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Science

Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science
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Ecology and environmental sciences

Dominion

To take care of the Earth, humans must recognise that we are both a part of the animal kingdom and its dominant power

Hugh Desmond

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video

Biology

How the world’s richest reds are derived from an innocuous Mexican insect

5 minutes

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Quantum theory

Quantum dialectics

When quantum mechanics posed a threat to the Marxist doctrine of materialism, communist physicists sought to reconcile the two

Jim Baggott

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video

Physics

The abyss at the edge of human understanding – a voyage into a black hole

4 minutes

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Biology

Building embryos

For 3,000 years, humans have struggled to understand the embryo. Now there is a revolution underway

John Wallingford

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Medicine

Last hours of an organ donor

In the liminal time when the brain is dead but organs are kept alive, there is an urgent tenderness to medical care

Ronald W Dworkin

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The environment

Decoupling

We need to find a way for human societies to prosper while the planet heals. So far we can’t even think clearly about it

Ville Lähde

An image shows the earth horizon at night seen from space. The lights of a city glow beneath the vast starry night of space
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Astronomy

Alien life is no joke

Not long ago the search for extraterrestrials was considered laughable nonsense. Today, it’s serious and scientific

Adam Frank

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History of ideas

Reimagining balance

In the Middle Ages, a new sense of balance fundamentally altered our understanding of nature and society

Joel Kaye

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Chemistry

Why do the building blocks of life possess a mysterious symmetry?

12 minutes

An early morning view across an old bridge towards the spires of a historic medieval city partially obscured by fog
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Home

Return of the descendants

I migrated to my ancestral homeland in a search for identity. It proved to be a humbling experience in (un)belonging

Jessica Buchleitner

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Cosmology

Tiny, entangled universes that form or fizzle out – a theory of the quantum multiverse

11 minutes

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Neuroscience

How to make a map of smell

We can split light by a prism, sounds by tones, but surely the world of odour is too complex and personal? Strangely, no

Jason Castro

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Astronomy

The history of astronomy is a history of conjuring intelligent life where it isn’t

34 minutes

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Metaphysics

Simple entities in universal harmony – Leibniz’s evocative perspective on reality

4 minutes

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Biography and memoir

Passed over as the first Black astronaut, Ed Dwight carved out an impressive second act

13 minutes

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Engineering

A close-up look at electronic paper reveals its exquisite patterns – and limitations

9 minutes

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Biology

The cell is not a factory

Scientific narratives project social hierarchies onto nature. That’s why we need better metaphors to describe cellular life

Charudatta Navare

Bees push coloured tabs to access a sugary reward
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Cognition and intelligence

What’s this buzz about bees having culture? Inside a groundbreaking experiment

8 minutes

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Earth science and climate

The only man permitted in Bhutan’s sacred mountains chronicles humanity’s impact

22 minutes

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Cosmology

The Indian astronomer whose innovative work on black holes was mocked at Cambridge

13 minutes

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Anthropology

Societies of perpetual movement

Why do hunter-gatherers refuse to be sedentary? New answers are emerging from the depths of the Congolese rainforest

Cecilia Padilla-Iglesias

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Neuroscience

Rethinking the homunculus

When we discovered that the brain contained a map of the body it revolutionised neuroscience. But it’s time for an update

Moheb Costandi

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video

Astronomy

Seven years later, what can we make of our first confirmed interstellar visitor?

59 minutes