Doctors prepare to treat patients in Guinea, one of the countries affected by the Ebola outbreak
Ebola panic reveals the balancing act between patient freedom and social safety
By George Gillett - 30 July 16:27

As the Ebola crisis in West Africa has shown, the conflict between society's best interests and a patient's own wishes can often be controversial.

A nurse with bottles of medicine. Photo: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
David Tredinnick's right that alternative medicine could work - but that's not reason to embrace it
By George Gillett - 29 July 16:08

Our understanding of placebo-based treatments suggests that alternative medicine could benefit patients. But the impact on medical ethics could lead to unintended consequences.

Charles Bell: Anatomy of the Brain c.1802. Photo: Shaheen Lakhan / Flickr
We don't really understand empathy, but we know business could do with a little more
By Ajit Niranjan - 28 July 9:50

Our understanding of empathy is pretty limited, but many figures are calling for change. Corporate culture is beginning to recognise the need to put yourself in someone else's shoes.

The fastest supercomputer in the world - 2000. Your toaster probably has more computing power now. Photo: Getty
Reviewed: At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise
By Ian Steadman - 25 July 10:12

Ian Steadman reviews Michael Brooks’s book on scientific discovery.

Generation Ritalin: between 10 and 30% of students are estimated to have taken ADHD medication. Photo Getty
Revising on Ritalin: the students who use ADHD meds
By Ajit Niranjan - 24 July 13:00

Between 10 and 30 per cent of British university students have taken pills such as Modafinil and Ritalin to improve their memory and heighten their concentration.

Paternal instinct: a father and baby at the Rio carnival in March. Photo: Getty
In the brain of the father: why men can be just as good primary parents as women
By Michael Brooks - 24 July 10:00

Brain research shows that fathers who are secondary to a female caregiver are more engaged as thinkers and planners. But men raising a child without a female partner were found to have the same level of emotional response as a mother.

French electricity pylons. Photo: Getty
Shock horror: people will take serious pain over phoneless boredom
By Michael Brooks - 17 July 10:00

Left alone in a sparsely furnished room for 15 minutes, stripped of all electronic distractions but one, boredom made the electric-shock machine irresistible.

Frozen in time: Sue at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Pete Larson, a palaeontologist with a bone to pick
By Kate Mossman - 17 July 10:00

Dinosaur 13, a forthcoming documentary, presents Larson and his team as underdogs battling against bad guys who’d rather see the T rex hidden away than on display in its home town. 

A photograph of the Large Hadron Collider in the Science Museum. Photo: Getty
Entangled in photons: the spooky behaviour of light particles
By Michael Brooks - 09 July 9:42

If you’re after science that makes you question your place in the universe, focus on that phrase “light years”, one that astronomers use so casually.

Participants at the Wellcome Trust and New Statesman round table.
Antibiotic resistance: the greatest public health threat of our time?
By Charlotte Simmonds - 08 July 18:02

A world without antimicrobials would be a world without modern medicine, so why is there not more urgency in addressing the global rise of drug resistance? The New Statesman brought leading health experts together to discuss the problem.

 Bottles of antibiotics line a shelf at a Publix Supermarket pharmacy August 7, 2007 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Getty Images
What next, when the drugs won’t work?
By Zac Goldsmith - 08 July 17:06

The government has made progress on the urgent crisis of antimicrobial resistance, but sustained public pressure is still needed, says Zac Goldsmith.

No, it's not the same. Photo: Ken Piorkowski / Flickr
Study shows people prefer pain to their own thoughts – except it doesn’t
By Ajit Niranjan - 04 July 13:16

"A few bored students gave themselves an unpleasant tingle, but most preferred to sit around instead." Snappy or what?

A Victoria line train. Photo: Wikicommons
Lessons transit authorities shouldn't be learning from TfL
By Barbara Speed - 01 July 18:14

Like "fare hikes are a good thing". 

An architect’s drawing of the finished house. Credit: DUS
A 3D printer is building a canalhouse in Amsterdam
By Barbara Speed - 01 July 13:36

Need a house? Just hit Ctrl+P.

Tee time: at some point the universe blew up in size from subatomic to golf ball size. Photo: Getty
Making ripples: another Big Bang theory bites the dust
By Michael Brooks - 30 June 15:00

In March, the team of astronomers working on the Bicep2 telescope announced that they had seen ripples caused by the universe’s inflation. 

Neanderthals were omnivores. Photo: Erich Ferdinand / Flickr
Further evidence emerges suggesting Neanderthals weren't so different to us
By Ajit Niranjan - 27 June 13:36

The extinction of any species makes for headline news, but none more so than the Neanderthals. The death of our hominid relatives tens of thousands of years ago instils a particularly morbid fear that we're about to share their fate. 

The murky surface of Ligeia Mare, Titan's second largest lake. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell
An island appeared in a lake on a moon around Saturn, then disappeared
By Ajit Niranjan - 25 June 15:42

A mysterious island has materialised in a methane lake on Saturn’s largest moon – only to vanish just weeks later.

Mane event: horse placenta has been used to treat footballers’ injuries. Photo: Getty
The placenta is a marvel that scientists can’t match
By Michael Brooks - 24 June 9:25

Nothing we can engineer has come close to replicating the placenta’s ability to act as the kidney, lungs, hormone source, nutrition channel and waste disposal unit for a growing foetus.

Human presence in Antarctica poses a threat for the inhabitants. Photo: Christopher Michel / Flickr
Antarctic life is under threat by increased human activity, study finds
By Ajit Niranjan - 19 June 11:33

We're increasing our presence on the last uncolonised continent on Earth for the sake of science, but recent research claims greater measures are needed to protect the Antarctic.

A cobra in India. Photo: Getty
No one will die of a snakebite in Britain this summer. Why?
By Michael Brooks - 19 June 10:00

The most recent snakebite death in the UK was in 1975. If only that were true elsewhere: snakebites kill up to 94,000 people and necessitate hundreds of thousands of amputations every year.

An alternative to the Kyoto Protocol? Photo: Breville USA / Flickr
Study finds broccoli-sprout juice helps the body flush carcinogens (but don't call it a "detox")
By Ajit Niranjan - 17 June 15:59

New study suggests broccoli-sprout beverages help the body detoxify airborne pollutants, though it's not quite a "detox".

Economic hardship is characterised by loss of jobs and homes, a big influence on mental health. Photo: Getty
Study finds Great Recession linked with more than 10,000 extra suicides in the EU and US
By Ajit Niranjan - 16 June 16:22

Thousands of "potentially avoidable" suicides occurred during the first two years of the recession in Europe and North America, according to a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Good cause for worry... Photo: Michelle Walz / Flickr
Crayfish may be smarter than we thought, as a study finds they can experience "anxiety"
By Ajit Niranjan - 13 June 18:13

Crustaceans really are spineless, according to a recent study in the journal Science.

A desert ant with its abdomen raised. Photo: / Flickr
Study finds ant sperm get ahead through synchronised swimming
By Ajit Niranjan - 13 June 12:18

Spermatozoa in desert ants bind together to increase their speed, according to researchers in Belgium.

A sculpture of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park by Stephen Kettle. Photo: Steve Parker / Flickr
Supercomputer passes Turing Test by convincing judges it’s a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy
By Ajit Niranjan - 09 June 14:43

A computer programme has succeeded in passing the Turing Test, 65 years after it was first conceived of by the father of artificial intelligence, Alan Turing.

Dynamite with a laser beam: artist Yvette Mattern's Global Rainbow in Whitley Bay, 2012. Photo: Getty
Firing lasers into a box made of gold – the race to turn light particles into matter
By Michael Brooks - 05 June 10:00

This could prove a neater way to investigate the fundamental building blocks of nature than examining the debris created by high-energy particle collisions.

An artist's impression of SN 2006gyM, one of the brightest supernovas ever recorded. Photo: Weiss/NASA/CXC/Getty
“Supernova in a bottle” will help create matter from light
By Akshat Rathi - 02 June 10:43

The new process could provide a clean way of doing particle physics experiments.

Nothing like this one: a humanoid robot at a robotics fair in Lyon, 19 March. Photo: Getty
Should scientists be prosecuted for killings carried out by their armed robots?
By Michael Brooks - 29 May 10:00

Using technology about to be approved for medical use, we can now program computers to identify a possible target and decide whether to fire weapons at it.

A drug that slows ageing, even modestly, would change life as we know it for ever. Photo: Getty
Arrested development
By Virginia Hughes - 21 May 9:01

A handful of girls seem to defy one of the biggest certainties in life: ageing. Virginia Hughes reports.