The Inquisition Scene (1808-1812), by Francisco Goya. Courtesy the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, Madrid

Essay/
Virtues and vices
Vice dressed as virtue

Cruelty and morality seem like polar opposites – until they join forces. Beware those who persecute in the name of principle

Paul Russell

Photo courtesy Wellcome Images

Essay/
Neuroscience
Frames of consciousness

Can electrical impulses in the brain explain the stuff that dreams are made on? What a new consciousness-detector reveals

Joel Frohlich

Just for them. Photo by Pilar Olivares/Reuters

Essay/
Family life
Kid culture

In most cultures, kids tag along with grownups or mooch with friends but American life is heavy with ‘kid-friendly’ artifice

Sarah Menkedick

The Death of General Wolfe (1770) by Benjamin West. Wolfe was killed during the Battle of Quebec (1759) that decided the fate of French lands in North America. Courtesy the National Gallery of Canada/Wikipedia

Essay/
History
Are there laws of history?

Historians believe that the past is irreducibly complex and the future wildly unpredictable. Scientists disagree. Who’s right?

Amanda Rees

American Civil Rights activist Malcolm X (left) pictured in New York in 1963. His radicalism helped shape public discourse. Photo by Robert L Haggins/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Essay/
Mood and emotion
The fruits of anger

To those who say anger is destructive or pointless: Not so! Getting angry spurs and sustains us to take action for justice

Brian Wong

Abigail Mary Allen and James Allen (The Female Husband); a hand-coloured etching and aquatint by Thomas Howell Jones (c1829). Courtesy the National Portrait Gallery, London

Essay/
History
Female husbands

Far from being a recent or 21st-century phenomenon, people have chosen, courageously, to trans gender throughout history

Jen Manion

An artist’s representation of superstrings. Illustration by Mehau Kuylyk/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Philosophy of science
How science fails

For the émigré philosopher Imre Lakatos, science degenerates unless it is theoretically and experimentally progressive

Jim Baggott

Honeybees collect nectar from an Eryngium plant at Great Dixter in Northiam, East Sussex, on 4 August 2013. Photo by Chris Helgren/Reuters

Essay/
Animals and humans
The accidental beekeeper

The gift of a half-wanted hive took me into the world of bees, kept and wild: a place of generosity and attentiveness

Helen Jukes

Photo by Anush Babajanyan / VII for UNICEF / Redux / Headpress

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Escaping a toxic childhood

A new therapy helps survivors improve their lives by facing the psychological impoverishment that often accompanies abuse

Steven N Gold

The Avenue at Middelharnis (1689), by Meindert Hobbema. Courtesy the National Gallery, London

Essay/
The environment
We are nature

Spinoza helps diagnose the bad ideas and sad passions that preclude us from a finer relationship with the natural world

Beth Lord

Seamen relaxing on the HMS Pallas, April 1775. Early depictions of common seamen are exceedingly rare; this one is from an album of watercolours by Second Lieutenant Gabriel Bray aboard the ship. Courtesy the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

Essay/
Oceans and water
Who was Jack Tar?

He was a patriot and a prisoner, a delegate and a drunk; circling the globe when few Englishmen ever left their home counties

Stephen Taylor

The dilution refrigerator for the IBM Q quantum computer, September 2019. Photo by Graham Carlow/IBM

Essay/
The future
At the limits of thought

Science today stands at a crossroads: will its progress be driven by human minds or by the machines that we’ve created?

David C Krakauer

Valparaíso, Chile, 1992. From Sergio Larrain’s Valparaiso. Courtesy of Magnum Photos

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Intimate strangers

By chance, I grew up without a father. As an adult, I chose to meet him. Through the prism of this event, life slowly made sense

Vincenzo Di Nicola

A 3D-printed model of a protein nanoparticle, shown here in orange and white. Scientists at the University of Washington are using protein design to create candidate nanoparticle vaccines. Photo by Ian C Haydon/Institute for Protein Design

Essay/
Future of technology
Engines of life

At the level of the tiny, biology is all about engineering. That’s why nanotechnology can rebuild medicine from within

Sonia Contera

Uummannaq Fjord in Northern Greenland. Photo by Ciril Jazbec/National Geographic

Essay/
Anthropology
We are wayfinders

Navigation and spatial awareness sustained humans for tens of thousands of years. Have we lost the trail in modern times?

Michael Bond

Albert Einstein’s original passport. Photo by Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Race and ethnicity
Identifying Einstein

For Albert Einstein, being Jewish and German were not questions of identity but rather mutable matters of identification

Michael D Gordin

Saturday night in Borgarfjörður eystri, Iceland, 2007. In 2018, 70 per cent of births in the country were outside of marriage. Photo by Jonas Bendicksen/Magnum

Essay/
Love and friendship
Is marriage over?

Marriage is practised in every society yet is in steep decline globally. Is this it for longterm intimate relationships?

Manvir Singh

Photo by Mark Cornick from the Soho Nights series

Essay/
Mental health
My psychosis

It was one terrifying, exciting night of delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. What would it teach a future psychologist?

Tom Hartley

Detail from Interior (with Gabriele Münter and Marianne von Werefkin) (1910), by Wassily Kandinsky. Photo by AKG London

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Therapy that sticks

Quick-fix psychotherapies have been hailed as the gold standard. But depth therapies can be far more enduring and profound

Linda Michaels

Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/Getty

Essay/
The environment
A vision for agriculture

We know how to replace toxic, intensive livestock raising with beautiful, efficient grasslands. Do we have the will?

Randall D Jackson