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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

A Brief History of Numbers

Diamonds are forever, and so are mathematical truths?

Try googling ‘mathematical gem’. I just got 465,000 results. Quite a lot. Indeed, the metaphor of mathematical ideas as precious little gems is an old one, and it is well known to anyone with a zest for mathematics. A diamond is a little, fully transparent structure all of whose parts can be observed with awe from any angle.

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How much do you know about travel medicine?

Is garlic or citronella more useful in repelling insects? Which disease is typically identified as an ‘urban’ disease? What is the most reliable way to purify water? Test your knowledge of the unique dangers and diseases faced in travel medicine.

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Conservation Education and Outreach Techniques

Effective communications for conservation

From conserving endangered species to confronting climate change, natural resource management and conservation requires effective education and communication to achieve long-term results in our complex world. Research can help natural resource managers understand how to strategically use different outreach techniques and to promote new behaviors by involving and targeting their diverse audiences.

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Mentalizing in groups

‘Mentalizing’ is the new word for making sense of oneself, others, and intersubjective transactions in terms of inner motivations. It can be fast and intuitive (implicit mentalizing), as in most informal and routine interactions, or slow and elaborate (explicit mentalizing), when one steps back to indulge in reflective thinking. “Why did she say that?” The thought is such an integral part of being human that it is most often taken for granted. Yet it is an evolutionary achievement.

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Evolution: Some difficult problems

Two other major and largely unsolved problems in evolution, at the opposite extremes of the history of life, are the origin of the basic features of living cells and the origin of human consciousness. In contrast to the questions we have just been discussing, these are unique events in the history of life.

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Youth violence

Perhaps one of the most politically unpopular truths about violence is that it is young people who are most vulnerable to it, not the elderly or children, but youth. Global estimates from the World Health Organization are that, each year, 200,000 young people are murdered.

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The woman who changed the world

Society owes a debt to Henrietta Lacks. Modern life benefits from long-term access to a small sample of her cells that contained incredibly unusual DNA. As Rebecca Skloot reports in her best-selling book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”, the story that unfolded after Lacks died at the age of 31 is one of injustice, tragedy, bravery, innovation and scientific discovery.

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Preparing for world travel [infographic]

Are you planning a trip to Brazil, Cambodia, The Dominican Republic, Haiti, or another destination that requires immunizations in advance of your arrival? Are you a health care worker, about to travel to a destination currently dealing with an epidemic or outbreak?

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Patients battle for justice

Is it possible that a disease as impairing as Type II diabetes mellitus, congestive heart failure, Multiple Sclerosis, and end-stage renal disease could be repeatedly belittled and delegitimized by scientists and health care professionals? Tragically, this is the case for a devastating illness affecting over one million Americans, and these patients have been deprived of their basic rights to respect, appropriate diagnosis, and humane treatment.

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How much do you know about fool’s gold? [quiz]

Many people have heard of Pyrite, most-commonly referred to as fool’s gold, but far less people know about pyrite’s cultural significance or its prevalence throughout history. From American mining lore to Greek philosophy and medieval poetry, pyrite appears throughout our past, and continues to influence our lives today. Take this quiz to find out how […]

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Bringing the Digital Humanities into the classroom

I spent four days last month with my colleague and friend, Doug Boyd, as he and I (mainly he) gave oral history workshops in Milwaukee and Madison. While the idea to bring Boyd to Wisconsin for these trainings began with Ann Hanlon, Digital Humanities Lab head at UW-Milwaukee, I jumped at the chance to find groups to sponsor his time in Madison.

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10 ways hospitals can heal the planet

A healthy and sustainable environment is a necessary foundation for human health. On that most people agree. But there is an interesting paradox in health care: As hospitals deliver life-saving care to people, their environmental footprint — pollution, energy use, waste production, etc. — can be harmful to our health. Here are 10 ways hospitals can heal the planet.

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Schizophrenia Bulletin

Incorporating sex as a biological variable in preclinical research

In the spring of 2015 the National Institutes of Health announced new guidelines for the incorporation of sex as a biological variable in any research they fund. Chromosome compliment (XX for female, XY for male in all mammals), gonadal phenotype, and gamete size define sex as a biological parameter. (In contrast, gender is a human construction based on an individual or society’s perception of sex.)

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Five years of discovery

The librarians at Bates College became interested in Oxford Bibliographies a little over five years ago. We believed there was great promise for a new resource OUP was developing, in which scholars around the world would be contributing their expertise by selecting citations, commenting on them, and placing them in context for end users.

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