It's time for our monthly episode of Science Diction, where we explore the origins of scientific words with my guest Howard Markel, professor of history of medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, also director of the Center for the History of Medicine there. He joins us WUOM. Welcome back, Howard.
HOWARD MARKEL: Good afternoon, Ira.
FLATOW: We have a very interesting word, or actually lab equipment today.
MARKEL: That we do. It's my favorite plate. It's the Petri dish.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Scientists have been searching for decades for a subatomic particle called the Higgs Boson. You've heard about it. It's been in the news, and you know, in theory, it explains why and how objects have mass.
This holiday season I'm sure is finding many of us on airplanes, flying around the country. It could take tedious hours of body scans, the crummy back-of-the-seat TV and scary airplane bumps and noises. But if you marvel at nature and technology, though, you can turn this torturous event into a more enjoyable learning experience.
Christopher Hitchens, shown here in 2010, began a lifelong battle with a God he didn't believe in when he was just 9 years old.
Credit David Levenson / Getty Images
Over the years, Christopher Hitchens took on most of the leading figures of his time. <a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/12/16/143674020/the-many-targets-of-christopher-hitchens">Click for an audio slideshow.</a>
Writer Christopher Hitchens, who died on Thursday from complications of cancer at the age of 62, leaves behind some 18 books and countless essays on politics and public figures. But his most lasting legacy may be his atheism and his long-running duel with what he considered the world's most dangerous threat: religion.