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Photo by Ed Kashi/VII

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Medicine
No patient is an island

How a concern to protect the autonomy of patients leads to the exclusion of families just when they are needed the most

Anita Ho

Photo by Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG/Getty

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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

The infamous ‘London fog’, seen here on 17 November 1949. Two generations after the Clean Air Act of 1956, London seems much cleaner with Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission zones. Photo by Keystone/Getty

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The environment
Slow hope

Climate change is an emergency but despair is not the answer. The world is full of untold stories of people-powered change

Christof Mauch

Les Baigneuses (1912), by Albert Gleizes. Courtesy Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris/Wikipedia

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Human evolution
Choose your own birth

Every human is both an animal with a deep evolutionary history and an individual who must bring their existence into being

Ada Jaarsma

Photo by Getty Images

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Illness and disease
Traumatised by the cure

Survivors of life-threatening illness can be left in profound fear and distress. Are they suffering from a form of PTSD?

Liza Gross

Photo by Jagoda Matejczuk/Getty

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Animals and humans
Rats are us

They are sentient beings with rich emotional lives, yet we subject them to experimental cruelty without conscience. Why?

Kristin Andrews & Susana Monsó

From Voyage dans l'Amérique Méridionale, (v.IX, 1835-47), by Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigny. Courtesy the Biodiversity Heritage Library/Public Domain

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Illness and disease
This ragged claw

It is a crab; no, a worm; no, a wolf. Early physicians weren’t entirely wrong to imagine cancer as a ravenous disease

Ellen Wayland-Smith

Planetary System. Eclipse of the Sun. The Moon. The Zodiacal Light. Meteoric Shower. From Yaggy’s Geographical Study, 1887. Courtesy the David Rumsey Map Collection

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History of science
Naming the Universe

How the quick thinking of internationally minded astronomers avoided stamping the solar system with petty European rivalries

Stephen Case

Dee, JoJo, Frankie and Lisa after school on Prince Street, Little Italy, New York City, in 1976. Photo from Susan Meiselas’s series Prince Street Girls/Magnum

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Love and friendship
The biology of love

Humans teeter on a knife’s edge. The same deep chemistry that fosters bonding can, in a heartbeat, pivot to fear and hate

Ruth Feldman

Samuelson explained economic theory to the postwar American public. Photo by retrofile/Getty

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Economics
The people’s economist

Paul Samuelson’s mathematical brilliance changed economics, but it was his popular touch that made him a household name

Roger Backhouse

This colour-enhanced frontal view of the head, neck and shoulders confirms brain death by absence of blood flow to the brain. Photo by Living Art Enterprises, LLC/SPL

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Bioethics
Neither person nor cadaver

The body is warm, but the brain has gone dark: why the notion of brain death provokes the thorniest of medical dilemmas

Sharon Kaufman

Colourised photographs taken using the schlieren technique depict for the first time the shockwaves of two supersonic jets, typically heard on the ground as the sonic boom. Photo courtesy NASA

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Thinkers and theories
Before, now, and next

Pastness, presentness and futurity seem to be real features of the world, but are they? On McTaggart’s philosophy of time

Emily Thomas