10 most relevant words in world science

An interesting article that will acquaint you with the 10 most relevant words of world science and how they can be applied in everyday life.

1 Pluripotency

A very rich word. “For the discovery that mature cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells” is the rationale for the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This very pluripotency means the ability of cells to turn into anything: into blood, into muscles, into the spleen. Particularly zealous advocates of the purity of the Russian language can replace this word with "many possibilities", but scientists still prefer Latin roots.

Physicians love stem cells so much because they are pluripotent and theoretically any organ can be grown from them. It remains only to find the optimal technology, which is what thousands of laboratories and institutes around the world are doing.

Use of the word “What am I doing tonight? While I am pluripotent "

Translation “I have no clear plans. Maybe I'll go to the pub and get drunk in the trash. Or maybe I'll lie down on the sofa and read Kierkegaard. What suggestions do you have? "

2 Cognitive

The word "cognitive" comes from the English cognition, "knowledge", and in theory should be translated as "cognitive". But this niche in the Russian language is already occupied: a book with pictures or an article in the "Russian Reporter" can be cognitive. And here we are talking about the serious sciences of neurophysiology and psycholinguistics, about artificial intelligence. Therefore, scientists prefer to say "cognitive".

Everything related to the perception, storage and processing of information belongs to the cognitive field. What happens to neurons when a person reads love poems? Can a computer toy be controlled by the power of thought? How to teach a machine to recognize human faces? How to make icons on a tablet so that they can be recognized faster? All of these questions fall within the realm of the cognitive sciences.

In recent years, this direction has become incredibly popular - thanks to two sciences that have leaped forward a lot: computing and neuropsychology. The union of a soulless machine with an ephemeral human psyche is what holds the adjective “cognitive” together.

There is a possibility that the word "cognitive" will become as fashionable as the prefix "nano", and it will be possible to cling to any noun - to give solidity. However, there is an even cooler term: NBIK. This abbreviation is derived from the names of four technologies: nano, bio, information and cognitive (nano, bio, info and cogno). Scientists promise that NBIK will open the way to a bright, innovative future.

The use of the word "Dear, I have a suspicion that your cognitive characteristics are below the average in the population."

Translation of "You are a fool"

3 qubits

We are used to bits and bytes. Even a village grandmother has mastered this terminology: "Well, my dear, the Internet in my hut is slow, only one hundred kilobits, and my mobile phone is wretched - eight megabytes of memory ..." Everything is simple: a bit is the minimum unit of information: either 0, or 1, and a byte is 8 bits.

But scientists predict the emergence of a quantum computer, where instead of the usual bits and bytes there will be qubits - quantum bits. This is already more difficult. Quantum mechanics is a tricky science; many people still cannot get used to the idea that a cat in Schrödinger's thought experiment can be both alive and dead at the same time.

It's the same with qubits. They can be in different states at the same time (imagine a young lady who is both pregnant and non-pregnant at the same time), and this promises another technological revolution. A quantum computer based on 128 qubits - these have already been created - has 2, 128 (this is a number with 38 zeros) states, so calculations are performed at an absolutely crazy speed.

It remains only to bring the experimental sample to the state of a full-fledged device. This will most likely happen in the coming years. Follow the news.

The use of the word "Your head seems to be stuffed with cubits ..."

Translation “You are very smart. Only I don't understand you at all "

4 Dark Matter and Dark Energy

Dark matter is wonderful. Dark energy is even more beautiful. First, there are a lot of them. Scientists claim that these two substances account for 96% of the mass of the Universe. Stars, planets and other things we observe make up a measly 4%.

And secondly, it’s not clear to the end what it is. They are dark because they cannot be clearly recorded. Apparently, these are not the usual protons, electrons and photons, but something completely different. But without their existence, astrophysicists do not converge formulas, and a formula for a scientist is sacred.

When the news comes out: “Hurray! A cluster of dark matter has been found in space ", it should most likely be understood as follows:" The data obtained with some probability can be interpreted as signs of confirmation of one of the many hypotheses ... "

The use of the word "Our online store offers you a discount on a stylish sofa upholstered in dark fabric"

Translation “The owner of this furniture store is completely unaware of the current problems of astrophysics. Or vice versa - too aware, but then the quality of the sofa raises questions "

5 Epigenetics

Over the past decades, we have grown very fond of our genome. The sequence of nucleotide letters has become on a par with fundamental texts like the Bible and the Constitution of the Russian Federation. But it is important not only what is written, but also how it is read. Inspired by the Bible, you can hide in a cell and humbly pray, or you can grab a sword and rush to Palestine to chop off the heads of unbelievers. I'm not even talking about the Constitution.

Epigenetics is just about that. She studies how genes can change without changing the DNA sequence. There are many external factors that cause some genes to work harder, while others go into hibernation. Each of our cells contains the same genome, but in one case the cell becomes part of the pumped up biceps, and in the other - a neuron to the best of the genius brain. Thanks to epigenetics, we can understand how our body develops, and where we get so many diseases from.

The use of the word "Looking at you and your parents, I understand that epigenetics is a powerful thing."

Translation "I wanted to say that you are a freak, but politeness does not allow"

6 Exoplanets

Even thirty years ago, astronomers lived well. There is a native solar system, in it the well-known planets, and what is happening around other stars belonged to the field of theories. But since the late 1980s, they began to discover planets in other star systems. It is difficult to see them directly, but they can be calculated by indirect signs, for example, by the peculiarities of the motion of the parent star.

In recent years, exoplanets have been discovered more and more often. At first, science journalists rejoiced: every day, the sensation: "Discovered a planet outside the solar system." Then they began to write only if this planet is some kind of special - for example, its parameters do not contradict the possibility of the existence of life. Now it is generally unclear whether such a discovery is news or not. At the end of 2012, the existence of 853 exoplanets was confirmed, and three thousand more are listed as candidates. Their total number in the Galaxy alone can be over 100 billion. There won't be enough news here.

It's a shame that in the next hundreds of years the astronaut's foot will not leave a mark on any exoplanet. The closest object to us - alpha Centauri B b - is located at a distance of 4.6 light years from us. But so far, alas, we cannot land a landing on Mars, which is no more than 20 light minutes away.

The use of the word "Darling, would you like us to spend this vacation on some beautiful exoplanet?"

Translation “No money. We spend our holidays at home "

7 Standard Model

Physicists have their own periodic table. Outwardly, it is even simpler - only 16 cells. Scientists have managed to fit in them almost all the cubes that make up our matter. And not only cubes, but also the connections between them, for example, electromagnetic interaction. There are quarks, electrons, neutrinos, and photons. Everything around - from a supernova explosion to a hamburger for lunch - can be described by holding this table in front of you. Until recently, there was only one free cell where the Higgs boson was supposed to be located. Now it is also full.

But the fun begins outside the Standard Model (scientists proudly call it "new physics"). First, the table does not include gravity: it is not clear where to enter it. Secondly, there is no clarity with dark matter and dark energy. Third, it follows from the Standard Model that matter and antimatter should be equal in the Universe. But then it is not clear why you exist and read the magazine - you had to annihilate with anti-you ... In general, the scope for receiving Nobel Prizes in physics opens up boundless.

Use of the word "It's as simple as the Standard Model"

Translation “It's very difficult. But there are more complicated things. "

8 Wormhole

A wormhole, it is a wormhole, it is a wormhole ... This is the most intriguing space object. Allegedly, with its help, you can move in time, get to other parts of the Universe or to other universes. Of course, no one has ever seen a wormhole. But the calculations of theorists show that such a fantastic thing can exist. There is a possibility that the wormholes can be found by the Russian device "Radioastron", which is now operating in orbit.

The use of the word "I want to hide in a wormhole"

Translation "Move not only to another city, but also to another universe"

9 Hirsch index

Named after the American physicist Jorge Hirsch. In 2005, he developed a new method for assessing the productivity of a scientist (by the way, spiteful critics claim that Hirsch's own index of the same name is not very high).

Scientists can launch giant rigs, trudge to the ends of the world on an expedition, or grow teeth from chickens. But the main result is still an article in a scientific journal. In the West, it is publications (and not protected candidate and doctoral dissertations) that are the main measure of scientific success. In Russia, this criterion is also gradually coming to the fore.

There are different measurement techniques: the number of articles published; the number of articles where this scientist is listed first in the list of authors; the number of links to this article; the number of links to the journal in which the article is published, etc. The method proposed by Hirsch links published articles with links to them (a link is the most important indicator that your work turned out to be important to someone else).

According to the latest calculations by expertcorps.ru, among Russian scientists, Igor Savin from JINR (Dubna) currently has the highest Hirsch index, and most of all are cited by Semyon Eidelman from the Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics.

Use of the word “Imagine, I recently met a man here. He has a so-a-a-a-a-a-a-a Hirsch index ... "

Translation "This is a good man"

10 Falsification

The word is very important because it describes at least two fundamental scientific concepts. The first is when a scientist cheats. I immediately recall the recent scandals with dissertations stuffed with plagiarism and invented links.

But there is also a second meaning. The philosopher Karl Popper once put forward the “principle of falsifiability, ” according to which only such a statement is truly scientific that can in principle be experimentally refuted. If a scientist says that a hearty breakfast increases the IQ level in children, then it is more or less clear how this thesis can be refuted - for example, there will be data on children who do not eat breakfast at all, and their intelligence grows at the same time. But imagine the claim that giving up flesh improves karma. Since karma is not measured by anything, it is impossible to refute this statement even theoretically. The falsifiability criterion is so good that it helps to distinguish science from all garbage.

The use of the word "If the thesis can be falsified, then, according to Popper, it is scientific"