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Stinson Beach, California, 1973. Photo by Elliott Erwitt/Magnum

Essay/
Animals and humans
The joy of being animal

Human exceptionalism is dead: for the sake of our own happiness and the planet we should embrace our true animal nature

Melanie Challenger

Photo by Berenice Abbott/Getty

Essay/
Consciousness and altered states
Brain wifi

Instead of a code encrypted in the wiring of our neurons, could consciousness reside in the brain’s electromagnetic field?

Johnjoe McFadden

Photo by Vaishnav Munda/Unsplash

Essay/
Physics
The cosmic chasm

Physics as we know it is elegant and exquisitely accurate. It tells almost nothing about the deepest riddles of the Universe

Pedro G Ferreira

A bottlenose dolphin. Photo by Flip Nicklin/Minden Pictures

Essay/
Animals and humans
Thanks for all the fish

The search for dolphin intelligence and the quest for alien life have moved in historical lockstep. What does the future hold?

Thomas Moynihan

Photo by Kristian Bell/Getty.

Essay/
Ecology and environmental sciences
Nature’s playbook

From termite queens to the carbon cycle, nature knows how to avoid network collapse. Human designers should pay heed

Ruth DeFries

Photo by Frederic Courbet / Panos Pictures

Essay/
Anthropology
What pastoralists know

Pastoralists are experts in managing extreme variability. In a volatile world economy, bankers should learn how they do it

Ian Scoones

Participants in the annual Twins Days Festival parade in Twinsburg, Ohio, 4 August 2012. Photo by Lisa Wiltse/Corbis/Getty

Essay/
Genetics
The science of terrible men

The pioneers of social genetics were racists and eugenicists: should we give up on the science they founded altogether?

Kathryn Paige Harden

At the Maison Blanche psychiatric hospital in Paris, 1954. Photo by Jean-Philippe Charbonnier/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Essay/
History of science
Shocked

With evidence for efficacy so thin, and the stakes so high, why is ‘electroshock’ therapy still a mainstay of psychiatry?

John Read

Kirsten Thompson, the lead scientist on the Arctic Sunrise, takes water samples for eDNA sampling near Paulet Island at the entrance to the Weddell Sea. Photo by A Trayler-Smith/Greenpeace/Panos

Essay/
Thinkers and theories
The abuses of Popper

A powerful cadre of scientists and economists sold Karl Popper’s ‘falsification’ idea to the world. They have much to answer for

Charlotte Sleigh

An origin myth. A goatherd in the central Kalahari, Botswana in 1995. Photograph by Paul Weinberg/Panos

Essay/
Anthropology
Beyond the !Kung

A grand research project created our origin myth that early human societies were all egalitarian, mobile and small-scale

Manvir Singh

An Orca called Morgan in the Dolphinarium in Harderwijk, the Netherlands, September 2011. Morgan was subsequently transferred to the Loro Parque zoo in Tenerife, Spain. Photo by Marten Van Dijl/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Oceans and water
They are prisoners

Captive orcas are tormented by boredom and family separation, but they cannot be simply released. What’s the solution?

Lori Marino

A young family listening to a radio broadcast in Spandau, Germany in 1927. The writer and theorist Walter Benjamin hoped that the radio would be as much a medium for the production of knowledge among listeners as for its dissemination. Photo by AKG

Essay/
History of science
Scientists for the people

Why the finest minds in 1930s Europe believed that scientists must engage with citizens or risk losing their moral compass

Deborah R Coen

Ginseng root. Photo by Sina Schuldt/picture alliance via Getty

Essay/
Illness and disease
Natural and unnatural

‘Natural’ remedies are metaphysically inconsistent and unscientific. Yet they offer something that modern medicine cannot

Alan Jay Levinovitz

Illustration by Tom Björklund

Essay/
Human evolution
Sheanderthal

Not all Neanderthals were ‘cavemen’: half were women. What can archaeologists tell us about how they lived?

Rebecca Wragg Sykes