Many people believe that if citizens were better informed about the science of climate change, there would be more of a national consensus over the highly contentious issue. But a study by Law School professor and opinion researcher Dan Kahan and his colleagues shows otherwise. In the February issue of Advances in Political Psychology, Kahan’s team reported that, in a study of the general- and climate-science knowledge of a comprehensive sample of 2,000 adults, those with the highest scores were the most politically polarized.


Anyone who has “inhaled” knows that marijuana promotes the munchies. In a study published online in March in Nature, neuroscientist Tamas Horvath and his colleagues have discovered why. Working with stoned mice, the researchers found that the active components in cannabis flip a molecular switch in a group of hunger-suppressing neurons and trick them into secreting a hormone that encourages food intake. This finding may help scientists searching for medications that increase or decrease appetite.


The development of a quantum computer, a machine that would be light years ahead of today’s highest-tech models, remains elusive—but a discovery by applied physics postdoc Zaki Leghtas and his colleagues may get us closer to something that is still hypothetical. In the February 20 Science, the researchers describe finding a new form of friction that enables a quantum information particle—a “qubit”—to exist in two information-encoding forms simultaneously (as is paradoxically possible in the quantum universe). Future research in the lab of applied physicist Michel Devoret will seek to expand this “two dimensional steady-state quantum manifold” to four dimensions, thus creating the ability to store quantum information and correct errors at the same time.

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