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Daniela

SciCafe: Forgetting Fear with Daniela Schiller

Q&As

Fear can take many forms, from minor phobias to life-altering conditions such as PTSD. Now, new research is shedding light on how these so-called fear memories could be changed. At the final SciCafe of the season on Wednesday, June 6,neuroscientist Daniela Schiller will discuss her work on the neural mechanisms of emotional control and potential ways to modify or “erase” fear memories. Schiller recently answered a few questions about how memories are created and lost.

How did you first become interested in studying emotional memories?

It wasn’t an explicit decision. I started with philosophy and psychology, and I was interested in the brain and the mind. And the combination is the neural basis of behavior, and within behavior, emotion is fascinating because it’s the least willful process we have. We think emotions just happen to us, but they don’t just pop out of the blue. It’s interesting to look at the mechanism and see that it’s a very distinct process in the brain that you can observe and counteract and modulate.

Tags: Brain, Q&A, SciCafe

Museum Releases Free Companion iPad App for Creatures of Light Exhibition

On Exhibit posts

The Museum’s free companion iPad app for the popular new exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence offers a close look at some of the extraordinary organisms that produce light. The app, which has been featured in the New and Noteworthy section of the iPad app store, reveals the beauty of bioluminescence through interactive animations, photo galleries, and videos. Each chapter of the app, which is adapted from the iPad content featured throughout the exhibition gallery, is set to a symphonic soundtrack composed exclusively for Creatures of Light.

Tags: Bioluminescence

Dino-Bird Transition

Developmental Timing Offers Another Window Into Dinosaur-Bird Transition

Research posts

A new study has used skull anatomy to show that the evolution of birds from dinosaurs may have resulted from a drastic change in dinosaur development.

In a study published this week in the journal Nature, researchers from Harvard University, the Museum, the New York Institute of Technology, The University of Texas at Austin, and the Autonomous University of Madrid report evidence that while many dinosaurs took years to reach sexual maturity, birds sped up the developmental clock, which led them to retain the physical characteristics of baby dinosaurs.

Tags: Dinosaurs

Manhattanhenge

Four Things to Know About Manhattanhenge

News posts

Four nights a year, the streets of Manhattan’s grid become the site for a spectacular sunset phenomenon known as Manhattanhenge. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about this event.

What is Manhattanhenge?

As Director of the Hayden Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson, who discovered the phenomenon and coined the term “Manhattanhenge,” explains in his Hayden Planetarium blog, Manhattanhenge takes place “when the setting Sun aligns precisely with the Manhattan street grid, creating a radiant glow of light across Manhattan’s brick and steel canyons, simultaneously illuminating both the north and south sides of every cross street of the borough’s grid. A rare and beautiful sight.”

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, Neil deGrasse Tyson

Venus transit_1

Countdown to the Transit of Venus on June 5

Research posts

Astrophysicist Jackie Faherty is blogging about the upcoming transit of Venus, which will take place next week. In her first post, she explains what the transit is, when it occurs, where she will be observing it—and where New Yorkers can catch a glimpse of the phenomenon.

A rare astronomical event is upon us: our sister planet Venus is about to transit our Sun. Depending on your geographic location, this means that the distant planet will glide across the face of the Sun appearing as a small black dot for several hours. Just like the Moon will sometimes pass between the Earth and the Sun, causing a solar eclipse, so do the innermost planets Venus and Mercury. However, since Venus and Mercury are many times more distant to us than the Moon, and since their orbits are not perfectly aligned with that of the Earth, transits of the inner planets are far more rare than solar eclipses and the shadows they cast are smaller. But the event is no less dramatic and unfolds over several hours rather than mere minutes.

Tags: Hayden Planetarium

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