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Philip Ball

Freelance writer, London

Philip Ball is a British science writer, whose work appears in Nature, New Scientist and Prospect, among others. His latest book is The Book of Minds (2022). He lives in London.

Written by Philip Ball

What on earth is a xenobot? | Aeon
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Evolution

What on earth is a xenobot?

The more we understand how cells produce shape and form, the more inadequate the idea of a genomic blueprint looks

Philip Ball

Homo imaginatus | Aeon
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Human evolution

Homo imaginatus

Imagination isn’t just a spillover from our problem-solving prowess. It might be the core of what human brains evolved to do

Philip Ball

Life with purpose | Aeon
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Biology

Life with purpose

Biologists balk at any talk of ‘goals’ or ‘intentions’ – but a bold new research agenda has put agency back on the table

Philip Ball

Sim ethics | Aeon
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Future of technology

Sim ethics

Say you could make a thousand digital replicas of yourself – should you? What happens when you want to get rid of them?

Philip Ball

How natural is numeracy? | Aeon
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Mathematics

How natural is numeracy?

Where does our number sense come from? Is it a neural capacity we are born with — or is it a product of our culture?

Philip Ball

Quantum common sense | Aeon
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Quantum theory

Quantum common sense

Despite its confounding reputation, quantum mechanics both guides and helps explain human intuition

Philip Ball

Life rocks | Aeon
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Cosmology

Life rocks

Could meteorites be akin to lifeboats from other planets? Or do they reveal more about life on Earth than off it?

Philip Ball

Why our imagination for alien life is so impoverished | Aeon
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Stories and literature

Why our imagination for alien life is so impoverished

Philip Ball

The story trap | Aeon
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Music

The story trap

We use neat stories to explain everything from sports matches to symphonies. Is it time to leave the nursery of the mind?

Philip Ball

Too many worlds | Aeon
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Philosophy of science

Too many worlds

Nobody knows what happens inside quantum experiments. So why are some so keen to believe in parallel universes?

Philip Ball

Beauty ≠ truth | Aeon
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Beauty and aesthetics

Beauty ≠ truth

Scientists prize elegant theories, but a taste for simplicity is a treacherous guide. And it doesn’t even look good

Philip Ball

Machine envy | Aeon
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Engineering

Machine envy

Giant instruments are giving us a sea of data. Can science find its way without any big ideas at the helm?

Philip Ball