Science is boring? Far from it

Is science boring? Last month, I became involved in a discussion on Twitter as to whether that statement was true. In some cases it is – experimental work isn’t all about mixing chemicals to make explosions, or smashing atoms together in a particle accelerator. It can be monotonous, repetitive and downright dull – but it’s a means to an end with an outcome hopefully more interesting than the journey.

Defining a nation

How to define a nation? Its military clout? Its territories and geopolitical machinations? Its economic situation?

A very social affair

As a decade passes since the world became aware of Facebook, and Twitter continues its onslaught on the zeitgeist – all in 140 characters of course ­– we ask what has social media done for scientific publishing?

Tackling antimicrobial resistance

It’s 1945, and Alexander Fleming is giving his Nobel Lecture. He tells the story of the accidental discovery of penicillin with humbleness and poise, and just before handing over to Sir Howard Florey with whom he shared the prize, he utters words which have come to hold a particular poignancy.  

The dilemma of the talking head

With great power comes great responsibility – but is it down to the latest wave of high profile scientists and communicators to discuss topics outside of their specialism?

Not quite what you expected

Have you ever felt a bit ripped off? Like you haven’t quite got what was advertised?

Fall – and return – from grace

A long time ago, in a laboratory not far from here, a scientist sat in his lab pondering his latest results. This scientist inhabited the mysterious realm of “celebrity” – held in high regard for his magical discoveries. Fast forward to the present day and celebrity status is reserved for sportsmen, supermodels and singers ­– why did scientists fall from grace?

Biological villain turns nanotech poster boy

In this modern age of research where ‘interdisciplinary’ and ‘translational’ are the watchwords of the fund givers – a recent piece of work has struck me as particularly germane. It has turned something utterly destructive into something potentially ‘miraculous’.

A year in science

With Britain being touted as the ‘best place in the world to do science’, what part have British scientists played in this years’ scientific success?

Thinking about thought experiments

Niels Bohr, a quantum physics godfather if ever there was one, once said: "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."