Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

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Relax, inhale, and think of Horace Wells

Many students, when asked by a teacher or professor to volunteer in front of the class, shy away, avoid eye contact, and try to seem as plain and unremarkable as possible. The same is true in dental school – unless it comes to laughing gas. As a fourth year dental student, I’ve had times where I’ve tried to avoid professors’ questions about anatomical variants of nerves, or the correct way to drill a cavity, or what type of tooth infection has symptoms of hot and cold sensitivity.

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Parental consent, the EU, and children as “digital natives”

Children have become heavy new media users. Empirical data shows that a number of children accessing the internet – contrary to the age of users – is constantly increasing. It is estimated that about 60% of European children are daily or almost daily internet users, and therefore, by many they are considered to be “digital natives”.

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The lake ecosystems of the Antarctic

Antarctica is a polar desert almost entirely covered by a vast ice sheet up to 4 km in thickness. The great white continent is a very apt description. The ice free areas, often referred to as oases, carry obvious life in lakes and occasional small patches of lichen and mosses where there is sufficient seasonal melt water to support them.

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Gary King: an update on Dataverse

At the American Political Science Association meetings earlier this year, Gary King (Albert J. Weatherhead III University Professor at Harvard University) gave a presentation on Dataverse (here are his slides). Dataverse is an important tool that many researchers use to archive and share their research materials; as many readers of this blog may already know, the journal that I co-edit, Political Analysis, uses Dataverse to archive and disseminate the replication materials for the articles we publish in our journal.

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The food we eat: A Q&A on agricultural and food controversies

The world is more interested in issues surrounding agriculture and food than ever before. Questions swirl around the safety of our food, how it’s made, and what we can do to ensure we eat the best food. We asked F. Bailey Norwood, one of the authors of Agricultural and Food Controversies: What Everyone Needs to Know, to answer some of today’s most pressing queries.

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Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

Increasing numbers of people are forced to live their lives away from the ones they love, be they partners, parents, or friends. Having been a member of a long-distance relationship, I can attest to the strain that separation places on a relationship. Over the last few decades communication technologies have been increasingly marketed as solutions to the problem of strain, separation, and isolation. But how far do they go in actually addressing these issues?

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The hand and the machine

Two hundred years ago last Friday the owner of the London Times, John Walter II, is said to have surprised a room full of printers who were preparing hand presses for the production of that day’s paper. He showed them an already completed copy of the paper and announced, “The Times is already printed – by steam.”

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What is psychology’s greatest achievement?

I am sure that there are some who still proclaim that psychology’s greatest achievement is buried somewhere in Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic papers, whereas others will reject the focus on early childhood memories in favor of present day Skinnerian contingencies of prediction and control.

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Anna Freud’s life

In celebration of would would have been Anna Freud’s 119th birthday, we have compiled a timeline of important events, her influences and her most celebrated publications. From her education and love of learning, to her role as a teacher, children and child psychoanalysis always played a large part in the life of Anna Freud.

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Do you have what it takes to be extreme? [quiz]

Whether it’s for the thrill of an extreme sport like climbing Mount Everest or sky diving from a plane high above the ground, or for the allure of a job that involves the likes of exploring space or traveling the seas, some people naturally have what it takes to face the challenges of life in the extreme. Take this quiz to see if you have what it takes to be the next Amelia Earhart or Buzz Aldrin.

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World AIDS Day reading list

World AIDS Day is a global campaign that raises awareness and funds for the estimated 34 million people living with HIV, and also commemorates the 35 million people who have died of the virus. The first one was held in 1988 and, as such, it is the longest running health day. Despite many medical advances, HIV remains one of the most devastating epidemics in human history.

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Leonard Cohen and smoking in old age

Leonard Cohen’s decision to take up cigarettes again at 80 reveals a well kept secret about older age: you can finally live it up and stop worrying about the consequences shortening your life by much.

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A brief history of the e-cigarette

Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity around the world. With the announcement of vape as our Word of the Year, we have put together a timeline of the history of e-cigarettes.

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Ivan Pavlov in 22 surprising facts

An iconic figure of 20th century science and culture, Ivan Pavlov is best known as a founding figure of behaviorism who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell and offered a scientific approach to psychology that ignored the “subjective” world of the psyche itself. While researching Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science, I discovered that these and other elements of the common images of Pavlov are incorrect.

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