Physicists working at the atomic or molecular scale are revolutionising industry with their ultra-small chips and mini-machines, but in a sense nanotechnology is nothing new. Nature got there first, and we are only just beginning to catch up Continue reading
Most scientists get excited when talking about science in general. But they get really animated when talking about their own area of research. I spent my PhD years studying microtubules, which are microscopic filaments inside living cells, and even now I get a little misty-eyed when thinking about them. To some people, microtubules might not be beautiful – in some images they look rather like a writhing hairball or bowl of spaghetti – but Continue reading
Networks of plants can achieve surprising things. For example, one study has shown that the trees in a forest are interconnected through the fungi that grow around their roots. A radioactive chemical injected into one tree soon appears Continue reading
I recently heard a new metaphor for the gene. Although this phrase was coined by a physicist*, I think it’s an interesting one. The concept of ‘The Eager Gene’ comes from Andrew Steane, Professor of Physics at Oxford University, in his book Faithful to Science (see previous blog).
Steane writes that “Genes are, of course, inanimate molecules, having no eagerness or moral capacity, but Continue reading
Earlier this year I was introduced to a Cambridge professor who appreciated both the wonders of the living world and questions about its wider significance. Charles Raven, Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University from 1932-1950, was a keen naturalist and lover of science. In a recent seminar at the Faraday Institute, Ian Randall outlined this unique individual’s contribution to science and religion. Continue reading
I have been thinking a lot recently about an aspect of evolution that is rarely talked about, namely that it has involved and continues to involve cooperation or collaboration between Continue reading