Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

9780199988327

The hidden side of natural selection

The agents of natural selection cause evolutionary changes in population gene pools. They include a plethora of familiar abiotic and biotic factors that affect growth, development, and reproduction in all living things.

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Age-friendly community initiatives: coming to a neighborhood near you?

The saying that “It takes a village” is well known when recognizing the role of communities in promoting children’s health and human development. At the same time, there is a growing worldwide movement drawing attention to how much communities matter for people of other ages—especially adults confronting the challenges of later life. Efforts to make communities better places for older adults (and potentially for people of all ages) reflect a growing field of research, policy, and practice called “age-friendly community initiatives” (AFCIs).

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9780199342488

A prescient voice on climate change

Everyone knows that in June 1962, Rachel Carson published a series of articles that became Silent Spring, the eloquent book that launched the American environmental movement.

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9780199379156

Are you ready to travel?

There’s more to international travel than booking a flight, finding a place to stay, and figuring out transportation. When traveling internationally, it is important to pay attention to the different vaccinations and immunizations that are required or suggested. Keeping yourself and your travel companions safe should be a top priority when preparing to go on a trip to another country. Are you ready to get on that plane?

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9780199672554

Ecologists, drunkards, and statistics

“Statistics,” as an old saying has it, sometimes “are used much like a drunk man uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination” This sounds bad, but is it? And if so, why? cientists sometimes use statistics to support an argument because statistics appear to lend authority that otherwise may seem lacking.

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Urban heat islands – What are they and why are they a big deal?

The recent brutal heat waves on the Indian subcontinent, in western North America, and in western Europe are instructive reminders of an often forgotten challenge for an urbanizing human population in a warming world: alleviating urban heat stress. Cities are durable and costly to change, so what we do now to reduce risk in a future with more numerous and more dangerous heat waves that will directly affect future generations.

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Beukeboom_The evolution of sex determination

Looking forward to ESEB 2015

My first experience of an academic conference as a biology books editor at Oxford University Press was of sitting in a ballroom in Ottawa in July 2012 listening to 3000 evolutionary biologists chanting ‘I’m a African’ while a rapper danced in front of a projection of Charles Darwin

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OxBibs in African Studies

Cecil the lion’s death is part of a much larger problem

Effective wildlife conservation is a challenge worldwide. Only a small percentage of the earth’s surface is park, reserve, or related areas designated for the protection of wild animals, marine life, and plants. Virtually all protected areas are smaller than what conservationists believe is needed to ensure species’ survival, and many of these areas suffer from a shortage of

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9780199579563_450

The AA talking cure

80 years ago, in the summer of 1935, Bill Wilson, a stockbroker from NYC, and Dr. Bob Smith, a surgeon from Akron Ohio, both formerly hopeless alcoholics, shared their “experience, strength, and hope” with each other in Dr. Bob’s living room, and Alcoholic’s Anonymous was born. Today, 2 million people in 170 countries continue to do exactly what Bill W. and Dr. Bob did. Formerly hopeless drunks sit in church basements and in clubhouses, and share their stories with each other, not with ministers, addiction experts or psychiatrists, but with fellow alcoholics.

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9780199687756_450

Genomically speaking

Today, the amount of global genetic data is doubling on the order of every seven months. This time span has shortened significantly over the past years as the field of genomics continues to mature. A recent study showed genomics is starting to compete with the data outputs of digital giants like Twitter and YouTube.

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9780199914081

Medicare and end-of-life medical care

Medicare recently announced that it will pay for end-of-life counseling as a legitimate medical service. This announcement provoked little controversy. Several groups, including the National Right to Life Committee, expressed concern that such counseling could coerce elderly individuals to terminate medical treatment they want. However, Medicare’s statement was largely treated as uncontroversial—indeed, almost routine in nature.

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9780198705130

Animal, vegetable or mineral? [quiz]

In the late eighteenth century, against a troubled background of violent change on the continent and rising challenges to the Establishment at home, botanists were discovering strange creatures that defied the categories of ‘animal, vegetable, and mineral’.

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Glazer_Crystal Clear

William Lawrence Bragg and Crystallography

The history of modern Crystallography is intertwined with the great discoveries’ of William Lawrence Bragg (WLB), still renowned to be the youngest Nobel Prize in Physics. Bragg received news of his Nobel Prize on the 14th November 1915 in the midst of the carnage of the Great War. This was to be shared with his father William Henry Bragg (WHB), and WHB and WLB are to date the only father and son team to be jointly awarded the Nobel Prize.

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9780199798148 - Overfishing WENTK

Overfishing: a bigger problem than we think

Many of us probably tend to take fish for granted, as it’s a fairly sustainable resource—at least, that’s what we’d like believe. It’s difficult to imagine that we could even come close to depleting what seems to be limitless; after all, the earth is mostly covered in water. But as Ray and Ulrike Hilborn discuss in an excerpt from their book, Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know, there is reason for concern in our flippancy towards our complex ecosystem.

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9780199456222

Rivers in distress

A river is a natural, living, organic whole, a hydrological and ecological system. It flows; that is its defining characteristic. As it flows, it performs many functions. It supports aquatic life and vegetation; provides drinking water to human beings, their livestock and wildlife; influences the micro-climate; recharges groundwater; dilutes pollutants and purifies itself; sustains a wide range of livelihoods; transports silt and enriches the soil; maintains the estuary in a good state; provides the necessary freshwater to the sea to keep its salinity at the right level; prevents the incursion of salinity from the sea; provides nutrients to marine life; and so on. It is also an integral part of human settlements, their lives, landscape, society, culture, history, and religion.

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Toilet paradigms and the sanitation crisis in India

Sanitation has evinced considerable interest from policy-makers, lawmakers, researchers and even politicians in recent years. Its transformation from a social taboo into a topic of general conversation is evident from the fact that one of the central themes of a recent mainstream Bollywood production (Piku, 2015) was the inability of the protagonist’s father to relieve himself.

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