Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

9780199639656

Changing tropical forest landscapes: A view from a small plane

We emerge from the thick tropical clouds that perpetually hang over Kota Kinabalu at this time of year. I crane my neck to get a good view through the plane window of the surreal profile of Mount Kinabalu, its multi-pronged rocky top standing well aloof of the surrounding clouds and forest. It seems as if the mountain, aware of its own splendour, has shaken off all vegetation from its peaks to better show off their plutonic immensity.

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Turning waste into resource: a win-win situation that should not be missed

Soon after the Flinstones’ cartoon period, formally called the Stone Age, humans started to use metals for constructing tools, weapons, or ornaments which tremendously boosted human development. Since then, metal utilization has been evolving and nowadays, metals are a central pillar for all kind of routine and technological uses. You can find aluminium in most of your pots and pans

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9780199206087

Which mammal are you? [quiz]

Mammals are defined as warm-blooded vertebrates that are distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, of which the females secrete milk for the nourishment of their young, and typically birth live young (except five known species, including the duck-billed platypus). Can we match up your personality traits to those of our mammalian friends? Find out which mammal you most closely resemble!

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eyes-on-the-sky

Astronomy’s next big thing: the Square Kilometre Array

When I started research in radio astronomy in 1947, the only known sources of cosmic radio waves were the Sun and the Milky Way. Observing techniques were simple: receivers were insensitive, there was no expectation that other radio sources could be located or even existed. A few years later, a whole vast radio sky was revealed, populated with supernova remnants, galaxies, and quasars.

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9780198726142

Sampling reptiles in the Anthropocene

According to the Reptile Database, more than 10,200 non-avian reptile species have been described (6,175 lizards and amphisbaenians; 3,496 snakes; 341 turtles; 25 crocodilians; 1 tuatara), with new taxa being recognized nearly every day.

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9780199687756_450

Brexit wrecks it for science

We are all reeling from the vote for Brexit. No one in my scientific circle was for exit. Now all are heavily lamenting it. Even cursing it on Facebook. Scientists voted to stay. Seems the entire science sector was pro-Europe and for many good reasons. Many of the best UK science labs are filled with brilliant researchers from across the EU.

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9780195392944

10 things you didn’t know about sharks

There are more than 400 known species of sharks inhabiting our planet’s marine ecosystems but detailed knowledge about most sharks is considerably lacking. Biologists often encounter barriers to studying sharks in captivity and in the wild due to factors such as their large size, relatively low demand in commercial markets, fast speeds, and wide habitat ranges.

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Bleak skies at night: the year without a summer and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Two hundred years ago this month, Mary Shelley had the terrifying ‘waking dream’ that she subsequently molded into the greatest Gothic novel of all time; Frankenstein. As all who have read the book or seen one of the many film adaptations will know, the ‘monster’ cobbled together out of human odds and ends by rogue scientist, Victor Frankenstein, is galvanised into existence by the power of electricity.

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American Entomologist

Researchers use drones and satellite photos to document illegal logging in monarch butterfly reserve

The monarch butterfly has been called “the Bambi of the insect world.” These fascinating insects are famous for their bright colors and their incredible fall migratory route, which can be as long as 2,500 miles. Starting from as far north as Canada, millions of monarchs take a two-month journey to a mountain range that straddles the border of two Mexican states, Michoacán and México, where they spend the winter.

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9780198723622

Mapping the moral high ground on fossil fuels

The so-called Suess effect in radiocarbon (14C) has been known for decades. Geological sources of carbon like coal and oil, that formed many millions of years ago, long since lost their radiocarbon through radioactive decay – they contain 14C-free “dead” carbon. From the mid-19th century the radiocarbon activity of the atmosphere declined as dead carbon from fossil fuels was dug out of the ground and burnt producing carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere.

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9780199587063

Ecological development and adapting to change

World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June to encourage positive environmental action. Instituted by the United Nations in 1974, it provides a global platform for public outreach in promoting the importance of the protection of our environment.

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9780199687756_450

And the Nobel Prize goes to…

In science, perhaps the most famous recent award is for the prediction of the existence of the Higgs Boson particle, discovered at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. Overall, the most famous recipient ever is likely Marie Curie. She went down in history as the first person to win two. She took Nobel Prizes in 1903 and 1911 for getting radium and polonium out of pitchblende, with her own elbow power.

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ICES

Reading list for World Oceans Day

When the Earth is viewed from space, it’s mostly blue. In fact, the ocean covers over 70% of our planet. Life began in the world’s oceans, and today – billions of years later – we’re no less dependent on it. From the diverse organisms which call it home, to the complex ways it helps keep global climates in check, our own survival is undeniably linked to that of the ocean.

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9780199652112

On the finiteness of the atmosphere

I guess the funniest thing I ever saw was a person driving down the highway in a Toyota Prius smoking a cigarette with the windows closed. It was like they were telling me, “I respect your atmosphere but not mine.” That got me thinking, does human generated, gaseous, atmospheric pollution actually make up a significant part of the total atmosphere, and can it possibly affect it?

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