Michael Brooks holds a PhD in quantum physics. He writes a weekly science column for the New Statesman, and his most recent book is At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise.
Either our understanding of how stars form needs a big overhaul, or one of the current missions of the European Space Agency could turn out to be something of a white elephant.
Attributing emotions to birds is not a flight of fancy. Emotions are a feature of evolution: they arose to help creatures navigate the world safely and with maximum reward.
Drug trials rarely tell the whole story as many drugs have side effects that emerge only after deployment in the population at large. Yet unexpected effects can sometimes be surprisingly good.
This ball of rock and ice formed at the same time as our solar system and should, if predictions are correct, contain complex organic molecules, the same stuff as terrestrial life is made from.
Following outbreaks of campylobacter infection at Glastonbury and flu at festivals in Europe, some researchers are calling for better surveillance of the threats to festival-goers’ health.
Fossilised guides to what the earth was like millions of years ago are rare, and understanding water tracks can make a difference.
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.
Left alone in a sparsely furnished room for 15 minutes, stripped of all electronic distractions but one, boredom made the electric-shock machine irresistible.
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.
In March, the team of astronomers working on the Bicep2 telescope announced that they had seen ripples caused by the universe’s inflation.