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Trauma seems to be passed down genetically — but experts still aren’t sure what that means

Trauma is an experience so harrowing that it can alter our gene expression — and in some cases, these changes can be passed down to future generations. But if the traumas experienced by our parents, grandparents and other ancestors can be directly transmitted to us through our genes — and presumably, we pass down our own psychological residue to our kids — what does that mean exactly?...

Originally posted on salon.com

Oppenheimer’s hero Niels Bohr has a legacy as complicated as the “father of the atomic bomb”

In Christopher Nolan’s hit biopic “Oppenheimer,” real-life Danish physicist Niels Bohr is more than just a major character. As depicted by Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh, he is a living legend, looming large both over the film’s depiction of the Manhattan Project and over the psyche of the titular protagonist himself, J....

Originally posted on salon.com

My great-uncle helped liberate a concentration camp. His last words to me were a warning

The last time I saw my great-uncle, he uttered six words that I will never forget. Struggling to speak, as he was already 102 years old, his mouth slowly formed each syllable with excruciating effort: “Nazis… are… bastards… Shoot… to… kill!”

My mother and I laughed. We were visiting Dr. Merrill Stern — retired New Jersey dentist and former officer in the United States Army Air Corps (a precursor to the Air Force) — after receiving a dire update about his health....

Originally posted on salon.com