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Cyber war and the question of causation

Everyone knows that the increasing threat of cyber attacks will place immense pressure on the operational capacities for various intelligence and defense agencies. Speak with anyone in military operations (from several countries), and their lists of security concerns are remarkably similar: Russia, ISIS, and cyber (in no particular order).

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Biodynamic wine

All vineyards and thus the wines they produce are not created equal. Two Chardonnays grown in neighbouring plots but with slightly differing soils, slopes and sun exposure will taste subtly different, even if both will still taste of Chardonnay too. This unique ‘somewhereness’ is what the French call terroir.

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Are drug companies experimenting on us too much?

For years, my cholesterol level remained high, regardless of what I ate. I gave up all butter, cheese, red meat, and fried food. But every time I visited my doctor, he still shook his head sadly, as he looked at my lab results. Then, anti-cholesterol medications became available, and I started one.

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Q & A with Martin R. Turner and Matthew C. Kiernan: Neurology’s past, present, and future

To mark this month’s release of Martin R. Turner and Matthew C. Kiernan’s Landmark Papers in Neurology, we spoke with the two editors, to discuss their thoughts on neurology – past and present. We asked about the origins of neurology, the understanding of neurological diseases, milestones in the field, why historical context is so important – and their predictions for the future…

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Biophilia: technology that transforms music education

In today’s society, technology is fundamentally embedded in the everyday learning environments of children. The development of educative interactive apps is constantly increasing, and this is undoubtedly true for apps designed to facilitate musical development. So much so that computer-based technology has become an integral part of children’s musical lives

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Why know any algebra?

A recent meme circulating on the internet mocked a US government programme (ObamaCare) saying that its introduction cost $360 million when there were only 317 million people in the entire country. It then posed the rhetorical question: “Why not just give everyone a million dollars instead?”

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Ethics at the chocolate factory

Two women are being trained for work on a factory assembly line. As products arrive on a conveyor belt, their task is to wrap each product and place it back on the belt. Their supervisor warns them that failing to wrap even one product is a firing offense, but once they get started, the work seems easy.

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How much do you know about failure?

To most of us, good scientific research is often defined by the “eureka” moment – the moment at which a successful result is discovered. We tend to only glorify research that leads us to definite solutions and we tend to only praise the scientists that are responsible for this research.

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A Brief History of Numbers

From number theory to e-commerce

The American Mathematical Society held on October 1903 its regular meeting in New York City. The program announced a talk by Frank Nelson Cole (1861-1921), with the unpretending title of ‘On the factorization of large numbers’. In due course, Cole approached the board and started to multiply the number 2 by itself, step after step and without saying a word, sixty seven times.

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Building momentum for women in science

I recently attended an event at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine “Celebrating 200+ Women Professors”. The celebration of these women and their careers inspired me, especially as a “young” woman and an assistant professor. It was also humbling to hear about their successes in spite of the many challenges they faced solely due to their sex.

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World Statistics Day: a reading list

On 20 October 2015, the global mathematical community is celebrating World Statistics Day. In honour of this, we present here a reading list of OUP books and journal articles that have helped to advance the understanding of these mathematical concepts.

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Better medical research for longer, healthier lives

When I started my career as a medical statistician in September 1972, medical research was very different from now. In that month, the Lancet and the British Medical Journal published 61 research reports which used individual participant data, excluding case reports and animal studies. The median sample size was 36 people. In July 2010, I had another look.

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Why you must stop for coffee and donuts this morning

Sometimes, what your brain wants is not always good for your body. Donuts are a good example. It’s early morning and you’re driving to work after a nice breakfast of black coffee and two eggs, easy-over, with bacon. Yet, you’re still hungry and having difficulty paying attention to the traffic. Why? Your brain is not cooperating because it is not satisfied with that breakfast because it lacked one critical ingredient that your brain urgently needs: sugar.

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World Anaesthesia Day: Key events in the history of anaesthesia

Today (Friday 16 October) is World Anaesthesia Day. To mark this occasion, we have selected ten of the most interesting events in the history of anaesthesia. From the discovery of diethyl ether by Paracelsus in 1525, to James Young Simpson’s first use of chloroform in 1847, and the creation of the first specialist anaesthetic society in 1992 – anaesthesia is a medical discipline with a fascinating past.

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Soda Politics

The soda industry exposed [infographic]

Although soda companies such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are recognized around the world – the history, politics, and nutrition of these corporations are not as known. In her latest book, Soda Politics: Taking on Big Soda (and Winning), Marion Nestle exposes the truth behind this multi-billion dollar industry. Check out these hard hitting facts and see how much you actually know about the soda industry.

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Music: the language of play

Every day after school, eager children cross the doorstep of a suburban Melbourne house. It’s the home of Daphne Proietto, an exceptional piano teacher who gives lessons to children six days a week, entirely pro bono. While some kids would be more inclined to see piano lessons as a chore, these kids can’t wait. The reason? Music for them is more than just an activity.

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