And the Nobel Prize goes to…

It’s that time of year when outstanding advances in science are acknowledged and celebrated by awarding the Nobel prizes. Here’s all you need to know about the science behind the prizewinners. Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine This year, the Nobel Prize for medicine has been awarded to Japanese cell biologist, Yoshinori Ohsumi. The 71 […]

The extraordinary theorems of John Nash

On 23 May 2015, John Forbes Nash tragically died in a taxi accident, just after receiving the most prestigious award that a mathematician can dream of, the Abel Prize. This tragic episode was the last event in a life which was so full of amazing events that Nash became an icon of human genius, recipient […]

The Chemistry Behind the 2012 Nobel Prize

The Official Website of the Nobel Prize (www.nobelprize.org) gives little insight into the far reaching importance of Brian Kobilka and Robert Lefkowitz’s work. It states only that the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2012 was: “for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors”. The two Americans’ innovative work has given us a better understanding of how dramatic […]

What is Superconductivity? (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1. The incredible phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered by Onnes in 1911. I have taken advantage of a fictional centenary celebration at Leyden, in the Netherlands, to interview some of the protagonists in this marvellous adventure and have them guide us through a reconstruction of superconductivity’s history up to its open-ended finale. […]

1932: Physics goes ‘Anti’ – Part I

The word “anti” comes from ancient Greek, which literally translates as “against” or “opposite to” and nowadays is very commonly used in many contexts from social-politics (anti-social, anti-capitalism) to medicine (antibiotics, antidepressive) and even religion (Antichrist). In 1932 “anti” prefix officially entered in the world of physical science. Carl Anderson in Pasadena, California, had started […]

Industry tool or public good? Science’s split personality is responsible for debate over funding

For many years it has been widely accepted that science requires state funding; justified predominantly by the idea that science is ‘public good.’ In economics this term refers to a product that costs us all as individuals (i.e. in taxes), in order to eventually provide an economic gain to us as a society. According to […]

From the Editor – Crazy Kary Mullis

08/02/2006 Three years ago, after yet another Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) had failed and science seemed a never-ending series of repetitive frustrations, a friend lent me a book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis, inventor of PCR. Mullis, as it turns out, is one of those controversial figures of science. A distinguished […]