Science frequently challenges our intuitive understanding of the world. Even as an adult, I am constantly confronted with new scientific advancements and discoveries that don’t always line up with my preconceived notions. Such ideas are considered counterintuitive because they present themselves in ways that are counter to one's intuitive notions or “gut feelings.”

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This past week my e-mail in-box has been filling up with messages about Utah.

“Have you seen what’s going on there?” people are asking me. “They are trying to write climate denial into the standards!”

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Alabama state coat of arms, via Wikimedia CommonsIn September 2015, something amazing happened. It isn’t what we traditionally think of as ground-breaking or life-changing, but to millions of young people in one southern state, this will be the first step toward a new lens on science. What was it?

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Scott Hatfield was one of NCSE’s Grand Canyon Teacher Scholarship winners. He teaches biology at Bullard High School, in Fresno, California. Teachers can apply for a scholarship on next year's trip, and you can donate to the scholarship fund or sign up for the trip now.

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In part 1 of this Q&A, I asked John Mead, a Dallas teacher who befriended Lee Berger, the discoverer of Homo naledi, about how he came to know about the new hominid species in advance, and he answered in detail. Now I’ve got a simple request for him…

Stephanie Keep: Sum up the importance of Homo naledi in one sentence.

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It should be pretty obvious by now that I’m pretty excited about the discovery of Homo naledi announced on September 10. Sure, there are some known unknowns, but it’s just such a cool story!

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Just published yesterday in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is a tour de force of thinking big, working together, and demonstrating that even science that is messy and incomplete can be incredibly useful and worthy of publication.

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You know how they used to peddle orange juice by saying, “It isn’t just for breakfast any more?” That’s how I feel about informal science education. No, silly: not that it isn’t just for breakfast any more. That it isn’t just for kids any more. (Unlike Trix, silly rabbit, which are just for kids.)

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