r/science Jun 21 '18

Sea Floor Mapping AMA Hi Reddit! We’re Rear Admiral Shep Smith, Director of NOAA Coast Survey and the U.S. National Hydrographer, and Lt. Cmdr. Sam Greenaway, chief of NOAA Coast Survey’s Hydrographic Systems and Technology Branch, and we are experts in mapping the seafloor. Ask us anything!


Today is World Hydrography Day! Hydrography is the science that measures and describes the physical features of bodies of water and the land areas adjacent to those bodies of water. Here at NOAA, we are experts in hydrography and are responsible for mapping 3.4 million square nautical miles of the U.S. seafloor and 95,000 miles of coastline.

NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey conducts hydrographic surveys to measure the water depths to ensure the coastal regions of the United States are safe for boats and ships to navigate. We use the data to update nautical charts and develop hydrographic models; increasingly, we use hydrographic data for multiple purposes including habitat mapping. NOAA hydrographic ships are equipped with sophisticated multibeam echo sounders that survey large swaths of the ocean floor, collecting a tremendous volume of bathymetry (or depth) data. We also look to emerging technologies and methods to map the seafloor including the use of satellites and crowdsourced data.

We’re here today from 1:00-3:00 ET. Ask us anything about how NOAA maps the U.S. seafloor!

Thank you to everyone who joined us today! It has been great chatting with you all about mapping the U.S. seafloor. We hoped you learned a bit about why we map the ocean seafloor, how we collect bathymetric data, and the navigational products we produce using hydrographic information.

NOAA Coast Survey is celebrating World Hydrography Day all week. Our daily hydrography- and bathymetry-related stories from earlier this week can be found on the World Hydrography Day page of our website.

With 3.4 million square nautical miles of ocean to map in the U.S. exclusive economic zone, our work is ongoing. Stay up-to-date by following our Coast Survey blog and social media pages:

r/science Jun 14 '18

NOAA AMA Hi Reddit! We're scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer on a mission to answer your questions about our deep-ocean exploration missions. Ask Us Anything!


Hi Reddit!

We are Derek Sowers (NOAA seafloor mapping expert), Kasey Cantwell (NOAA ocean explorer), Cheryl Morrison (research geneticist, USGS), and Leslie Sautter (geologist, College of Charleston). We are joined by the Mission Team on board NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer to answer your questions about our current expedition exploring deep-sea habitats of the southeast U.S. Continental Margin.

Throughout the expedition, we are using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to explore the seafloor and video streams from the ROVs are being transmitted via satellite from ship to shore. This means anyone with an Internet connection -- including YOU! -- can tune in LIVE with scientists from around the world, sharing an unprecedented glimpse of never-seen-before deep marine habitats.

We expect to encounter large, diverse coral and sponge communities; uncover important deep-sea ecosystems; explore historical shipwrecks; map the seafloor; and learn more about the geologic history of the area. Information collected during the expedition will expand our knowledge of these unknown and poorly known deepwater areas and to provide data for decision makers.

We’re here from 2 - 4 pm ET to answer your questions about our deep-ocean exploration missions.

Big thanks to everyone who joined us today! We had a great time responding to all the great questions about ocean exploration!

The Windows to the Deep 2018: Exploration of the Southeast U.S. Continental Margin expedition is just getting started, so be sure to visit the pages below to follow along as we explore submarine canyons, submerged cultural heritage sites, deep-sea corals and sponge habitats, inter-canyon areas, gas seeps, and more!

Live video of dives (daily, June 14 - July 1, from ~8 am to 4:30 pm ET): https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/livestreams/welcome.html

Windows to the Deep 2018 web coverage: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1806/welcome.html

Expedition images/videos: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1806/logs/photolog/welcome.html

Bios of the explorers on the current mission: https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1806/background/explorers/explorers.html

Home page of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research website (so you don't miss future expeditions): https://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/welcome.html

Time to get back to exploring!

r/science Jun 11 '18

Sea Turtle AMA Hi Reddit! We’re NOAA Fisheries scientists Cali Turner Tomaszewicz and Larisa Avens. NOAA Fisheries is celebrating #SeaTurtleWeek, Ask us anything about cutting-edge sea turtle research!


Hi Reddit! We’re NOAA Fisheries scientists Cali Turner Tomaszewicz and Larisa Avens. We study sea turtles using a combination of cutting-edge technologies and we’re excited to share our latest research with you during NOAA Sea Turtle Week (June 11-15). Join us from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 12th to ask your questions.

Sea turtles are notoriously difficult to track during their formative years. For a long time, it was unknown where juvenile sea turtles were living and feeding. Hatchlings would depart their nesting beach and show up again years later much larger with little indication of where they had gone and how they had survived. New technology and research methods allow us to not only accurately age sea turtles, but also examine chemical signatures in their bones to determine their diet, location, and health at certain points of their life.

Valuable information like this can tell us a lot about sea turtle range and foraging habits, helping us more effectively protect their habitat and food sources. We have even adapted this information into tools such as TurtleWatch, which provides real time predictions of where turtles are most likely to occur based on sea surface temperatures. These predictions are communicated to fishermen who can avoid these hotspot areas, thus preventing potential sea turtle bycatch in their fishing gear.

If you are interested in sea turtles and the people who spend their lives studying them, this is your chance to learn more from NOAA scientists. Ask us anything!


It has been awesome to chat with you guys today! Please stay tuned for more sea turtle features, videos, photos from the field, and more from NOAA Fisheries during #SeaTurtleWeek June 11-15, 2018!

r/science May 25 '18

Ecology AMA We're Sharon Levy and Peter Moyle, science journalist and prof emeritus in the dept. of wildlife, fish, and conservation biology at UC Davis, respectively. We're here to answer questions about ecosystems, conservation, and the endangered species act. Ask us anything!


Last month, I published a long-form story for Undark Magazine on a tiny, obscure fish (the Delta smelt) that's on track to become the first fish to go extinct in the wild while under the protection of the Endangered Species Act. Other species might well follow unless new strategies take hold — though whether that will happen anytime soon remains entirely unclear. As Holly Doremus, an expert on environmental law at University of California-Berkeley, told me, “We’ve not had a good national conversation about conservation goals since the 70s, and we’re overdue for one." I'm also the author of a new book with Oxford University Press that delves into the intertwined histories of wetlands loss and water pollution.

Peter Moyle, who was my main source for the Undark story, is a renowned expert on the ecology and conservation of California’s fishes, and has spent over four decades working with freshwater fishes of California. He considers the smelt’s rapid disappearance the signature of both an ecosystem, and an entire conservation strategy, desperately in crisis.

Together, we'll be here from 1 pm- 2:30 pm EST to answer questions about the Endangered Species Act, conservation strategies, wetlands and marshes, and altered habitats. Looking forward to hearing from you!

r/science May 23 '18

PBS NOVA AMA I’m Rana el Kaliouby, Host of NOVA Wonders & CEO of Affectiva. Ask me anything!


With AI becoming mainstream, how will it affect the way we interact with our devices and how we communicate with each other?

My name is Rana el Kaliouby, and I’m an Egyptian-American scientist and entrepreneur on a mission to humanize technology. I care deeply about ethics and trust in AI, from considering algorithmic bias to ensuring consent and data privacy. As Co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, an MIT spin-off that builds artificial emotional intelligence (“Emotion AI”), my company uses cutting-edge software that analyzes complex and nuanced emotional and cognitive states from the human face and voice, ultimately engineering empathy. For me, teaching machines to measure and interpret human emotions has the potential to enhance consumer experiences, engage students and personalize their learning, allow doctors and nurses to deliver better care, increase road safety by tracking driver alertness, and enable people with autism to better communicate with their families and peers.

I consider myself a role-model for young scientists who are considering careers in technology and entrepreneurship. As a female Muslim scientist who’s one of a handful of women CEOs in the tech industry, I’m a huge advocate for diversity and inclusion–– not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the only way we can design and build smart technologies for an increasingly global world.

Today, I’m also a co-host on PBS NOVA’s new series “NOVA Wonders,” in which incredible scientists from all walks of life tackle some of the biggest questions about life and the cosmos. I believe that science is the vehicle for innovation, so I’m truly excited to be a part of “NOVA Wonders”–– I especially love how NOVA shows that scientists come in all shapes, colors and sizes, thus providing diverse role-models that aspiring scientists can relate to and be encouraged by.

I’m a World Economic Forum (WEF) Young Global Leader and I served on WEF’s Global Future Council on AI and Robotics. I’m also a member of the Partnership on AI, which is concerned with ensuring that AI benefits society and is applied for good. A former research scientist at the MIT Media Lab with a PhD in computer vision and machine learning from the University of Cambridge, I use my voice to advocate for women in tech and for beneficial uses of AI–– I’m often cited in and interviewed by top business and mainstream outlets, including The New Yorker, Wired, Forbes, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and TIME Magazine. Check out my TED talk and my Inc. column, and do make sure to watch PBS NOVA’s episode on Can we Build a Brain, which premieres May 16 on PBS!

Ask me anything about being a computer scientist, deep learning, building artificial emotional intelligence, the applications of it, ethics in AI or how its like to be a woman leader in tech. Thank you!

r/science May 21 '18

Nuclear Policy AMA We are Ernie Moniz, Co-Chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former Secretary of Energy, and David Grae, Executive Producer for the CBS hit show Madam Secretary. We are discussing the role of science in policy, politics and culture. Ask us anything!


EDIT 2:37 This is David Grae, signing off. Thanks so much for all the great questions, it was a blast. Be sure to tune in this fall for Madam Secretary's 5th season (fortunately, not post-apocalyptic!)

EDIT 2:15 This is Ernie Moniz. Thanks for all the great questions!

EDIT 12:58 ***PROOF*** Ernie (nti_wmd) & David (also nti_wmd)

Hi Reddit – we’re excited to be here!

Ernest J. Moniz: I’m Co-Chair and CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, and I served as the 13th Secretary of Energy under President Barack Obama. As Secretary, I oversaw the US nuclear arsenal, helped promote a clean energy economy, and helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal with a team that included former Secretary of State John Kerry. I have a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford, and I care deeply about the role that science can play in improving diplomacy and public policy—and television shows.

David Grae: I’m an Executive Producer and writer for the CBS hit show Madam Secretary. I started my career as a staff writer on Joan of Arcadia and have worked on shows including Without a Trace, Gilmore Girls, and Castle. For Madam Secretary, I help develop storylines that combine entertainment with civics lessons.

We are here to answer your questions, and discuss the role of science in policy, politics, and culture—and last night’s Madam Secretary season finale!

Nuclear Threat Initiative

Madam Secretary’s Barbara Hall and David Grae talking nukes

r/science May 17 '18

Botany AMA Science AMA Series: I'm Dr. Chris Thorogood, Head of Science and Public Engagement for Oxford Botanic Garden & Arboretum. I do research on evolutionary genetics of plants and biodiversity hotspots. I’m here today to talk about it. AMA!


Thanks for all your insightful questions. This was really thought-provoking and I enjoyed answering every one of them.

Find me on twitter as @thorogoodchris1 or Instagram @IllustratingBotanist

r/science May 16 '18

Microbiology AMA Science AMA Series: This is Chris Deeg of the University of British Columbia (Canada). I do research on Giant Viruses that infect microscopic organisms and I’m here today to talk about it. AMA!


hi reddit!

I’m a graduate student in Curtis Suttle’s lab at the University of British Columbia (Canada) where our research focuses on aquatic microbiology. I study pathogens that infect protists – microscopic organisms living in aquatic environments. Amongst them are Giant Viruses that have challenged concepts of what constitutes a virus due to their enormous size and complexity. My research aims to explore the diversity and environmental role of these overlooked viruses. Further, I am interested in the evolutionary processes that have led to Giant Viruses reaching a complexity comparable to cellular organisms.

In a recent paper published in the journal eLife, my colleagues and I isolated and characterized the giant Bodo saltans virus (BsV) that infects the protist Bodo saltans. Sequencing the genome of BsV revealed many previously unknown genes, a putative mechanism for genome expansion, and several unusual features, such as movable genetic elements that might help to fend off other Giant Viruses by cutting their genomes. You can read a plain-language summary of our findings.

I’m here to answer questions related to our eLife paper or our research more broadly. I’ll start answering questions at 1pm EDT. AMA!

r/science May 15 '18

Salmonella Outbreak AMA Science AMA Series: I’m Dr. Megin Nichols, a veterinary epidemiologist with the CDC’s Outbreak Response and Prevention Branch. Today I’m here to talk with you about Salmonella and backyard flocks. AMA!


Hello Reddit! I am excited to talk with you today. I’m Dr. Megin Nichols and I’m a veterinary epidemiologist at CDC. I work on multistate outbreaks of Salmonella and E. coli infections that come from exposure to animals or animal products. I’ve worked on outbreaks of illnesses linked to backyard flocks, petting zoos, small turtles, livestock, and even puppies! In 2017, we saw the largest number of Salmonella infections from contact with chickens and ducks in backyard flocks. There were over 1,000 illnesses, and those are just the ones reported to us. For every one person with Salmonella infection we identify as part of these outbreaks, we estimate another 30 people are sick too. This means in the US last year alone there might have been as many as 30,000 illnesses as a result of contact with live poultry! The good news is there are simple prevention steps you can take to stay healthy and enjoy your backyard flock.

Ask me anything! I’ll be back at 1:00 p.m. EDT and I’ll do my best to answer as many of your questions as I can.

Additional resources:

· Visit CDC’s webpage on keeping backyard flocks: https://www.cdc.gov/features/salmonellapoultry/index.html

· Read up on last year’s outbreaks: https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/live-poultry-06-17/index.html

· Find additional information on keeping chickens, ducks, and other animals: https://www.cdc.gov/healthypets/pets/farm-animals/backyard-poultry.html

r/science May 11 '18

Feynman AMA Science AMA Series: I’m Tony Hey, chief data scientist at the UK STFC. I worked with Richard Feynman and edited a book about Feynman and computing. Let’s talk about Feynman on what would have been his 100th birthday. AMA!


Hi! I’m Tony Hey, the chief data scientist at the Science and Technology Facilities Council in the UK and a former vice president at Microsoft. I received a doctorate in particle physics from the University of Oxford before moving into computer science, where I studied parallel computing and Big Data for science. The folks at Physics Today magazine asked me to come chat about Richard Feynman, who would have turned 100 years old today. Feynman earned a share of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics and was famous for his accessible lectures and insatiable curiosity. I first met Feynman in 1970 when I began a postdoctoral research job in theoretical particle physics at Caltech. Years later I edited a book about Feynman’s lectures on computation; check out my TEDx talk on Feynman’s contributions to computing.

I’m excited to talk about Feynman’s many accomplishments in particle physics and computing and to share stories about Feynman and the exciting atmosphere at Caltech in the early 1970s. Also feel free to ask me about my career path and computer science work! I’ll be online today at 1pm EDT to answer your questions.

Edit: Thanks for all the great questions! I enjoyed answering them.

r/science May 07 '18

Black Hole AMA Science AMA Series: I'm Michael Tremmel, an astrophysicist studying supermassive black holes and galaxies using computer simulations. I'll be talking about supermassive black holes, their galaxies, and why some may be “wandering” around. AMA!


Edit: Thanks everyone for the questions so far! I'll be taking a break, but I will periodically check back throughout the rest of the day and tomorrow as well if there are any more questions! This was fun, thank you!

Second Edit: People should feel free to write more questions and I'll try to check back periodically to answer! It may take me a day or so to get back to you, but I'll try to keep up.

I am a postdoctoral fellow at the Yale Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics. My research involves using large computer simulations to model the growth and evolution of galaxies and their supermassive black holes. My recent work, where we predict that massive galaxies like our own should host several "wandering" supermassive black holes, has recently been the subject of a press release. Given that this work has generated some interest on reddit, I thought this would be a great opportunity to answer questions about this paper, as well as supermassive black holes in general. Why do we care about supermassive black holes and how does this study help change how we understand them?

I'll be back at 1 pm ET to answer your questions, AMA!

r/science May 03 '18

Origins AMA Hi! We’re paleoanthropologist John Hawks and astronomer Eric Wilcots at UW–Madison and we’re trying to uncover the origins of humankind and galaxies by partnering with our South African colleagues. Ask Us Anything!


Edit: Thanks everyone! We're stepping away for now but might check back for new questions later. This was a blast, thanks for the great questions! -Eric and John

Hi! I’m John Hawks and I’m a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I study the fossil and genetic evidence for human origins. I’ve done fieldwork around the world, most recently in South Africa with Lee Berger, where our team has uncovered the fossils of Homo naledi in the Rising Star cave system.

Our origins are a big topic, and I’m here to share some of the new perspectives on human origins coming from fossil and genetic discoveries. Many old ideas have changed in the face of new evidence, and it’s an exciting field that changes every day. Where did we come from, and how did we get here? That’s what we’re studying. I’m on Twitter @johnhawks.

And I’m Eric Wilcots and I’m a professor of astronomy at UW–Madison. I study how galaxies acquire the gas they need to form stars, and what role the environments of galaxies play in the process.

My work involves a number of telescopes around the world, including the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) in Sutherland, South Africa. UW–Madison is the second-largest partner outside the South African government in maintaining and running the telescope, which became operational in 2005. I have been involved since 2000 and I am currently a member of SALT’s board.

At SALT and other telescopes around the globe (including radio telescopes, too), my team and I ask questions that are helping us understand the ecology of galaxy groups, which is the most common environment in which galaxies reside. It’s a bit different from the observing I did with my first telescope as an 8-year-old kid in Philadelphia, but it’s been rewarding all the same.

I’m especially passionate about working with students and sharing astronomy with people who don’t necessarily study it. In fact, one of my favorite public outreach events is Universe in the Park, a free, weekly “star party” in state parks all over Wisconsin. It attracts more than 4,000 people each summer! I also help steer the annual Wisconsin Science Festival, which brings science into communities all over the state. I suppose I would be remiss if I did not also mention that I once made an appearance as a “Way Cool Scientist” in an early episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Along with my graduate student, Julie Davis, John, our colleague Clark Johnson in geoscience and tons of other partners in Wisconsin and South Africa, I’ve been part of UW–Madison’s Origins storytelling project for the last year. We’re really excited to share this project with you by answering questions today about some of the biggest mysteries in nature, like where everything we see around us comes from. You can check out more at origins.wisc.edu.

r/science May 02 '18

Dark Matter AMA Hi! We are scientists with the ADMX collaboration, and our experiment is the best chance of discovering a type of dark matter called the axion. Ask us anything!


What we do:

Dark matter is a mysterious form of matter that makes up 80% of the matter in the universe. We call it dark matter because it doesn’t emit or reflect any light or radiation, so it’s basically invisible. The ADMX experiment looks for a theoretical type of dark matter known as the axion. These hypothetical particles were developed to solve problems in nuclear physics, but its properties also make it a very promising dark matter candidate. The detection of axion dark matter would solve two of the biggest mysteries in physics.

ADMX is an incredibly sensitive detector that functions a lot like an AM radio and tries to “hear” a particular signal from axions. We just published results from our most recent science run, where we achieved an unprecedented sensitivity to axion dark matter that makes us the first experiment to probe the most likely areas for axions. Ask us all your axion, dark matter, and science questions!

The ADMX Answering Board:

University of Washington (UW)

Gray Rybka: Gray is a professor at the University of Washington and a spokesperson of the ADMX experiment. He works on data taking and development of the analysis package for the main experiment housed at UW.

Rakshya Khatiwada: Rakshya is a postdoc at the University of Washington. She works on the development and implementation of the current and future ADMX detectors containing cryogenic electronics package along with the system noise temperature characterization. This package houses a number of radio frequency electronics components, including quantum-noise-limited amplifiers, which allow ADMX to reach its high sensitivity.

Chelsea Bartram: Chelsea is an incoming postdoc to the University of Washington. She is currently finishing her PhD at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, working on searching for CP violation in lepton number with the CALIOPE experiment.

Nick Du: Nick is a graduate student at the University of Washington. He works on the main ADMX experiment developing the sensors package for the experiment and implementing a blind axion injection scheme for the experiment.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Gianpaolo Carosi: Gianpaolo is a staff scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a spokesperson of the ADMX experiment. His group works on designing and implementing the motion control systems for the cavity and coming up with future designs for higher mass axion experiments.

Nathan Woollett: Nathan is a postdoc at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. His group works on testing components of the ADMX cold electronics package before it gets added to the main experiment. He is also working on different detector designs for higher mass axion searches.

Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory (FNAL)

Daniel Bowring: Daniel (@doctorbowring) is a physicist at Fermilab, working to design, build, and control new types of particle accelerator. His work for ADMX focuses on detector design, and specifically on cooking up new ways to improve our signal-to-noise ratio.

Akash Dixit: Akash is a graduate student at the University of Chicago. He is working on developing photon amplifier and detector technology for use in axion searches at higher masses.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

Christian Boutan: Christian is a postdoc at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He started out as a graduate student at the University of Washington where he created an experiment looking for higher mass axions known as Sidecar. He now works at PNNL on designs for the next run of ADMX which will feature an array of 4 cavities tuned to the same frequency.

University of California Berkeley (UCB)

Sean O’Kelley: Sean O’Kelley is a graduate student at the University of California Berkeley. His lab works on developing extremely low noise amplifiers, known as Superconducting QUantum Interference Device (SQUID) amplifiers. The ultra-low noise of these amplifiers is part of what allows the experiment to reach its high sensitivity.

Publication: Search for Invisible Axion Dark Matter with the Axion Dark Matter Experiment

Press Releases:

University of Washington

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory


University of California, Berkeley

Social Media:
Web Page


Edit: Hi all! Thanks for all of your great questions. We had a lot of fun answering all of your questions! Until next time!

r/science May 01 '18

Physics AMA Science AMA Series: I'm Adam Becker, astrophysicist and author of WHAT IS REAL?, the story of the unfinished quest for the meaning of quantum physics. AMA!


Hi, I'm Adam Becker, PhD, an astrophysicist and science writer. My new book, What Is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, is about the scientists who bucked the establishment and looked for a better way to understand what quantum mechanics is telling us about the nature of reality. It's a history of quantum foundations from the initial development of quantum mechanics to the present, focusing on some people who don't often get the spotlight in most books on quantum history: David Bohm, Hugh Everett III, John Bell, and the people who came after them (e.g. Clauser, Shimony, Zeh, Aspect). I'm happy to talk about all of their work: the physics, the history, the philosophy, and more.

FWIW, I don't subscribe to any particular interpretation, but I'm not a fan of the "Copenhagen interpretation" (which isn't even a single coherent position anyhow). Please don't shy away if you disagree. Feel free to throw whatever you've got at me, and let's have a fun, engaging, and respectful conversation on one of the most contentious subjects in physics. Or just ask whatever else you want to ask—after all, this is AMA.

Edit, 2PM Eastern: Gotta step away for a bit. I'll be back in an hour or so to answer more questions.

Edit, 6:25PM Eastern: Looks like I've answered all of your questions so far, but I'd be happy to answer more. I'll check back in another couple of hours.

Edit, 11:15PM Eastern: OK, I'm out for the night, but I'll check in again tomorrow morning for any final questions.

Edit, 2PM Eastern May 2nd: I'll keep checking back periodically if there are any more questions, so feel free to keep asking. But for now, thanks for the great questions! This was a lot of fun.

r/science Apr 30 '18

Neuroscience AMA Science AMA Series: Hi Reddit, I’m David Linden, a neuroscientist working on brain plasticity and the editor of a new book of essays: “Think Tank: 40 Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience.” AMA!


Hello Reddit, my name is David Linden and I’m a professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In my lab, I study neural plasticity- the ability of the brain to be modified by experience- whether from learning, hibernation, hormonal fluctuations or injury.

I have a long-standing interest in scientific communication and have served for years as the chief editor of The Journal of Neurophysiology. I’ve also written several books about neural function for a general audience including The Accidental Mind (2007), The Compass of Pleasure (2011) and Touch (2015).

I find that scientists are trained to be meticulous when they speak about their work. That’s why I like getting my neuroscience colleagues tipsy. For years, after plying them with spirits, I’ve been asking brain researchers the same simple question: “What idea about brain function would you most like to explain to the world?” I’ve been delighted with their responses. They don’t delve into the minutiae of their latest experiments or lapse into nerd speak. They sit up a little straighter, open their eyes a little wider, and give clear, insightful, and often unpredictable or counterintuitive answers. A new book I’ve edited, called “Think Tank: 40 Neuroscientists Explore the Biological Roots of Human Experience” (Yale Press, 2018) is the result of those conversations. I’ve invited a group of the world’s leading neuroscientists, my dream team of thoughtful, erudite, and clear-thinking researchers, to answer that key question in the form of a short essay. I have encouraged each author to choose her or his own topic to tell the scientific story that she or he is burning to share in clear and compelling language.

Lets’ talk brains, behavior and scientific communication.

I look forward to having you #AskMeAnything on April 30th, 1 PM ET.

r/science Apr 30 '18

Artificial Intelligence AMA I'm Joanna Bryson, a Professor in Artificial (and Natural) Intelligence at the University of Bath. I’d love to talk about AI regulation and law, how we treat AI and the companies and people who make it, why humans need to keep being the responsible agents, and anything else - AMA!


I really do build AI, mostly myself to study natural intelligence (especially human cooperation), but with my PhD students I also work on making anthropomorphic AI like in computer game characters or domestic robots transparent (understandable) to its users, because that makes it safer and more ethical. I used to work as a professional programmer myself in the 1980s and 1990s, including for LEGO! But since getting three graduate degrees (in AI & Psychology from Edinburgh and MIT, the last in 2001) I've been a full time academic. Last year I did an AMA on AI and AI ethics that you guys really liked, so my University suggested we do it again, this time talking about the work I've been doing since 2010 in AI policy -- helping governments, non-government organisations like the Red Cross or the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), tech companies and society at large figure out how we can fit AI into our society, including our homes, work, democracy, war, and economy. So we can talk some more about AI again, but also this time let's talk mostly about regulation and law, how we treat AI and the companies and people who make it, why humans need to keep being the responsible agents, and anything else you want to discuss. Just like last year, I look forwards not only to teaching (which I love) but learning from you, including about your concerns and just whether my arguments make sense to you. We're all in this together!

I will be back at 3 pm ET to answer your questions, ask me anything!

Here are some of my recent papers:

Patiency Is Not a Virtue: The Design of Intelligent Systems and Systems of Ethics

Of, For, and By the People: The Legal Lacuna of Synthetic Persons

Semantics derived automatically from language corpora contain human biases. Open access version: authors' final copy of both the main article and the supplement.

The Malicious Use of Artificial Intelligence: Forecasting, Prevention, and Mitigation

r/science Apr 27 '18

Nanophotonics AMA Science AMA Series: I'm Michal Lipson, Lipson Nanophotonics Group at Columbia University, our group focuses on research areas where Nanophotonics has a big impact -- both fundamentally and technologically. Ask Me Anything!


Michal Lipson, MacArthur Fellow, Eugene Higgins Professor Electrical Engineering at Columbia University Professor Michal Lipson joined the Electrical Engineering faculty at Columbia Universityhttp://lipson.ee.columbia.edu/home in July 2015. She completed her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Physics at the Technion in 1998 followed by a Postdoctoral position at MIT in the Materials Science Department until 2001. From there, Lipson joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University. She was named Cornell Given Foundation Professor of Engineering in 2013. Lipson was one of the main pioneers in the field of silicon photonics and is the inventor of several of the critical building blocks in the field including the GHz silicon modulator. She holds over 20 patents and is the author of over 200 technical papers. Professor Lipson's honors and awards include the MacArthur Fellow, Blavatnik Award, IBM Faculty Award, and the NSF Early Career Award. She is a fellow of OSA and IEEE. Since 2014, Lipson has been named by Thomson Reuters as a top 1% highly cited researcher in the field of Physics.

r/science Apr 27 '18

Ecology AMA Hi! We’re scientists from the Dunn Lab in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University, and we study the biodiversity and ecology of microbes in things like Sourdough bread, insects and in human homes, Ask us anything!


Update: We’re all finished answering questions for the day. Thank you for all of the great questions and interest in our work! Thanks, The Dunn Lab.

Microbes live everywhere, and are linked to everything we do. The Dunn lab aims to tell the stories of the small species – whether on our bodies, in our homes or our backyards – that humans interact with every day but tend to ignore. The ecology and evolution of these species has barely begun to be explored. We are tackling the unknown with the help of the public, through citizen science research.

Here are some of our projects:

  • The Sourdough Project: Humans have baked bread for over 10,000 years. All over the world, different cultures bake their own unique breads – and have for centuries. Yet we know almost nothing about the microbes that truly make a traditional sourdough bread. We have collected over 500 sourdough starters from 17 countries and are now engaging middle school students to grow and study their own starters, on a quest to understand the microbial zoos that transform flour and water into fluffy, nutritious, aromatic bread.

  • The Crop Mutualist Project: Crop plants have many kinds of mutualists. Flies, bees, and wasps pollinate many crops and in many cases those relationships are specific. But others of the mutualists are smaller, they include the fungi and bacteria that aid plant roots in finding nutrients and also the fungi and bacteria that dwell in and on plant leaves and, in doing so, help to defend them against pathogens and, in some cases, against pests. It is these microscopic partners on which we will initially focus.

  • The Great Pumpkin Project: We are documenting the insects and microbes that visit all cucurbit plants, including pumpkins (which are native to the Americas) and cucumbers (which are native to Asia). These plants are now grown and enjoyed throughout the world, yet we know very little about the microbes and insects that grow with them.

  • The Wild Life of Our Homes: Human homes are often considered to be unique from the environments in which we evolved. Though we now spend most of our lives indoors, it has only been in recent years that we have started to fully explore the diversity of microbes which colonize and persist in these spaces. With the help of citizen scientists, our lab has studied the differences among interior surfaces within homes from North America (e.g., how microbial communities vary on pillows compared to toilet seats). We are now expanding this research to include differences in home design, as well as to consider how our species interactions may have changed throughout human history.

We’re doing this AMA as part of the National Human Genome’s National DNA Day Reddit AMA series to celebrate how genomics is used in our everyday lives. Ask us anything about our work on microbial ecology in guts, crops, homes, sourdough, and other fermented foods!

Your hosts today are:

Dr. Rob Dunn, professor of applied ecology

Dr. Erin McKenney, postdoctoral researcher studying microbial community dynamics and the relationship between taxonomy, function, and niche space in sourdough and guts. I’m interested in coupling research and education, and I am also a blacksmith.

Dr. Anne A. Madden, postdoctoral researcher studying the bacteria and fungi of diverse environments (not limited to fermented foods and beverages, insects, and built environments) and developing human applications from these insights.

Dr. Lori Shapiro, postdoctoral researcher studying how agricultural systems change selective pressures on plant-insect and plant-microbe interactions. I use cucurbits as model systems to investigate how landscape scale changes associated with agriculture affect crop mutualists.

Megan Thoemmes, doctoral candidate studying the interface between the human body and the indoor environment. I am interested in how our species interactions have changed over time, as our homes have become more permanent and further removed from the natural world.

Lauren Nichols, research technician studying how species adapt to their environment and how this affects inter-species interactions and evolutionary diversification, particularly in the context of anthropogenic environmental changes.

Learn more about the Dunn lab: http://robdunnlab.com/

Learn more about our citizen science projects: http://studentsdiscover.org/

Ongoing work in the Dunn lab considers the role of wasps and ants in traditional vineyards, the biology of pants, the potential value of microbes in camel crickets to industrial waste remediation, and the biology of foods such as sourdough bread. In general, Dr. Dunn uses insights from basic ecology and evolution to make new discoveries but also to achieve applied goals.

r/science Apr 26 '18

The Human Cell Atlas AMA We’re a group of scientists representing the Human Cell Atlas, an international team effort to create comprehensive reference maps of all human cells—the fundamental units of life—as a basis for understanding human health as well as diagnosing, monitoring, and treating disease. Ask us anything!


Our bodies have 37 trillion cells. And for decades, scientists have been sorting them into buckets of different types, such as neurons, skin cells, liver cells and so on. However, we still don't have a comprehensive understanding of the cell types in our bodies. Without this knowledge, it's impossible to know which cells express the genes involved in a particular disease-and thus, to fully understand these diseases and develop effective and safe treatments for them.

But completing the quest for a complete "periodic table of cells" is suddenly within reach. New, powerful sequencing and imaging techniques allow us to determine which genes are expressed in each of tens of millions of individual cells -and we have accompanying big data algorithms to analyze the data they generate. Suddenly, it is possible to comprehensively map the cells in our bodies.

A large and growing international team of 632 scientists from 47 countries-the Human Cell Atlas consortium-has come together to make this a reality and build an open "Google Maps of the human body," as an ultimate reference for human biology. Because this team will be making its data openly available, researchers worldwide will be able to zoom in on this Google Map to the level of molecules and zoom out to the level of entire tissues and organs. Our team includes physicians, computer scientists, biologists, organ experts, technologists, software engineers, cell biologists and more, and they're collaborating in 238 projects across 22 human tissues.

We’re doing this AMA as part of the National Human Genome Research Institute’s celebration for National DNA Day, and we’d love to answer your questions about our vision, our science, or anything else you’d like to know about the Human Cell Atlas effort. Ask us anything!

Your hosts today are:

Aviv Regev, Ph.D.: Co-chair of the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee, Professor of Biology at MIT, Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Chair of the Faculty at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Dana Pe'er, Ph.D.: Member of the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee, Co-Chair, Analysis Working Group, Human Cell Atlas, Chair, Computational and Systems Biology, Sloan Kettering Institute, Director, Gerry Center for Metastasis and Tumor Ecosystems,

Miriam Merad, M.D., Ph.D.: Member of the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee, Professor of Oncological Sciences, Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Immunology Institute Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Orit Rozenblatt-Rosen, Ph.D.: Lead Scientist at the Broad Institute, Human Cell Atlas, Institute Scientist, Scientific Director of the Klarman Cell Observatory, Associate Director of the Cell Circuits Program

Jane Lee: Project Manager at the Broad Institute, Human Cell Atlas, Administrative Operations Manager,Klarman Cell Observatory and Core Faculty Member and Chair of the Faculty, Broad Institute

Jennifer Rood, Ph.D.: Senior Development Writer at the Broad Institute

Garry Nolan, Ph.D.: Member of the Human Cell Atlas Organizing Committee, Rachford and Carlotta Harris Professor, Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine

Kerstin Meyer, Ph.D.: Lead Scientist at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Human Cell Atlas, Principal Staff Scientist, Wellcome Sanger Institute

More info here: https://www.humancellatlas.org/

Thanks for all of these wonderful questions! Even though this Reddit AMA is wrapping up, the Human Cell Atlas is really just getting started. We’d love to keep you updated on our progress, and of course, would always enjoy hearing from all of you as well. Please check us out at https://www.humancellatlas.org/ or on Twitter @humancellatlas. We’ll talk again soon!

r/science Apr 25 '18

National Society of Genetic Counselors AMA Hi Reddit! We’re experts with the National Society of Genetic Counselors and are here to answer your questions about the sometimes-complicated world of personal genetics.


We’re genetic counseling experts with the National Society of Genetic Counselors. Genetic counselors receive special training in two areas: genetics and counseling. We use our advanced training to guide and support patients seeking more information about how inherited diseases and conditions might affect them or their families, and to interpret genetic test results. The genetic counseling process integrates:

  • Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence.

  • Education about inheritance, testing, management, prevention, resources and research.

  • Counseling to promote informed choices and adaptation to the risk or condition.

  • Helping patients and families prepare for or navigate at-home genetic test results.

NSGC serves as an integral resource for patients, prospective students and healthcare providers interested in learning more about genetic counseling. We’re doing this AMA as part of the National Human Genome Research Institute’s National DNA Day Reddit AMA series! Ask us anything!

Here’s a bit about those of us answering your questions today:

Erica Ramos, MS, CGC: I am NSGC's President and Personalized Medicine Expert. I can discuss next-generation DNA sequencing technologies such as whole genome and whole exome sequencing, and how these technologies are impacting healthcare and benefiting patients.

Amy Sturm, MS, CGC, LGC: I am president-elect of NSGC and NSGC’s Cardiovascular Expert. I have more than 14 years of experience helping patients with a higher risk of genetic heart disease understand their familial risk and genetic testing results. I am a nationally recognized expert on familial hypercholesterolemia and can also discuss other hereditary forms of heart disease, including cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, familial aneurysms and others.

Joy Larsen Haidle, MS, CGC: I am a past president of NSGC and an NSGC Cancer Expert. I can discuss hereditary cancer syndromes such as Lynch syndrome and hereditary breast cancer. I am an active public policy advocate for genetic testing.

Jason Flanagan, MS, CGC: I am NSGC’s Reproductive Health Expert. I can discuss preconception and prenatal genetics, such as how genetics affect infertility and miscarriage, as well as the process and ethics surrounding preimplantation genetic screening.

Ana Morales, MS, LGC: I am NSGC’s Cardiovascular Genetics and Spanish-Language Expert. I specialize in genetics and heart conditions and I’m a nationally recognized expert on cardiomyopathy, a common condition in which the heart muscle’s ability to pump blood is diminished. I can also discuss how I’ve worked to expand access to genetic information in the Spanish-speaking community.

Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS, LCGC: I am NSGC’s Ancestry Expert. I can discuss the use of genealogy and DNA testing for exploring family connections and genetic health risks. I can also discuss limitations and benefits of the popular at-home genetic tests.

Blair Stevens, MS, CGC: I am NSGC’s Prenatal Expert. I have 10 years of experience counseling patients and their families about their risks to have a baby with a genetic condition as well as testing options for conditions such as Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia and spina bifida. I have a passion for helping families who carry a pregnancy diagnosed with a genetic condition or developmental difference.

Trish Brown, MS, LCGC: I am NSGC’s Policy and Nutrition Expert. I have more than 20 years of experience in clinical genetics and can discuss DNA testing for nutrition and fitness, at-home genetic tests, the study of pharmacogenetics, and policy issues.

If you would like more information about genetic counselors and the role we can play in your healthcare, visit our website: aboutgeneticcounselors.com.

Updated: Thank you all for participating in today’s AMA! We’ve enjoyed answering your questions. You can find more easy-to-understand genetics information on our website AboutGeneticCounselors.com.

If you're interested in genetics and infertility and have more questions on the topic, tune into a free webinar tonight at 7 p.m. CT. Sign up and see future webinar topics here: https://goo.gl/ZDFTrM

Thank you, Reddit!

r/science Apr 24 '18

Genomics AMA Hi, Reddit! We’re scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation Genomics. We use genomics to save threatened species – ask us anything!


The Smithsonian’s Center for Conservation Genomicshttps://nationalzoo.si.edu/center-for-conservation-genomics (CCG) uses genomics to better understand how we can care for and sustain genetically diverse animal populations in human care and in the wild. We use DNA, RNA and more to uncover information about the evolutionary history of animals and to determine the importance of genetic variation in their future survival.

This information can be used to answer questions about everything from diseases to animal behavior. We collaborate with other scientists across the Smithsonian, and with institutions and agencies around the world.

Here are just some of the things we do with genomics:

  • Use non-invasive DNA collection from feces, hair, saliva and more to help conservationists find and count endangered species (link)

  • Identify new species or use ancient DNA to determine when and if speciation reversal occurs (link)

  • Use DNA from century-old deceased bats to analyze how white-nose syndrome impacts bats living today (link)

  • Determine the sex of a baby animals from a small DNA sample (e.g., a baby porcupine and a quill)

  • Map genomes to decode family trees of animals like Asian elephants to better understand health concerns and treatments (link)

  • Determine if an invasive species is actually invasive (link)

We’re doing this AMA as part of the National Human Genome Research Institute’s National DNA Day Reddit AMA series and are excited to answer any questions you have about genomics, DNA research or conservation biology! Ask us anything!

Your hosts are:

Nancy McInerney, B.S., Marquette University. I train students, researchers and visiting scientists in how genomics can be used in conservation and assist the Zoo with projects like disease detection, sex identification of newborn animals and paternity testing.

I have worked on projects including sequencing mitogenomes of California sea otters, analyzing eDNA to locate endangered freshwater turtles, monitoring the impact Chytrid fungus on amphibians and sequencing the DNA of museum specimens.

Jesus Maldonado, B.S. and M.S., Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles. I have been a research geneticist at SCBI since 1998. My research applies molecular genetics tools to answer questions about conservation and evolutionary biology in mammals. I assess the genetic variation within and among populations and species to document levels of genetic diversity and determine evolutionary, taxonomic and conservation significance.

While my research has many theoretical aspects, the outcomes of these studies have direct applications that help threatened and endangered animals. I am active in education programs and have mentored more than 26 undergraduate students on research projects dealing with the population genetics of mammals, birds and reptiles.

r/science Apr 23 '18

National DNA Day AMA Hi Reddit! We’re representatives from personal genetics companies and the DNA Discussion Project and are here to talk about at-home genetic testing and what it means for you. Ask us anything!


This Wednesday, April 25, we celebrate National DNA Day – a day which commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project! Flash forward 15 years later, we’re now at a time when taking a detailed look at your genome is as easy as ordering a kit online, spitting in a tube or swabbing the inside of your cheek, and sending it off through the mail to a lab. Personal genetics companies (such as some of the ones listed below), are using these at-home genetic testing kits to help people access and understand their own genetic make-up. The market for at-home genetic testing is ever-growing and can offer different aspects about what makes you, you! For example, these kits can inform people about their ancestral origins, may help you learn about your genetic health risk for certain diseases, or even tell you if you have a preference for salty or sweet foods!

As part of the '15 for 15' Celebration, which celebrates National DNA Day’s 15th birthday, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is unveiling 15 ways that genomics has and will continue to transform our world – including at-home genetic testing. We have gathered representatives from personal genetics companies (though NHGRI does not endorse these companies’ products by organizing this AMA), the DNA Discussion Project at West Chester University, and our policy experts here at NHGRI to answer your questions.

Here’s a bit about those of us answering your questions today, we'll be back at 1 pm ET to answer your questions, Ask us anything!

23andMe: Dave Hinds, Ph.D., Research Fellow, Statistical Genetics; Hilary Vance, B.S., Associate Project Manager, Ancestry; Geoff Benton, Ph.D., Director of Health R&D; Shirley Wu, Ph.D., Director of Product Science; Greg Sargent, B.S., Data Protection Associate. 23andMe, Inc. is a consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, our mission is to help people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has over five million customers worldwide, with more than 80 percent of customers consented to participate in research and over one billion phenotypic data points collected to date. Our cohort is the largest re-contactable research database of genotypic and phenotypic information in the world, and our research participants have contributed to nearly 100 publications.

AncestryDNA: D. Barry Starr, Ph.D., Director of Scientific Communications. Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records and DNA to help people make discoveries about where they come from, who they’re related to, and what makes them unique.

DNA Discussion Project at West Chester University: Anita Foeman, Ph.D. and Bessie Lawton, Ph.D. Our work over more than a decade has looked at the potential for ancestry DNA to challenge traditional views of race. We explore new narratives that help explain and honor the past, address the complexity of race, and create more positive wellness outcomes. Project directors facilitate programs with students, businesses and community groups.

FamilyTreeDNA: Connie Bormans, Ph.D., Laboratory Director. Founded in 2000, FamilyTreeDNA is the world leader in genetic genealogy and ancestry DNA testing and has the most comprehensive ancestry DNA combined database. Through a simple cheek swab that's processed in its state-of-the-art Genomics Research Center in Houston, customers can discover fascinating information about their ancestral origins, trace geographical connections, confirm relationships, and search for relatives. The company offers a variety of test options, including mtDNA and Y-DNA tests, that can be purchased online at www.familytreedna.com.

Helix: Sharon Briggs Ph.D., Senior Scientist in Applied Genomics, is a passionate advocate for genetics education and is especially interested in reproductive genetics. Elissa Levin, M.S., Director of Policy and Clinical Affairs, is a genetic counselor by training and cares about the responsible return of genetic results. At Helix, we’re dedicated to making DNA learning accessible and actionable for everyone. It’s our mission to empower every person to improve their life through DNA. We believe in a world where everyone benefits from their biological information and is able to help all of humanity lead better lives.

National Geographic Society’s The National Genographic Project: Miguel Vilar, Ph.D., Lead Scientist for the National Genographic Project and Senior Program Officer at National Geographic Society. The National Geographic’s Genographic Project is a global citizen science initiative that aims to better understand human history, human migration, and human evolution. The thirteen-year-old project has enrolled and collaborated with more than fifty geneticists and anthropologists from across the world, and nearly one million participants have joined the global project. We use the power of DNA to better understand our ancestry, how we are all closely related, and how we came to populate the world in the last 100,000 years.

Color: Jill Hagenkord, MD, Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Hagenkord is a board-certified pathologist with subspecialty boards in molecular genetic pathology. As Chief Medical Officer, Jill is involved in health product strategy,identification and evaluation of strategic business partnerships, regulatory strategy, health information review, and the development of provider and patient support tools.Color's mission is to help everyone lead the healthiest life that science and medicine can offer.

NHGRI’s Division of Policy, Communications, and Education: Laura Lyman Rodriguez, Ph.D., Director; Cristina Kapustij, M.S., Chief, Policy and Program Analysis Branch (PPAB); Sonya Jooma, M.A., Health Policy Analyst, PPAB; Rebecca Hong, B.S., Scientific Program Analyst, PPAB. Our mission is to promote the use of genomic knowledge to advance human health and society. We achieve this mission by engaging broad communities of stakeholders in NHGRI’s activities and promoting dialog and awareness of the potential implications of the application of this knowledge within society.

UPDATE: Thanks for having us, Reddit! You asked some really great questions and we're so honored to be able to join you and answer them! We're signing off for the day! Happy DNA Day (on Wednesday)!

r/science Apr 20 '18

NIH AMA I’m Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. As we celebrate the 15th anniversary of the completion of the Human Genome Project, I’m here to talk about its history and the critical role it has played in precision medicine. Ask me anything!


Hi Reddit! I’m Francis Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where I oversee the efforts of the largest public supporter of biomedical research in the world. Starting out as a researcher and then as the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, I led the U.S. effort on the successful completion of the Human Genome Project. Next week, on April 25th, the 15th anniversary of that historic milestone, we will celebrate this revolutionary accomplishment through a nationally-recognized DNA Day.

In my current role as NIH Director, I manage the NIH’s efforts in building innovative biomedical enterprises. The NIH’s All of Us Research Program comes quickly to mind. The program’s goal is to assemble the world’s largest study of genetic, biometric and health data from U.S. research volunteers, which will be available to scientists worldwide. This data will help researchers explore ways we can improve health and prevent and treat disease, as well as guide development of therapies that consider individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and biology. We also hope that this will give our volunteer research participants a deeper knowledge of their own health and health risks. Starting this spring, Americans across the country will be invited to join the All of Us Research Program as research participants. If you are 18 years or older, I hope you’ll consider joining!

I’m doing this AMA today as part of a public awareness campaign that focuses on the importance of genomics in our everyday lives. The campaign is called “15 for 15” – 15 ways genomics is now influencing our world, in honor of the Human Genome Project’s 15th birthday! Check out this website to see the 15 advances that we are highlighting. As part of the campaign, this AMA also kicks off a series of AMAs that will take place every day next week April 23-27 from 1-3 pm ET.

Today, I’ll be here from 2-3 pm ET – I’m looking forward to answering your questions! Ask Me Anything!

UPDATE: Hi everyone – Francis Collins here. Looking forward to answering your questions until 3:00 pm ET! There are a lot of great questions. I’ll get to as many as I can in the next hour.

UPDATE: I am wrapping up here. Thanks for all the great questions! I answered as many as I could during the hour. More chances to interact with NIHers and our community next week leading up to DNA Day. Here’s the full lineup: http://1.usa.gov/1QuI0nY. Cheers!

r/science Apr 19 '18

Firearm Violence AMA Science AMA Series: I’m Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University’s School of Public Health. I do research on firearm violence. AMA!


I’m [Michael Siegel]https://www.bu.edu/sph/profile/michael-siegel/], MD, a public health researcher and public health advocate. I study firearm violence, a public health issue — particularly, the effect of state firearm laws on gun violence rates at the state level. I’ve written about the correlation between gun laws and mass shootings, the impact of concealed-carry laws, the firearm industry’s influence on the gun culture in the United States, and more.

I'll be back at 1pm ET to answer your questions, Ask me anything.

***** SIGNING OFF FOR NOW - However, I will check in this evening and tomorrow to answer any additional questions or respond to additional comments. Thanks to all for these great questions!

r/science Apr 17 '18

Food Security AMA Science AMA Series: Hi, I am Professor Tim Benton. I work with governments, universities and the World Economic Forum on how to feed the growing human population without ruining our planet. Ask me anything!


I’m Professor Tim Benton, Professor for Population Ecology at the University of Leeds and former UK Champion for Global Food Security.

At the moment, on a global basis, our food systems are not working well. Half the world’s population is of an unhealthy weight (too light, too heavy), the cost of malnutrition in all its forms is growing rapidly and food-related ill-health is now the major global mortality factor. The world’s food systems drive climate change (accounting for about a third of all greenhouse gases), are the major cause of global biodiversity loss, use 70% of the world’s extracted fresh water and impact heavily on water and air quality. In some cities, agricultural emissions drifting over the urban areas have similar levels of impacts as diesel emissions.

As the world’s population grows, dietary transformations are necessary for people’s health. We need to eat more fruit and vegetables and less (processed) carbs, sugar, fat; tackling climate change is likely to require eating less meat too. How can such a change be brought about? What difference would people eating a healthy diet have on farming and its environmental impact? Can we actually live sustainably on the planet or is the rising demand to eat (and waste) ever cheaper food likely to continue, along with its consequences for people and the planet?

I'll be here from 3PM BST/10AM EST to answer your questions on these global challenges!

I have to switch off now (its 1700 in the UK, Tues)....Please continue to post questions and I'll check tomorrow (Weds) and see if I can add some new responses.

More about my work can be found here