Articles - random samples
Science in Seconds (Quercus, 2012) gives simple snack-sized introductions to 200 concepts in science, covering diverse topics including cloning, climate change, black holes and quantum theory. It aims to be a simple inroad to even the trickiest scientific subjects without getting bogged down in detail.
Eureka! (Quercus, 2012) distils the lives and achievements of hundreds of famous (and notorious) scientists into short, easily digestible biographies. They range from Aristotle’s pioneering natural philosophy to Harvey's theory of blood circulation and Carl Sagan's speculations on extraterrestrial life.
Noisy Neighbours (New Scientist)
Space isn’t nearly as quiet as it’s cracked up to be, and many astronomers are itching to get microphones onto spacecraft to witness the soundscapes of planets and moons. So what might their eavesdropping probes hear? Space experts place their bets.
Thermogeddon (New Scientist)
Scientists have long warned that climate change will have serious consequences, from big sea-level rises to floods, droughts and more extreme weather. But is the real scandal the fact that the most devastating consequence of climate change has been overlooked?
Haunted (New Scientist)
An ornate bedroom at Muncaster Castle in Cumbria has been the site of many spooky goings-on, often blamed on the ghost of a 16th-century jester. Now the castle is helping scientists test their hunches that eerie apparitions might be magnetic fields messing with our minds.
Let there be light (Wired UK)
On two continents, scientists are racing to crack a long-standing mystery – what makes up the mysterious, invisible dark matter that dominates the mass of the Universe? In deep mines and labs tucked under mountains, rival scientists are finding ingenious ways to home in on dark matter and their results could blow standard theories apart.
Science rules OK! (New Scientist)
A lot of public policy is driven by seemingly common-sense assumptions. But rigorous scientific studies have shown that they often backfire. For instance, random drug testing of prisoners can actually lead to an increase in their heroin use. There’s a growing case for social policy to be tested by a gold standard: the randomised controlled trials long used to test whether drugs are effective and acceptably safe.
Mega mouthy (New Scientist)
Women talk more than men, right? It's a common perception, but when science wades in, it turns out to be rubbish. This feature takes a wry look at the myth that women are motormouths and how the cliché arose, but it also reveals that some good old-fashioned stereotypes about male and female conversation are firmly rooted in fact.
Welcome to attoworld (New Scientist)
Attoscale technologies are extraordinary emerging techniques for looking at the world on tiny scales – probing what happens in atoms on timescales of a billionth of a billionth of a second, for instance. The exotic new inventions promise to revolutionise medical diagnosis.
Medical Roulette: Dicing with death (New Scientist)
Doctors often prescribe drugs 'off-label' – in other words, for purposes not approved by regulators. This can have disastrous results. One drug prescribed off-label to patients with mild symptoms of heart arrhythmia probably killed 50,000 people. But banning off-label prescriptions may cause more harm than good, so what’s the solution?
Around the world in 90 minutes (New Scientist)
Since the dawn of the space age, satellites and their related paraphernalia have been accumulating in space at an alarming rate. This satellite census looks at the consequences now that more than 5,000 tonnes of stuff is whirling around the Earth above our heads – equivalent to more than 660 of London’s classic double-decker buses.
Strange new worlds (BBC Sky at Night)
The discoveries of planets circling stars beyond the Sun since the mid-1990s have been truly breath-taking. To mark the 10th anniversary of BBC Sky at Night magazine in June 2015, the Sky editors selected this feature (originally published 2005) as part of an online series looking back on a decade of reporting across the galaxy and beyond ...
I also campaign about fairness in financial issues. This inspired a nice comment on www.anothercrowd.com:
'What's the difference between an astrophysicist and an investment banker? One of them deals with enormously powerful forces that come crashing to earth causing enormous destruction ... and the other one is an astrophysicist.'
Good on them, and thanks!