The body can feel like a foreign country to some of us, and the practice of medicine an exploration of new territory. Join Gavin Francis in conversation for an adventure through what it is to be human.

Did Humans Emerge “Out of Asia”?

The phrase ‘out of Africa’ has become synonymous with the concept of early primate – and by extension, human – evolution. However, recent research challenges this view, instead indicating that primates left Asia some tens of millions of years ago and colonised Africa, where they continued their evolution. The new findings, produced by an international […]

Can Computers Teach Us About Evolution of Cooperation?

Evolution can be merciless. It selects for success and banishes failure. It is therefore natural to assume that it favours genes that help themselves and not others. Yet for some reason, cooperative behaviour has managed to evolve, with no solid explanation as to why. But thanks to computer technology, we may now be closer to […]

Da Vinci: Science Communicator

Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace 04 May 2012 to 07 October 2012 I’ve already waxed lyrical about how, despite his admittedly substantial contribution to art history, I think Leonardo da Vinci was primarily a scientist. After my visit this weekend to new exhibition ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Anatomist’, I’d like to add […]

Museums at Night 2012: Lancing the Surgeons

Hunterian Museum The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London Friday 18 May, 6-9pm If you’ve not been to the Hunterian museum before (or just haven’t been in a while), this is a chance to see the spookiest setting around in an even spookier light at the Hunterian Museum Lates tomorrow […]

Man, Remade

Are we on the brink of a future society, or already living in one? Michael Cook looks at the relationship between human and machine. Back in 1998 Kevin Warwick, now Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, underwent an operation to have an RFID chip inserted into his own body, a small piece of […]

Morbid Anatomy

Hunterian Museum The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London Permanent exhibition Is the collection at the Hunterian Museum a Twenty-First Century freak show? Visitors meander around a darkened room filled with illuminated glass jars from floor to ceiling. Pointed fingers and gasps of surprise and shock punctuate the silence. Inside […]

Vive la Différence

Variation is the driving force behind evolution and the reason why any species persists on this planet. Yet the science of human diversity is curtailed by controversial politics and outcries against racism. Some resistance comes from indigenous groups who feel they would be lab rats, but most comes from cautious government groups like the European […]

Intellectual Chess

There is no question about it, we have big heads. Relative to our body size we have the largest brains on earth, and even non-relative to body size, our brains are still some of the largest. If we consider that we are the well-honed product of mother nature’s machinations then it follows logically that large […]

Harmony in motion

Sound, as you probably know, is the result of pressure waves travelling through the air. As the pressure wave enters your ear, it causes the tympanic membrane to vibrate. This, simultaneously, causes your inner ear bones to dance around like a teenager at a rock concert. In turn, this moshing vibrates tiny hairs in your […]

Natural mathematicians nonplussed by negative numbers from an early age

Ai is 35 years old and lives with her son, Ayumu. They both work together in a computer lab in Kyoto, Japan. Ai and Ayumu caused a riot in 2008 when they proved they could win at any standard (albeit math based) computer game. Using their faster-than-average ability to remember numbers in sequence they would […]