Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

Introducing Anaesthesia

“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”: perceptual errors and inattentional blindness

“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you”. It’s a common refrain heard after many a road-traffic collision, describing the frequent type of motorbike accident when a car pulls out at an intersection. It turns out that these sorts of events might be more complicated than they first appear. These sorts of situational awareness failures may in fact result from a well-described, but not well-known, psychological phenomenon called inattentional blindness.

Read More
1758535X

Gait disturbances can help to predict dementia in older adults

About 500,000 Canadians are living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. This number is expected to soar to 1.1 million within 25 years. To date, there is no definitive way for health care professionals to forecast the onset of dementia in a patient with memory complaints.

Read More
A.R.P. Rau_Physics_Patterns, Principles, and Perspectives

Time as a representation in physics

A previous piece (“Patterns in Physics”) discussed alternative “representations” in physics as akin to languages, an underlying quantum reality described in either a position or a momentum representation. Both are equally capable of a complete description, the underlying reality itself residing in a complex space with the very concepts of position/momentum or wave/particle only relevant in a “classical limit”. The history of physics has progressively separated such incidentals of our description from what is essential to the physics itself.

Read More
Cook_Yablo Paradox

Accusation breeds guilt

One of the central tasks when reading a mystery novel (or sitting on a jury, etc.) is figuring out which of the characters are trustworthy. Someone guilty will of course say they aren’t guilty, just like the innocent – the real question in these situations is whether we believe them. The guilty party – let’s call her Annette – can try to convince us of her trustworthiness by only saying things that are true, insofar as such truthfulness doesn’t incriminate her.

Read More
Policing for the PCSO

What’s it like to be a PCSO?

It’s important to preface any examination of a ‘typical day’ as a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) with the reminder that the role responsibilities are remarkably varied. The role is interpreted, empowered, and utilised in different ways across each individual constabulary, which is reflected in a number of ways, from the different powers invested with PCSOs by a Chief Constable, to the uniforms that they wear during the course of duty.

Read More
jmas

Making the case for history in medical education

Teachers at medical schools have struggled with a basic problem for decades: they want their students not just to be competent doctors, but to be excellent ones. If you understand a little history, you can see why this is such a challenge.

Read More
9780199682843_450

Minerals, molecules, and microbes

The study of minerals is the most fundamental aspect of the Earth and environmental sciences. Minerals existed long before any forms of life. They have played an important role in the origin and evolution of life and interact with biological systems in ways we are only now beginning to understand. One of the most rapidly developing areas in what is now called ‘geobiology’ concerns the role of microbes in processes both of mineral formation and destruction.

Read More
Gluck_Physics Project Lab

Physics Project Lab: How to create the domino effect

Many dominoes may be stacked in a row separated by a fixed distance, in all sorts of interesting formations. A slight push to the first domino in the row results in the falling of the whole stack. This is the domino effect, a term also used in figuratively in a political context. You can use this amusing phenomenon to carry out a little project in physics.

Read More
Schrijver

Stardust making homes in space

Although we rarely stop to think about the origin of the elements of our bodies, we are directly connected to the greater universe. In fact, we are literally made of stardust that was liberated from the interiors of dying stars in gigantic explosions, and then collected to form our Earth as the solar system took shape some 4.5 billion years ago.

Read More
mnrasinfographic

The shape of our galaxy

Many of you have likely seen the beautiful grand spiral galaxies captured by the likes of the Hubble space telescope. Images such as those below of the Pinwheel and Whirlpool galaxies display long striking spiral arms that wind into their centres.

Read More
9780191770418

A very short trivia quiz

In order to celebrate Trivia Day, we have put together a quiz with questions chosen at random from Very Short Introductions online. This is the perfect quiz for those who know a little about a lot. The topics range from Geopolitics to Happiness, and from French Literature to Mathematics. Do you have what it takes to take on this very short trivia quiz and become a trivia master? Take the quiz to find out.

Read More
9780199744541

Residency training and specialty mis-match

The country has long had too many specialists and subspecialists, so the common wisdom holds. And, the common wisdom continues, the fault lies with the residency system, which overemphasizes specialty medicine and devalues primary care, in flagrant disregard of the nation’s needs.

Read More
9780199687756_450

The practical genomics revolution

NHS England is creating 11 Genomic Medicine Centres designed to deliver its ambitious 100,000 Genomes Project. In the broader sense it is an undeniable sign that genomics is poised to transform human medicine by improving the efficacy of medical diagnosis and personalized treatment. This is a major step in the implementation of the Genomics England […]

Read More
Gluck_Physics Project Lab

Physics Project Lab: How to investigate the phenomena surrounding rubber bands

Rubber bands are unusual objects, and behave in a manner which is counterintuitive. Their properties are reflected in characteristic mechanical, thermal and acoustic phenomena. Such behavior is sufficiently unusual to warrant quantitative investigation in an experimental project. A well-known phenomenon is the following. When you stretch a rubber band suddenly and immediately touch your lips with it, it feels warm, the rubber band gives off heat.

Read More
17445019

Adderall and desperation

“Butler Library smells like Adderall and desperation.”
That note from a blogger at Columbia University isn’t exactly scientific. But it speaks to the atmosphere that settles in around exam time here, and at other competitive universities.

Read More
9780199337064

What do nurses really do?

Nurses play a huge role in hospitals, clinics, and various care facilities throughout the world. But, there are some misconceptions about what responsibilities nurses have. Nurses are saving lives and making a difference every day in health care with little recognition from the media or the world at large. Test your knowledge and see how much […]

Read More