Here comes the science bit


Sandra Bullock goes for a spacewalk in Gravity. (Photo: Warner Bros)
In search of the notorious Big G: why we still know so little about gravity
By Michael Brooks - 13 March 9:00

Gravity is pathetic and so is our understanding of it.

Florence Nightingale in Scutari hospital during the Crimean War. Photo: Getty Images
Beautiful Science at the British Library: a history of the portrayal of data
By Michael Brooks - 06 March 10:00

A highlight is Florence Nightingale’s rose diagram, showing how dirty hospitals were killing more soldiers than war.

Caterpillars. Photo: Getty
Got a cold? Eat caterpillars
By Michael Brooks - 28 February 8:34

Why medinical zinc is not all it's cracked up to be.

The sexually transmitted dog cancer that could tell us how tumours develop
By Michael Brooks - 11 February 13:30

The mutations of canine transmissible venereal tumour (CTVT) promises to show how the tumours develop and respond to environmental pressures.

Maths is all Greek to me: how language barriers influence mathematics
By Michael Brooks - 06 February 14:10

The Navier-Stokes equations, which describe how fluids such as air and water flow, may finally have been proved to work in every situation.

Explosive news of life on Jupiter’s erupting moon, and in Indonesia
By Michael Brooks - 30 January 12:28

While volcanic eruptions disrupt life in Indonesia, elsewhere in our solar system they might be making it interesting.

Water cannon could be just the beginning of police weaponry deployed in London
By Michael Brooks - 22 January 8:48

If Boris Johnson wants to subdue the population by militarising the police, he has an extensive catalogue of weapons to choose from.

Twenty-four-hour particle people: the ongoing reinvention of particle physics
By Michael Brooks - 13 January 8:16

The Large Hadron Collider, the machine that smashed particles together to create the Higgs boson, is closed for an upgrade and will next host particle collisions in 2015. Yet there is hope of further insight before then.

Petri dish.
Why eating bacteria could be the future of medicine
By Michael Brooks - 20 December 13:19

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have found that ingesting the right kinds of bacteria can have a positive influence on ailments as diverse as obesity and autism.

Why it's time for plain cigarette packaging
By Michael Brooks - 12 December 14:47

The take-home message on smoking from science? Quit now.

New Statesman
After the disaster in the Philippines, what can we say about climate change?
By Michael Brooks - 28 November 13:05

The truth may not make for a headline-grabbing story, but it's important.

New Statesman
Why Comet Ison is not an epic fail
By Michael Brooks - 27 November 15:00

Who’d be a comet in this era of rolling news coverage and internet commentary?

A market that won't go pop: why helium balloons could one day cost £100 each
By Michael Brooks - 07 November 14:08

Once the US - which supplies 80 per cent of the world's helium - stops selling off its store at an artificially low price, we have a problem.

New Statesman
Why we could soon see a revolution in our understanding of the universe
By Michael Brooks - 31 October 13:35

The biggest known star in the universe is about to blow. This kind of thing doesn't happen every day - and when it does, something extremely interesting usually happens.

New Statesman
Where does the moon come from?
By Michael Brooks - 10 October 15:16

Whether we’re trying to find out where it came from, or how to siphon off some of its energy, grappling with the moon is harder than it looks.

New Statesman
What makes us alive? Moreover, what makes us dead?
By Michael Brooks - 02 October 8:05

When it comes to death, science is part of the problem as well as part of the solution. Deepening our understanding of the body’s processes and learning how to keep them going longer has complicated and obfuscated the end of life.

New Statesman
The teenage hormone that triggers puberty and prevents cancer
By Michael Brooks - 26 September 16:05

The appropriately named kisspeptin was discovered by accident, and has some surprising effects.

New Statesman
Meet the man who wants total unemployment for all human beings in the world
By Michael Brooks - 19 September 8:45

Hugh Loebner is offering researchers $100,000 to develop a computer that thinks like a human. But is that really the best use of artificial intelligence?

Indian farmers demonstrate during a protest
"Gut feelings" are just as valid as political rhetoric in the new Rational Parliament. And why not?
By Michael Brooks - 10 September 9:24

In ancient Athens, each citizen had to take a turn offering his governance. The Rational Parliament attempts to bring that spirit back, because certain issues are too important to leave to the professionals.

Stephen Hawking.
Think that everything in a black hole gets swallowed up, never to be seen again? Well, you're half right
By Michael Brooks - 05 September 17:30

What happens to the information in a black hole once it disappears? Stephen Hawking thought he knew, betted on it, and lost.

Transplant lab.
The Compatibility Gene by Daniel M Davis: "I am very rare but my wife is rather common"
By Michael Brooks - 05 September 10:20

The scientist Daniel M Davis has told the story of genetic compatibility - and the rejection that is its opposite - with great insight and decades of research. It's a field that may yield significant treasures in the decades to come.

On manipulating memories, we're not as far behind Hollywood as you might think
By Michael Brooks - 30 August 12:34

Deep brain stimulation is racing ahead, and the ethical issues associated with it are starting to be debated.

Man eating burger.
Yes, you can make a burger out of human stem cells - but you probably wouldn't want to
By Michael Brooks - 22 August 11:45

After the success of the test-tube burger, Michael Brooks answers the question on everyone in the NS offices lips: "Why not make burgers from human stem cells?"

We can thank our clouds for saving us from a fate worse than Venus's
By Michael Brooks - 15 August 8:30

Clouds are essential as they reflect and scatter sunlight back into space - but nobody knows how hot the planet can become before the clouds no longer help us.

Why can't we do anything about the weather?
By Michael Brooks - 11 July 8:39

It’s hard to fathom that the warmth you feel (or don’t feel) today was created at a time when Neanderthals were still around. Yet that is not the real mystery. . .

To be a scientist, you need a well-rounded education
By Michael Brooks - 04 July 8:28

Of late, science has demonstrated why all types of knowledge lead to discoveries.

What could the NSA do with a quantum computer?
By Michael Brooks - 27 June 14:40

After many false starts it’s a research field that is just now coming of age - when harnessed, particles can perform staggeringly powerful computation.

Why is science doing so poorly in the fight against cancer?
By Michael Brooks - 20 June 11:07

We all know that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the outcome to change is a mark of insanity. It's time for some fresh ideas on cancer research.

It’s all gone pear-shaped
By Michael Brooks - 14 June 13:42

The Higgs boson was small beer. Exploring the properties of the fruit-shaped nucleus could finally reveal the reason for our existence.

A nucleus being injected from a micropipette into an enucleated oocyte
It’s only natural – let’s make it better
By Michael Brooks - 30 May 9:04

If we can improve, we should.