Category Archives: History of Science

The Cathedral on the Marsh

I’ve already shared this video on Twitter and Facebook but wanted to post it here as a more permanent record. Two weeks ago I fulfilled the ambition, held since I had seen Nic Stacey’s and Jim Al-Khalili’s quite wonderful BBC documentary … Continue reading

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ICYMI No.7: a day in the life of a naked scientist

In case you missed it last week, I had a segment in the Naked Scientist’s 15th anniversary radio show. Or rather, three segments, based on a day-in-the-life-of-a-scientist piece that I wrote a few months back on the Guardian, that were … Continue reading

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This week – reading, thinking and linking

This past week I have been doing so much reading and writing for work that there has been no time to prepare anything substantial enough for a proper blog post, even if I have been stirred by the excessive protests … Continue reading

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Digital culture: my so-called week

My week, my cultural week, started last Sunday when I found time to catch up with Radio 4’s five-part series on Dorothy Hodgkin, an extraordinary scientist who was brought vividly to life through readings of her letters. Hearing the words … Continue reading

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Moon Boy

After splashdown at 4:51 pm on 24th July 1969 the Apollo 11 astronauts returning from the first moon landing  had to don full-body Biological Isolation Garments before they could leave the conical command module that was bobbing in the Pacific Ocean. … Continue reading

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The horror is in the detail

I recently came across a film on YouTube called ‘Unedited footage of the bombing of Nagasaki (silent)’. It is one of the dullest and most horrific things I have ever seen. The film shows US servicemen on Tinian island performing … Continue reading

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The very interesting web of connections

The Royal Institution has made a rather lovely film about William and Lawrence Bragg, the father and son Nobel laureates who came up the method of structural analysis by X-ray crystallography around 100 years ago. The film is constructed around … Continue reading

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The Royal Institution: not time to move on

Less than a week after the Royal Institution announced that it was contemplating the sale of its historic home in Albermarle Street, Nature published an editorial criticising the 200 year old organisation for having lost its science communication mojo in … Continue reading

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A television programme about the second law of thermodynamics

CP Snow must be doing cartwheels in his grave. The BBC has made a beautiful, intelligent film about the second law of thermodynamics. You only have until Tuesday 30th Oct* to catch it on iPlayer and you should. Presented by … Continue reading

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Science, it’s a bloody marvel

Michael Brooks has scratched beneath the glossy surface of science to write a revealing and thoroughly entertaining book about its practitioners. By cutting so close to the scientific bone that it spills blood, his “Free Radicals” departs violently from the … Continue reading

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Moon Boon

It cannot have escaped your attention this past weekend that the Earth was treated to a supermoon. The correct terminology for this felicitous event is a perigee syzygy, but the reasons for the interesting nomenclature need not detain us. The … Continue reading

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The Perutz Effect

I have Jim Franks of Newton TV to thank for the opportunity to sit around a table with some of the current scientists at the world-famous MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology to talk about the legacy of its founder, Max … Continue reading

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