2017

Planting Ideas: an Interview with Professor Beverly Glover

Ramya Gurunathan and Caitlin Walker talk to Professor Beverly Glover about communication, collaboration, and botanical research. “It’s important for scientists to be able to communicate about their research, we all know that, but sometimes it’s hard to know quite how to,” explains Beverly Glover, Professor of Plant Systematics and Evolution at Cambridge. Glover is not only Director of the Botanical Garden but also the leader of an active research group

Understanding the Irrational

Laura Nunez-Mulder discusses psychiatry’s future with Professor Paul Fletcher Psychiatry is changing. Historically, the field has been dynamic, undergoing transformation as institutions and asylums have come in and out of fashion. Over the last century, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a handbook of checklists by which psychiatrists can make diagnoses, has been overhauled time and time again. The DSM is a controversial manual. Many disorders overlap,

Food for Thought: Fake News and the Diet Industry

Zi Ran Shen talks fad diets and pseudoscience with Cambridge’s Dr Giles Yeo. The post-truth era has taken over – beliefs are emphasised while cold hard facts are ignored. From Kellyanne Conway’s insistence that falsehoods were “alternative facts”, to Nigel Farage’s flip-flopping on the promised £350m for the NHS, nothing seems to be untouched by the post-truth haze. But perhaps all this is not so very new. We have seen

Shakes and the City

Seán Thór Herron talks to Dr Emily So about preparing for earthquakes in urban areas At a quarter to three on Friday, 11th March 2011, as the citizens of the Honshu island of Japan were looking forward to the weekend, tectonic stresses caused a massive slip on the ocean floor off the East coast. The sea floor jerked as much as ten metres upward and fiftymetres horizontally. The rupture length

Zika Virus

Alex Sampson considers the spread and disappearance of a new disease In mid-2015, media attention shifted from the subsiding Ebola outbreak in West Africa to a new viral epidemic: Zika. Emerging from relative obscurity, Zika virus swept across the Americas within a single year, infecting over 1.5 million people and leaving an unforeseen trail of children born with neurological defects. Coinciding with the Rio 2016 Olympics, the Zika virus epidemic

The Last Lunar Explorer: An interview with Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon

Jackson Howarth (from LUUSci at the University of Leeds) chats with Gene Cernan This article is cross-published from LUUSci, the Leeds University Union student science magazine (originally published March 6, 2017). It is appearing on BlueSci’s website as part of a new initiative to form a UK-wide network of university science magazines. Membership is growing, and currently includes BlueSci (University of Cambridge), LUUSci (University of Leeds), {react} (Newcastle University), Kinesis (UCL), and

Cannabis Joins The Fight Against Addiction

Rachael Rhodes explores the potential medical applications of a Class C drug In 1996 Californians voted to introduce an untested medicinal drug into the public marketplace. Although the drug had not been through clinical trials, plenty of people had apparently tested it for themselves and were convinced of its effectiveness. I’m talking about cannabis (aka: marijuana, pot, weed), a drug that was illegal nearly everywhere else at the time. This

Love on the Line

Jordan Ramsey explores how technology has reshaped our romantic relationships Technology has transformed the ways in which we form, interact in, and maintain romantic relationships. In contrast to the great number of unknowns involved in meeting people at parties, through friends, or at school, online dating now allows us to carefully browse potential mates and use matching algorithms to make our search more efficient. The most popular dating websites and

Open For Everyone

Haydn King describes the open-source software movement and two of its most striking characters “I’m doing a free operating system (just a hobby, won’t be big and professional)…” announced a young Finnish PhD student to an internet message board on the 25th of August 1991. In the two decades since Linus Torvalds made this announcement, what started as a small and amateur operating system has revolutionised the IT world. Linux,

Cracking Codes

Philipp Kleppman deciphers the advance of cryptography throughout the centuries Recently, a dead carrier pigeon with a secret message from World War II was found during renovation of the chimney of a house in Surrey. It is believed that the message was sent from Nazi-occupied Normandy in June 1944. The encrypted message has been sent to the UK Government Communications Headquarters to be deciphered, so far without success. The amount