Steve Mirsky, Scientific American

Steve Mirsky

Scientific American

New York, NY, United States

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Past articles by Steve:

Our Health Depends on Our Homes and Work Spaces

A new book looks at the science of how our buildings affect our bodies and minds → Read More

175 Years of Scientific American: The Good, the Bad and the Debunking

We look back at some highlights, midlights and lowlights of the history of Scientific American, featuring former editor in chief John Rennie. Astrophysicist Alan Guth also appears in a sponsored segment. → Read More

Teaching Rats to Drive: A New Model for Learning

Rats learned to drive tiny cars as a model for acquiring new skills → Read More

Even If We Knew Everything That Can Be Known, We Wouldn't Know It All

In the 1954 World Series, Willie Mays of the New York Giants made what many consider the greatest catch in baseball history on a long fly ball to straightaway center-field hit by Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians. Broadcaster Bob Costas talked about the catch for the Ken Burns documentary series Baseball: “It was more than just a great catch. It was a catch no one had ever seen before ... it… → Read More

A Nobel Economist Cites Growth as Innovation

Paul Romer, an expert in what’s known as endogenous growth theory and winner of the 2018 Nobel prize in economics, speaks to Scientific American about seeing economic growth as increased value, akin to when ingredients in a recipe are used to create a dish worth more than the original raw materials. His research concludes that investment in people, knowledge and innovation are primary growth… → Read More

A New Book Examines the Relationship between Math and Physics

Early in his new book, physics historian Graham Farmelo quotes Nima Arkani-Hamed, a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, N.J.: “We can eavesdrop on nature not only by paying attention to experiments but also by trying to understand how their results can be explained with the deepest mathematics. You could say that the universe speaks to us in numbers.”… → Read More

Jared Diamond's New Book Upheaval Looks at Lessons to Be Found from Countries in Crisis

Perhaps the only funny item in Jared Diamond’s new book Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis is an anecdote about what was known as the Winter War. When the Soviet Union invaded Finland in late 1939, the Finns resisted against the much larger Soviet forces until the two countries compromised on an uneasy peace. → Read More

Rhinos and Their Gamekeepers Benefit from AI

Starting in 2017, an artificial intelligence monitoring system at the Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa has been helping to protect rhinos and their caretakers. → Read More

A Biodegradable Label Doesn't Make It So

At the third Scientific American “Science on the Hill” event, “Solving the Plastic Waste Problem”, one of the issues discussed by experts on Capitol Hill was biodegradability. → Read More

A Loaded Gun Can Be Dangerous Even If Only a Dog Is Near the Trigger

Even man’s most loyal companion can’t be trusted around guns → Read More

What Chickens Can Teach Hearing Researchers

At an event honoring Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, neuroscientists James Hudspeth and Robert Fettiplace talked about the physiology of hearing and the possibility of restoring hearing loss. → Read More

How Some U.S. Cities Saw 70 Degree F Temperature Swings between January and February

The polar vortex struck in January, giving Chicago a brief blast of Arctic weather → Read More

Researchers Show How Not to Waste Waste

There's been a lot of crap in the news lately, and for a change I mean that literally. Let's start with the study presented last November 18 at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics entitled “How Do Wombats Make Cubed Poo?” Yes, wombats produce dicelike discharges. The marsupial's unique ability attracted the attention of researchers who looked at the… → Read More

Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife Tells of His Relationships with the Tower of London's Resident Birds

The Ravenmaster awoke at the crack of dawn. He emerged from his quarters and onto the grounds. He then prepared water and food for the seven ravens he lives with before releasing six of them for the day. Merlina was already out—she prefers to sleep outside. None of the ravens has three eyes or carries messages. This wasn't Winterfell; it's the Tower of London. And it wasn't a portentous day in… → Read More

Beavers Made America Great, a New Book Explains

The Hoover Dam on the border of Nevada and Arizona is 726 feet high and 1,244 feet across. But another dam in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is more impressive. Made of wood, mud, rocks and whatever other materials were available, this dam is six feet high and more than 260 feet long. And it's more impressive because the builders had no printed plans, heavy equipment or opposable thumbs. They lacked… → Read More

New Research about Eating, Sleeping, Eliminating and Snuggling

As Cleveland Cavaliers guard J. R. Smith has probably heard a few times at this point, you have to be solid in the fundamentals. For a basketball player, some of the fundamentals are dribbling, shooting and, as Smith learned the hard way, knowing the correct score with seconds to play in the first game of the NBA Finals. For the rest of us (who blissfully do dumb things without attracting… → Read More

A Look at the Inner Lives of 13 Species of Animals You Think You Know

Animals' inner lives are stranger than we can imagine → Read More

A Look at the Inner Lives of 13 Species of Animals You Think You Know

Animals' inner lives are stranger than we can imagine → Read More

Chimps, Horses, Kangaroos and Even Bees Can Be Righties or Lefties

A surprising number of animals exhibit handedness—bees included → Read More

Intelligent Aliens May Know about Us Well Before We Find Out about Them

SETI is still scanning the skies for other galactic citizens → Read More