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Science

Essays and videos exploring physics, evolution, cosmology and other frontiers in science
X-ray image of a single flower with visible petals, stem, and internal structures on a black background.
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essay

Philosophy of mind

Do plants have minds?

In the 1840s, the iconoclastic scientist Gustav Fechner made an inspired case for taking seriously the interior lives of plants

Rachael Petersen

Close-up image of a hand holding a pile of vibrant red powder, possibly a spice or pigment, displaying a textured and granular surface. The background is blurred, ensuring the focus remains on the red powder and the hand.
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video

Biology

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

5 minutes

Two embryos, colourised in shades of pink, orange, and purple, against a black background. The embryos have distinguishable head, body, and tail regions.
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essay

Biology

Building embryos

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

John Wallingford

Overhead view of a person walking down a spiral staircase with yellow steps. The staircase creates a swirling visual effect.
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video

Chemistry

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

12 minutes

A colourful abstract image depicting intertwined organic shapes in shades of blue, green, and purple, with some pink accents.
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essay

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

Close-up of several reddish-brown ants on soil, with one carrying small white eggs. The background is blurry, focusing attention on the ants.
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essay

Animals and humans

Ant geopolitics

Over the past four centuries quadrillions of ants have created a strange and turbulent global society that shadows our own

John Whitfield

A double-exposure image of a dancer on stage against a black backdrop, his body is lit and partly shot in motion blur
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essay

Genetics

Artists of our own lives

The genome is the starting point for a performance we enact over a lifetime, not a blueprint we’ve got to follow

Richard O Prum

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video

Ageing and death

Demystifying death – a palliative care specialist’s practical guide to life’s end

4 minutes

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video

Biology

Explore a bioluminescent world of cellular life via cutting-edge microscopy

27 minutes

Peach Twig (Prunus Persica) (1918) by Royal Charles Steadman
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video

Biology

In 1886, a US agency set out to record new fruit varieties. The results are wondrous

5 minutes

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video

Biology

To understand how an animal sees the world, start with the shape of its pupils

5 minutes

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video

Animals and humans

Scientists brought a wild horse back from extinction. But is it truly the same animal?

5 minutes

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video

Ecology and environmental sciences

The grassroots project that’s restoring an endangered Hawaiian ecosystem

22 minutes

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video

Biology

The key to geckos’ unrivalled climbing skills isn’t sticky feet. It’s subatomic

4 minutes

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video

Space exploration

In the search for life, might alien ocean worlds be a better bet than Earth-like planets?

5 minutes

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video

Biology

A dazzling slice-by-slice exploration of wood exposes hidden patterns and hues

2 minutes

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essay

Biology

Octopus time

We humans are forward-facing, gravity-bound plodders. Can the liquid motion of the octopus radicalise our ideas about time?

David Borkenhagen

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video

Biology

The idea that life on Earth originated elsewhere is not as far out as it seems

6 minutes

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video

Biology

Flicker through the eclectic beauty and biological diversity of 2,400 leaves

3 minutes

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video

Biotechnology

What it’s like to wear a prosthetic that ‘feels’

6 minutes

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video

Biology

To understand the limits of human senses, look to the wild world of animal cognition

45 minutes

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video

Evolution

Symmetry rules life on Earth – but it comes with many fascinating exceptions

9 minutes

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video

Biology

There’s no one way for an insect to fly, but they’re all amazing in close up and slo-mo

7 minutes

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essay

Evolution

Fortune favours the shrewd

Attaining and maintaining power lies at the heart of almost all animal societies. And it’s as devious as human politicking

Lee Alan Dugatkin