Some eight years ago I sat down to draw out a blueprint for a book that should tell stories about how the chemistry of individual elements of the periodic table had changed, for better or for worse, the courses of ordinary peoples’ lives. Several things motivated me; I was sitting on a number of stories where literature and history intersected with chemistry that I would love to tell to a bigger audience
Clinical pathology covers a broad range of responsibilities and functions in medicine. As a discipline, it includes clinical (bio)chemistry, medical microbiology, hematology, coagulation, clinical immunology, and increasingly molecular diagnostics. We recently sat down with the Editor of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Dr. Michael L. Wilson, to learn the vital importance of this field.
In September 2013, the American comedian Louis C.K. talked to chat-show host Conan O’Brien about the value of sadness. His comments grew out of a discussion about mobile phones, and the way they may distract us from the reality of our emotions.
Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in many countries, but its prevalence has changed significantly during the last 50 years. Death rates from heart disease have fallen dramatically in western countries, but increased in many ‘developing’ countries. These large population-wide changes suggest environmental factors, including diet, are a major determinant of the risk of heart disease.
As adults, we remain fascinated with images of young children performing extraordinary feats, with platforms such as YouTube offering us an unending wealth of mini Mozarts and baby Einsteins for us to feast our eyes and ears on, and providing the perfect fodder for our daily Facebook feeds. We are filled with awe at the sight of such small individuals undertaking tasks that most adults only dream of undertaking.
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.
The term ‘artificial intelligence’ was coined as long ago as 1956 to describe ‘the science and engineering of making intelligent machines’. The work that has happened in the subject since then has had enormous impact. Margaret Boden is Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex, and one of the best known figures in the field of Artificial Intelligence. We put four common questions to her about this exciting area of research.
Cancer cells have a unique vulnerability: the same mechanisms that shield them from the immune system also make them prone to viral infections.
Islands urgently require major additional conservation efforts. Many species face extinction, natural areas are small and fragmented and alien species dominate most ecosystems.
When asked to think about the ocean, most people imagine a pristine habitat in the tropics with golden sands and clear blue waters, or the diversity of fish associated with coral reef communities.
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.
Psychosis, agitation, disorientation, or bizarre behavior due to drug ingestion is a common presentation to the emergency department (ED), and frequently psychiatry is consulted to assess for an underlying psychiatric illness. A working knowledge of how different substances are expected to affect patients is an important part of keeping up-to-date as a psychiatric emergency clinician.
When I first met Ian Waterman in the mid-1980s I could scarcely believe him. He claimed to have lost touch, and movement and position sense (termed proprioception) below the neck, though he could still feel pain and temperature, and his movement nerves were unaffected. Not only was I not aware of any such condition in medicine, but he had walked to the clinic and was sitting calmly as we chatted.
Imagine a world where the majority of our workforce was composed of robots as capable and as psychologically similar to human beings. The robots are constantly working and are faster and more efficient than humans—leaving humans to be pushed towards early retirement to enjoy a life of leisure and wealth due to a large growth in investments on this artificial intelligence (AI).
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.
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.