Category Archives: Stories

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The longest experiment

Science can be a rather slow process. Sometimes the technology needed to confirm a hypothesis is not there yet, and has to be invented by subsequent generations. Sometimes repeated trials are necessary to make sure the conclusion is correct. It can take several generations of scientists building upon each other’s work to come to a … Continue Reading ››
Profs Howard and Smith | Image from John Innes Centre

Even plants can do maths

If you have three cookies and dinner is five hours away, how slowly should you eat the cookies so that you don’t get dangerously hungry? This is the kind of calculation that plants do during the night when they are waiting for sunlight to come back on. Here’s a recap from primary school biology: plants generate … Continue Reading ››
Mars as it might appear through various stages of terraforming. (Source: Wikimedia)

Colonising space for all the wrong reasons

Assuming humanity gets over the existential hump all civilisations must traverse - where we're just smart enough to invent nuclear weapons and fossil fuelled power stations, but not smart enough to not to use them - then I fully expect us to one day colonise the stars. Or at least the planets orbiting those stars. … Continue Reading ››

Pause to watch: Crash course in awesome

ATP, or adenosine triphosphate is my favourite organic molecule by far. (DNA is my second, for the record.) This clever little devil is the powerhouse of biology. It's no stretch to say it's the fuel that drives life. And get this: it's so good at its job, that it's used by everything from yeast to plants … Continue Reading ››