Preparing for pleasure

Expectation of reward and pleasure plays an important role in motivating behaviour. Many of the decisions we make every day depend on our prediction of positive outcomes. The neurological basis of expectation and reward is complex and elusive but research in subjects ranging from bees to humans indicates that the neurotransmitter dopamine has a critical […]

Science sans frontières

So, what is the demarcation between concepts that seem crazy now but might berealised eventually, and things that are forever impossible? Are there limits to how much we can ever predict? Are there scientific problems that will forever baffle us – phenomena that simply transcend human understanding? – Lord Martin Rees, From Here to Infinity, […]

Robo-revolution

As computers have become more developed and intricate they have been given responsibility for many tasks that people used to carry out. However, how close are we to them taking over everything we do, resulting in a Hollywood-esque robotic revolution? Turing intelligence Scientists have been asking this question for a very long time. The famous […]

Martian Musings

It’s getting a bit hot down here; climate change, political conflict and whatnot. Fancy relocating to Mars? It’s only 36 million miles away, about a nine month journey using a minimum energy trajectory. No problem, surely? Of course, nine months is a long time to be exposed to solar radiation, which can cause damage to […]

Elusive energy

By 2025, the UK Government has promised to halve carbon emissions. Clean energy looms large on the political agenda, granting science a lot of room to influence the direction of current and future energy policy. But how much does science really have to say about clean energy? Time and again, we’ve heard the promises of […]

Immortal coils

Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian, wrote of the fabled longevity of an ancient Ethiopian people. When asked how they reached their 120 years, the Ethiopians revealed a fountain where they washed. The violet scented water was said to be like oil, making skin glossy and sleek, and after years of use one was granted long […]