Science in Society

Tiny particles, huge computers

Laurence Cooper discusses computational methods and future technologies that can help us improve our understanding of particle physics. Laurence is a PhD student in theoretical physics at DAMTP, Cambridge. Look around. Take any object nearby and ask yourself: ‘What is this made from?’. Repeat it. My keyboard is made from plastic which is made from polymers which are made from smaller molecules, which are made from… Once you get to

Autonomous Vehicles: Looking at the Road Ahead

James Macdonald interviews Professor John Miles and start-up Wayve about the future of autonomous vehicles In the UK, there are 48 million driving license holders, around three-quarters of the population. The car has been a huge enabler of personal mobility across society and the ability to travel is a large part of the quality of life we now enjoy. But for such an embedded part of our culture there are

Review: Chemistry

“Under various pressures the American-Chinese narrator quits her chemistry PhD and struggles with her long-term relationship…” There is more to scientific research than the work itself. Weike Wang’s novel, Chemistry, raises questions about the tenants of science that ignore personal lives. Under various pressures the American-Chinese narrator quits her chemistry PhD and struggles with her long-term relationship. Charting her coming to terms with these losses, the story is both upbeat and cautionary. The scientific setting is not overdone; it could

Review: Adventures in the Anthropocene

“For many of us, the effects of the Anthropocene may feel far off, but as human activity continues unabated, this book is an important journey we all should take“ The term Anthropocene is used to reflect the age of human influence on our planet. A read of Gaia Vince’s Adventures in the Anthropocene is an unquestionable must for every one of us. In ten chapters, each representing a different ecosystem, Vince reflects on a monumental journey to understand what the

Let's Talk About Soil

Kasparas Vasiliauskas looks under our feet at some of the Earth’s most overlooked material. Met in almost every step we take, soils, despite being so familiar, are often overlooked in discussions of natural systems. This is evident, for example, in making climate models and predictions and even more so when thinking about humanity’s future outside Earth. The entirety of soils and the space where their formation takes place is called

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Scientists work together to create more effective medicines Advances continue to progress personalised medicine, a field in which drugs are tailored to patients’ needs based on their genetic information. Historically, simply screening patients’ genomes enabled this trend but more recently, synthetic nucleotide-based medicines have taken this a step further. Nucleotide-based medicines use artificial DNA and RNA (nucleotides) to target cellular genetic information directly, shutting off genetic diseases at their source.

Review: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

“… reveals the insidious impact that Big Data algorithms
– in her words, ‘Weapons of Math Destruction’ – have on our society“ What do job recruitment, teachers’ yearly evaluations, bank loans, probation decisions, health insurance and online advertising have in common? They are increasingly decided not by humans, but by algorithms. At first, this may sound like a good idea; we are notoriously bad at being objective and unbiased. What better

The BlueSci Mental Wellbeing Survey: Interview with Geraldine Dufour, Head of the University Counseling Service

Through Lent term and Easter 2018, BlueSci conducted a survey on mental wellbeing at the University of Cambridge. Our aim was to better understand how our studies interact with our mental health, and explore how faculties can best support students. Laura Nunez-Mulder, Elsa Loissel, and Martha Dillon explain the results in this article. Also, read the interview with Cambridge student Keir Murison. I’d like the counsellors to know what a

The BlueSci Mental Wellbeing Survey: Interview with Keir Murison

Through Lent term and Easter 2018, BlueSci conducted a survey on mental wellbeing at the University of Cambridge. Our aim was to better understand how our studies interact with our mental health, and explore how faculties can best support students. Laura Nunez-Mulder, Elsa Loissel, and Martha Dillon explain the results in this article. Also, read the interview with the head of the University Counseling Service, Géraldine Dufour. I had wanted