promised an additional £325m of capital expenditure for “leading” STPs (again, more on buildings rather than on staff and services in people’s own homes).10 Some £800m in funds held by clinical commissioning groups and earmarked for primary and mental health was then repurposed by NHS England to meet hospital deficits and pressures.11

Opinion polls show that responsive, urgent care tops public concerns about the NHS.12 Politicians and journalists reinforce this by discussing it predominantly in terms of hospitals and beds. This high visibility and the narrow focus on acute care performance become a distorting, overvalued idea.

If we’re serious about a shift towards the preventive and coordinated care we claim to want, we can’t keep pumping all additional new funds into supporting hospitals. We’ll need to relax our expectations of hospital performance and be honest about what they can no longer offer, let alone improve.

Maybe in the autumn statement we’ll put our money where our mouth is. Platitudes don’t help patients.




Learn About the Legal Status of Ibogaine In Your Country

Disclaimer: ibogaine is a potentially illegal substance, and we do not encourage or condone the use of this substance where it is against the law. However, we accept that illegal drug use occurs, and believe that offering responsible harm reduction information is imperative to keeping people safe. For that reason, this guide is designed to ensure the safety of those who decide to use the substance. We do not encourage using this drug outside of a legal or traditional context.

Ibogaine is a psychoactive compound found in several different plants, most commonly the Tabernathe iboga found in parts of Africa. It has been used traditionally by people in certain regions of West Africa for thousands of years, where it is used for its medicinal and psychoactive properties.

In the modern world, ibogaine is becoming popular as an effective treatment of addiction and withdrawal symptoms. It has been used to help people addicted to substances such as opioids, cocaine, amphetamines and alcohol. Treatment centers have started to appear in their hundreds, offering addicts a chance to recover using a natural treatment.

This is how one heroin addict described his treatment with ibogaine:

“As it starts to take effect I feel an intense wave of energy emanating from the centre of my chest that permeates my entire body. This euphoric state also brings me instantaneous relief from the discomfort I was feeling after going without heroin for almost 24 hours.

With my withdrawal symptoms completely gone, I am perplexed by the state of clarity I am in while seeing the most profound stream of visual phenomena. I am also filled with a sense of awe at the potential for a life free of heroin. Emotional memories force me to deal with some of the deep subconscious guilt I have repressed for years.

This powerful state persisted for over 12 hours. After remaining at the clinic for a week I was allowed to return home and over the next six months felt almost no cravings whatsoever.”

Despite ibogaine’s unique potential for the treatment of withdrawal and addiction, its legal status varies worldwide. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about the legality of ibogaine, and where you can go for treatment.


Studies have shown that ibogaine is an effective treatment for addiction: one study from 2000 showed that when a single dose (500-800mg) of ibogaine was administered to 27 cocaine- and opioid-addicts, it resulted in a significant decrease of cravings and depressed symptoms. A preliminary observational studyby MAPS also suggests that ibogaine can prevent most patients from relapsing within two months of treatment.

So why then is ibogaine illegal in many countries?

It could be because of its potential harm: high doses can cause heart failure in people with preexisting heart conditions. However it’s most likely ibogaine’s hallucinogenic properties that have made it a victim of Nixon’s war on drugs, much like LSD and magic mushrooms.

If you’re desperate to try ibogaine, or visit a treatment center, there are still many options. Most countries do not specifically prohibit ibogaine, leaving it in a legal grey area for many treatment centers.

Here we group countries based on the legality of ibogaine:

NOTE: This information is curated to be as accurate as possible at the time of writing, but should not be treated as a ‘green light’ to perform potentially illegal activities. Always check your local laws.



Ibogaine has been a schedule I drug in the US since 1970, and it looks like it won’t change anytime soon. As such it’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine – so you won’t find any legal treatment centers in the US.

There’s hope on the horizon – in both New York and Vermont, bills are being considered to encourage the use of ibogaine in research and in the treatment of addiction.


Ibogaine was banned as early as 1998 in Belgium by Royal Decree, where ibogaine and its isomers are specifically mentioned. Possession and distribution are illegal.


It’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine under the Executive Order on Euphoric Substances of 1993; however it’s possible that medical professionals could be given special permission to administer ibogaine in the future.


Ibogaine is illegal to possess and distribute, and has been since 2007. You’ll find it difficult to get treatment here.


Ibogaine is listed under a law that prevents the distribution of psychoactive substances without a license – you probably won’t find any legal treatment centers here.


Ibogaine probably falls under Ireland’s Psychoactive Substances Act, which makes pretty much everything illegal. However it leaves doors open for potential future research of ibogaine, allowing an exemption for substances that are “medicinal products intended for research and development trials.”


Possession or distribution of ibogaine is illegal in Italy, as it was added to the Schedule I list fairly recently.


All tryptamine derivatives are illegal in Norway – and ibogaine will fall into this category. It is probably illegal to possess and distribute.


It’s illegal to possess or distribute ibogaine in Switzerland, as it is specifically listed as a prohibited substance.


Ibogaine has been illegal to possess or distribute since 1985. The law was brought up for review in 2007, but ibogaine’s status was not changed.


Ibogaine technically falls under the UK’s bizarre Psychoactive Substances Act, issued in May 2016, which makes it illegal to produce or distribute “any substance with a psychoactive effect.” Although there are no cases of people being prosecuted for providing ibogaine, the government could absolutely take you to court for doing so.

Thankfully, possession of ibogaine for personal use is still legal; although buying it would be breaking the law.



Ibogaine has been a Schedule IV drug in Australia for several years now, meaning it can’t be distributed without a license – and it doesn’t appear that the government have been handing out any ibogaine licenses…


Although ibogaine falls under the category of “Natural Healthcare Products” in Canada, and there are many treatment centers to be found there, its legal status is uncertain. Recently, ibogaine has been seized from several providers, amid concerns over heart risks.


In 2015, ibogaine was prohibited for distribution under an emergency declaration for 12 months. Since then, it’s unclear what ibogaine’s legal status has become, as information is murky.



In Brazil, ibogaine is legal to possess and distribute. A recent law in Sao Paolo has decreed that ibogaine be administered in a medical environment with adequate protections for the patient.


Ibogaine is legal in Costa Rica, and one of the most famous ibogaine treatment centers resides here. However there are some negative reviews out there, and it’s best to do your research before making a choice of treatment center.


This is the spiritual home of ibogaine. In Gabon, iboga plants are protected by law. However, approval must be given for any export of ibogaine.


Ibogaine is unregulated in Mexico, and is a popular location for treatment centers. Be aware that a good treatment center should always adhere to clinical guidelines and be extremely safety conscious.


There is no specific prohibition of ibogaine in the Netherlands, and there are a variety of treatment centers available.


Since 2009, ibogaine has been legal by prescription in New Zealand. As such, you can find treatment centers that will offer you ibogaine from a medical professional.


Ibogaine is legal in South Africa – but you have to be granted a license to distribute it due to its potential heart risks. We’re not sure how difficult it is to obtain a license.


Ibogaine is a relatively new drug to the Western world… as such, many countries have no specific laws to deal with ibogaine. If you don’t see a country on our list, it either has no specific prohibition of ibogaine, or we haven’t been able to find one. Always check with your local authority if you’re unsure.


If you’re interested in ibogaine treatment, read our full guide on what to expect at a treatment center. Remember that some centers aren’t legitimate, and make sure your chosen center adheres to clinical guidelines.

If you want to read more general information about ibogaine, read our ultimate guide!

The purpose of this guide is to help you find somewhere you can access ibogaine. Please don’t break the law… and please be careful with ibogaine – it can be harmful if misused.

Ibogaine could end up as an accepted and effective treatment for addiction… but only if we treat it with respect! More stories of irresponsible use and deaths in the media will only delay the approval of ibogaine as a medicine.

Be sensible and be safe!


Could Psychedelics Be The Future Of Children’s Medicine?

Since their discovery, MDMA, LSD and psilocybin (which makes certain mushrooms so magical) have collected tons of cultural baggage. Decades of recreational use obscure their pharmacological origin stories and potential medical applications. But today, many researchers are optimistic that the compounds could treat mental health issues ranging from depression to autistic spectrum disorder without the side effects or addictive nature of today’s prescription drugs.

magic mushrooms

While drug prohibition made research into psychedelics impossible for most of the 20thcentury, restrictions were lifted in the 1990s. Promising results already surfaced, including a pair of studies published in late 2016 showing that psilocybin use eased depression and anxiety for terminal cancer patients.

As the medical director of the Heffter Institute, George Greer explores medical possibilities for psilocybin and other psychedelics. He believes the future of psychedelic research holds vast potential. And while he cautioned extreme care with regards to dispensing it to the developing mind of a child, he predicted possible pediatric applications for psychedelics within the 21stcentury.

Solving The Mystery of Mushrooms

While there’s been increased research into psychedelics in recent years, researchers don’t know exactly how psilocybin works in the brain. The compound interacts with receptors for serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood and affects functions including sleep, appetite, memory and sexual desire. But, according to Greer, the details of that relationship are unknown. In fact, psilocybin may adjust or change the way serotonin receptors work in a lasting way. “How that leads to symptom reduction is a major question,” Greer says. “We don’t know for sure. But with most psychiatric drugs, the mechanism of action is not well known at all.”

Wikimedia Commons

The Psychedelic Shutdown

Thanks to brain regions that create what’s called the default mode network, your thought-organ is always busy. Repetitive thoughts cycle constantly in the background of our minds. It’s part of our identity, for good and bad — it can reinforce patterns of behavior our conscious mind knows are unhealthy. Psychedelics temporarily shut down that network, and the pause allows for a different perspective on your own behavior. “Those thoughts are silent, so new perspectives can come into the mind,” Greer said.

Tripping Away Addiction

Paradoxical though it may sound, psychedelic compounds may be a boon for parents of teens struggling with addiction. Before it was criminalized, researchers and addiction experts including Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, believed psychedelics had great potential to combat addiction. “With addictions, they would ask why am I doing this? Why am I doing this self-destructive thing?” Greer says. “It’s an emotionally painful realization.”

mdma pills


Researchers haven’t explored whether psychedelics could help treat attention deficit disorders, but, per Greer, anecdotal evidence suggests it could. Because even though psychedelics travel a different neurochemical circuit than that associated with ADHD they still seem to calm some symptoms. “ADHD is linked to dopamine and norepinephrine receptors, which psilocybin has no effect on,” Greer says. “There are reports from people on their own that micro-dosing LSD, meaning a dose so small they don’t feel the effects of LSD directly, helps with attention and focus.”

The Autism And Psychedelic Connection

In the 1950s, LSD was given to autistic children and it showed benefits in their behavior. “Right now another study is in process of using MDMA for adults with autistic spectrum disorder,” Greer says. The research follows anecdotal reports of MDMA helping people on the autism spectrum relate more socially. MDMA appears to activate parts of the brain that help people read expressions and ease anxieties related to social communications.

psychedelic tunnel

Will Kids Be Tripping Anytime Soon?

Your pediatrician isn’t going to prescribe your kid LSD anytime soon. Greer says that while there are promising indicators, research is still in very early stages. Ethical rules governing testing drugs on children — and common sense — keep researchers with psychedelics away from kids. “Children’s brains are developing and you don’t want to risk disturbing that development in an unhealthy way,” says Greer. “So there has to be a very clear and good reason to believe it will help the children and not cause problems before doing the research.”


‘Earth is a planet in upheaval’: World Meteorological Organization issues dire climate warning

“Truly uncharted territory”

2016’s record-warming continues in 2017 with Jan-Feb 2017 the second hottest on record after 2016. 

Humanity is “now in truly uncharted territory,” thanks to CO2-driven climate change, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warnedTuesday.

The WMO’s annual “State of the Global Climate in 2016” paints a dire picture for humanity: record CO2 levels, record warming, record drop in both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, and record high sea levels. Severe droughts “brought food insecurity to millions in southern and eastern Africa and Central America.”

NOAA reported this month that the record-smashing warming of 2016 continued into 2017. In this country, “there were 11,743 daily warm temperature records broken or tied” in February alone. Globally, it was the second hottest February and January-February on record after 2016.

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” as University of Arizona glaciologist Jeffrey Kargel explainedto the UK Guardian. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilization, which thrives on stability.”

Climatologist Sir Robert Watson slammed the “Trump administration and senior Republicans in Congress [who] continue to bury their heads in the sand.” The former head of the UN’s climate science panel said our children and grandchildren will some day marvel at such deniers “and ask how they could have sacrificed the planet for the sake of cheap fossil fuel energy, when the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of a transition to a low-carbon economy.”


Stephen Hawking: Greed and Stupidity Will End Humanity Earlier than Expected

Stephen Hawking
Although theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking is not a soothsayer, he has in the past predicted the future of humanity. Hawking has warned us on countless occasions about how humans are actively pursuing Artificial Intelligence (AI) without caution; concerned it will spell the end of humanity in the future.

Mr Hawking believes the current AI race will eventually usher humans into a stage when machines will become more intelligent than humans. This is when the total annihilation of humans would begin, Hawking claims. Of course, the AI community prefers not to hear such a prominent and respected science proponent say such things. Hawking was heavily criticized within the AI community recently, facing accusations of being a pessimist, and should inculcate the spirit of positivism in the AI debate instead.

Stephen Hawking

But despite the criticisms, Hawking is still expressing his views as an independent thinker in the arena of public discourse. Apart from the AI apocalypse, Hawking has summarized vices in humans that he thinks will destroy any progress made since the Stone Age period to current times.

In an interview with Larry King on the Larry King Now talk show last year, the distinguished physicist said although he has talked about AI in the past as a tool that could spell doom for humans, he believes strongly that such inventions are inspired by human vices.

Hawking stated that greediness and stupidity are the biggest threats to humanity. He said these two vices will eventually drive humans into extinction, and earlier than he previously expected. According to Hawking, humans are becoming increasingly stupid and greedy with each passing day. He noted that there has been a massive air pollution problem in the last six years, killing many around the world.  Hawking said the situation will continue to worsen, bringing along more deaths and strange diseases in the near future.

Stephen Hawking

“We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid. The population has grown by half a billion since our last meeting, with no end in sight. At this rate, it will be eleven billion by 2100. Air pollution has increased over the past five years. More than 80% of inhabitants of urban areas are exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution,” he said.

Hawking added that he is only reminding us of the things we are doing that will end up devouring us. Hawking’s warning is just like the hunter who finds a baby monster in the forest and brings it home. After nurturing the baby monster for it to grow into a giant beast, the monster eats the hunter one day.

Stephen Hawking

 If you look at what is currently happening across the world, people are increasingly being exposed to automated things. Smartphones, robots working amid humans, and unmanned vehicles to name a few.

These machines are increasingly becoming more intelligent. On the other hand, humans seem to be losing their senses. Due to proliferation of smartphones and other integrated cell-phones; some are literally dying or injuring themselves, just for a common selfie.

Stephen Hawking

The United States Department of Transportation estimates that during 2014, in the so-called “year of the selfie,” 33,000 people were injured while driving and using a cell-phone in some fashion, which included talking, listening, and “manual button/control actuation” including taking, uploading, downloading, editing, or opening of selfies. Also, a 2015 survey by Erie Insurance Group found that 4% of all drivers admitted to taking selfies while driving.

Again, the Washington Post reported in January 2016 that about half of at least 27 selfie deaths in 2015 had occurred in India. No official data on the number of people who died taking selfies in India exists, but reports show from 2014 up to August 2016, there have been at least 54 deaths in India while taking selfies.

Stephen Hawking

This has encouraged the Indian Tourism Ministry to ask states to identify and barricade ‘selfie danger’ areas. The goal of the sign is to try and stop or reduce selfie-related deaths in the country.

So, you see, this is one of the exact stupidities Hawking is warning us about. Humans are becoming increasingly stupid while the machines they have created are becoming increasingly intelligent. The mockery of humanity has started. The machines seem to be controlling humans, not the other way around.


Stephen Hawking’s Beautiful Message For Anyone With Depression.

Stephen Hawking has one of the greatest minds of our time. He is well known for his work in theoretical physics, and was born on January 8, 1942, (300 years after the death of Galileo) in Oxford, England. As a young child, he wanted to study mathematics, but once he began college, he studied Natural Sciences. Then, during his first year in Cambridge at the age of 21, Hawking began to have symptoms of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Doctors gave him two and a half years to live.

Now, at the age of 74, he continues to teach, research, and provide the world with beautiful messages. He says that his expectations were reduced to zero when he was given the ALS diagnosis. Ever since then, every aspect of his life has been a bonus.

One of the most brilliant minds did not allow these life challenges to stop him. He continued studying. Hawking has twelve honorary degrees. He has dedicated his life to finding answers about the universe, the Big Bang, creation and scientific theories.He cannot speak or move, bounded to a wheelchair, but he has found ways to inspire the world, encouraging us to find the mysticism in the stars. He says:

 “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it. If you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

Recently during a lecture in January at the Royal Institute in London, Hawking compared black holes to depression, making it clear that neither the black holes or depression are impossible to escape. “The message of this lecture is that black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up; there’s a way out,” he said.

 When asked about his disabilities, he says: “The victim should have the right to end his life, if he wants. But I think it would be a great mistake. However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there’s life, there is hope.” He continues with an inspiring message about disabilities:
“If you are disabled, it is probably not your fault, but it is no good blaming the world or expecting it to take pity on you. One has to have a positive attitude and must make the best of the situation that one finds oneself in; if one is physically disabled, one cannot afford to be psychologically disabled as well. In my opinion, one should concentrate on activities in which one’s physical disability will not present a serious handicap. I am afraid that Olympic Games for the disabled do not appeal to me, but it is easy for me to say that because I never liked athletics anyway. On the other hand, science is a very good area for disabled people because it goes on mainly in the mind. Of course, most kinds of experimental work are probably ruled out for most such people, but theoretical work is almost ideal.

My disabilities have not been a significant handicap in my field, which is theoretical physics. Indeed, they have helped me in a way by shielding me from lecturing and administrative work that I would otherwise have been involved in. I have managed, however, only because of the large amount of help I have received from my wife, children, colleagues and students. I find that people in general are very ready to help, but you should encourage them to feel that their efforts to aid you are worthwhile by doing as well as you possibly can.”

Stephen Hawking does not only encourage the scientific minds to pay attention, but inspires the rest of us to take notice that there is connection between the stars and each one of us. His disabilities have not stopped his curious mind and sense of wonder.

His daughter, Lucy, shared with the crowd at the lecture, “He has a very enviable wish to keep going and the ability to summon all his reserves, all his energy, all his mental focus and press them all into that goal of keeping going. But not just to keep going for the purposes of survival, but to transcend this by producing extraordinary work writing books, giving lectures, inspiring other people with neurodegenerative and other disabilities.”

The Path of Healing


Scientists Say You Should Do This Exercise at Least Twice a Week to Make Your Brain Work Better.

Article Image

Engaging in regular weightlifting could actually make your brain work better and prevent dementia, concludes new research by Australian scientists. As about 135 million people are estimated to develop dementia by 2050, the study’s findings are key in ensuring healthier brain function in the population.

The researchers focused on 100 people aged 55 to 86 with “mild cognitive impairment” (MCI) who were asked to do weight lifting and brain training. MCI is considered a precursor to developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

In 2014, the same team published a paper outlining how cognition skills improve as a result of weight training. The benefits lasted even 12 months after that study concluded.

“What we found in this follow-up study is that the improvement in cognition function was related to their muscle strength gains. The stronger people became, the greater the benefit for their brain,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Yorgi Mavros, of Sydney University.

Twice a week, over a six month period, the study’s participants worked with weights that were 80% as heavy as the max they could lift. The stronger they got, the more weight they lifted, sticking to the 80% rule.

Subsequent MRI scans of the study’s subjects showed an increase in certain areas of their brains.

While future studies will determine whether this holds true for people of any age group, the positive results encouraged Dr. Mavros to state a general recommendation for all.

“The more we can get people doing resistance training like weight lifting, the more likely we are to have a healthier ageing population,” said Dr. Mavros. “The key however is to make sure you are doing it frequently, at least twice a week, and at a high intensity so that you are maximising your strength gains. This will give you the maximum benefit for your brain.”

To build on their findings, the researchers are planning further studies.

“The next step now is to determine if the increases in muscle strength are also related to increases in brain size that we saw,” said the study’s senior author Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh, geriatrician at University of Sydney. “In addition, we want to find the underlying messenger that links muscle strength, brain growth, and cognitive performance, and determine the optimal way to prescribe exercise to maximise these effects.”

The Study of Mental and Resistance Training (SMART) trial was conducted by University of Sydney researchers in collaboration with the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at University of New South Wales and the University of Adelaide.

Source: Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

Alcohol Is Worse for Mental Health than Psychedelics.

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In a study of 130,000 American adults, including 19,299 psychedelics users, researchers failed to find evidence that taking psychotropic substances results in serious mental health problems. Alcohol, on the other hand, continues to drive rates of depression and suicide higher because it easily aggravates smaller mental health issues into something larger.

Funded by the Research Council of Norway, scientists found that people often reported experiencing deep and meaningful events while under the influence of substances like LSD or psychedelic mushrooms. While those reports were subjective, the study also looked at clinical conditions like serious psychological distress, mental health treatment, suicidal thoughts and plans, depression, and anxiety.

“Drug experts consistently rank LSD and psilocybin mushrooms as much less harmful to the individual user and to society compared to alcohol and other controlled substances.”

Teri Krebs, a neuroscientist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology who helped lead the study, concludes that it is difficult to seefrom a public health perspective any government’s justification for outlawing the use of psychedelic substances: “Drug experts consistently rank LSD and psilocybin mushrooms as much less harmful to the individual user and to society compared to alcohol and other controlled substances.”

Popular author and Stanford philosophy graduate Sam Harris explains his own experience with psychedelic drugs during his Big Think interview. Early in the clip, Harris offers important caveats to taking hallucinogenic drugs because many are neurotoxins. For the serious inquirer, however, they are a way to further explore the nature of consciousness.


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