Spurred by PHE Guest Investigator and microbiologist David Thaler’s publication, “Is global microbial biodiversity increasing, decreasing, or staying the same?” , David and Jesse Ausubel co-author a 900-word essay raising the question of what’s happening to microbes in RealClear Science.
Area of Research: Technology & Human Environment
DNA and Art Law
Thanks to Diana Wierbicki, Dean Nicyper, and Eric Rayman, Jesse Ausubel presented a short talk on Some DNA Issues for Art Law to the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar based on the progress of the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project.
How eDNA Could be a Cornerstone of the New Blue Economy
Measuring Ambient Ocean Sound During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Broadening the scope of global change to include illumination and noise
Passing of Robert A. Frosch
Our great friend and colleague Robert A. Frosch passed away 30 December 2020 at age 92. Jesse Ausubel met Bob in November 1977 at the first meeting of the NASEM Climate Research Board, and we cooperated for the next 40 years. Bob chaired the National Academy of Engineering study group that produced the 1989 book Technology and Environment with the opening essay, Technology and Environment: An Overview by Jesse H. Ausubel, Robert A. Frosch, and Robert Herman. A Remembrance will follow.
15-minute video interview with Jesse Ausubel
The new website Academic Influence, led by Wake Forest U. physicist Jed Macosko, conducted a video interview with Jesse Ausubel about his career.
Shellenberger Book Review
PHE Researcher Iddo Wernick published a review of the recently released book Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger
Discoveries of the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project
Biologists in the Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project have shared a trio of fascinating, innovative papers.
Manolito G. Torralba, Claire Kuelbs, Kelvin Jens Moncera, and Karen E. Nelson of the J Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, California, and Rhonda Roby of the Alameda California County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory, used small, dry polyester swabs to gently collect microbes from centuries-old, Renaissance-style art in a private collector’s home in Florence, Italy. Their findings are published open access in the journal Microbial Ecology, “Characterizing microbial signatures on sculptures and paintings of similar provenance.”
Concurrently available are a pair of papers by David Thaler, of the University of Basel and a guest investigator in the Program for the Human Environment. David’s papers are
“Evidence for extraordinary visual acuity in Leonardo’s comment on a dragonfly,” and “Sfumato in Leonardo’s portraits: Optical and psychophysical mechanisms.”
Thaler’s papers form part of a collection now in press as a book: Actes du Colloque International d’Amboise: Leonardo de Vinci, Anatomiste. Pionnier de l’Anatomie comparée, de la Biomécanique, de la Bionique et de la Physiognomonie, edited by Henry de Lumley, CNRS editions, Paris.
Two major newswires, Agence France Presse and Agencia EFE, each did separate stories:
Manny Torralba et al.
AFP Microbes Could ‘help Save Old Masters’ And Catch Forgers
Agencia EFE Identificar microbios en obras de arte abre la puerta a una mejor preservación
AFP Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘quick eye’ may be key to Mona Lisa’s magnetism
German version Forscher: «Schnelles Auge» half da Vinci beim Zeichnen und Malen
Agencia EFE La rapidez visual “súper desarrollada” de Da Vinci podría explicar la sonrisa de la Mona Lisa
LiveScience, United States Did Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘quick eye’ help him capture Mona Lisa’s fleeting smile?
By Leonardo Da Vinci DNA Project (summary)
Genetic detectives ID microbes suspected of slowly ruining humanity’s treasures
COVID & The World Interview with Jesse Ausubel
The website Human Progress launches a new video series called The Covid Tonic. The series features conversations between renowned scholars and editor, Marian L. Tupy. The interviews focus on the global impact of COVID-19 and the continued importance of rational optimism. Episode 1 features the environmental scientist Jesse Ausubel, a Human Progress Board Member and Director of the Program for the Human Environment at The Rockefeller University in New York City.
Watch the full video here.