Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Science & Medicine

Pushed to extremes: the human cost of climate change

However, a parallel and equally disturbing trend is happening ecologically in the US, with the rejection of climate change science and the withdrawal from the Paris Accord. Though climate change may at first appear to be a separate issue from the xenophobia and anti-refugee mindset, they are more inextricably tied to one another than we are led to believe.

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Fire prevention: the lessons we can learn

The United States spends more on health than any other economically comparable country, yet sees a consistently mediocre return on this investment. This could be because the United States invests overwhelmingly in medicine and curative care, at the expense of the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health—factors like quality education and housing, the safety of our air and water, and the nutritional content of our food.

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The frailty industry: too much too soon?

Fashions come and go, in clothing, news, and even movie genres. Medicine, including geriatric medicine, is no exception. When I was a trainee, falls and syncope was the “next big thing,” pursued with huge enthusiasm by a few who became the many. But when does a well-meaning medical fashion become a potentially destructive fad? Frailty, quite rightly, has developed from something geriatricians and allied professionals always did to become a buzz word even neurosurgeons bandy about.

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Why do so many people believe in miracles?

Belief in miracles is widespread. According to recent surveys 72% of people in the USA and 59% of people in the UK believe that miracles take place. Why do so many people believe in miracles in the present age of advanced science and technology? Let us briefly consider three possible answers to this question. The first possible answer is simply that miracles actually do take place all the time.

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Why solar and wind won’t make much difference to carbon dioxide emissions

We all like the convenience of electrical energy. It lights our home and offices, and drives motors that are needed in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems that keep us buildings comfortable no matter what the temperature is outside. It’s essential for refrigeration that secures our food supply. In short, it makes modern life with all its comfort and conveniences possible.

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World Space Week: a reading list

Space exploration has dominated human imagination for the most of the last 125-odd years. Every year we learn more about what lies beyond the limits of Earth’s atmosphere. We learn about extraterrestrial resources, such as metals on asteroids or water on the Moon; we discover new exoplanets that may be able to support life; we research new technologies that will get us onto planets a little closer to home, such as Mars.

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More than just sanctuary, migrants need social citizenship

In 1975, the English author John Berger wrote about the political implications of immigration, at a time when one in seven workers in the factories of Germany and Britain was a male migrant – what Berger called the ‘seventh man’. Today, every seventh person in the world is a migrant. Migrants are likely to settle in cities.

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Bracing for the worst flu season on record

This year, 2017, is braced to historically be the worst flu season ever recorded, according to the Nation Health Service (NHS). Doctors and hospitals may struggle to cope with the increase in demand, following the spike of influenza cases from Australia and New Zealand, who have recently come out of their winter season.

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An American Kaiser?

Despite differences in historical era and social background, the Kaiser who ruled Germany from 1888 to 1918 and the American president who parlayed a real-estate empire into electoral (if not popular) victory displayed remarkably similar temperament. As Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen suggested, “Germany used to have a leader like Trump,” adding that “it’s not who you think.”

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Lovely LISA

One of the amazing ideas to emerge from Einstein’s theory of general relativity was the possibility of gravitational waves rippling their way across the cosmos. It took a century to verify this prediction. Their existence was finally confirmed by LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) in September 2015.

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The story behind the image

A clinical placement abroad is a unique and eye-opening experience for any young medic. Away from the organised bustle of the hospital wards and state-of-the art lab equipment, they must learn to overcome cultural, linguistic, and environmental barriers in order to deliver exceptional care to those in need. In June, our 2017 Clinical Placement Competition came to a close.

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Integrative Environmental Medicine

How ‘green’ are you at work? [quiz]

With sea level rising and ice caps rapidly melting, the danger signs of global warming are evident, increasing the need to be environmentally friendly. However, much of this focus is on being environmentally friendly at home. Many of us spend a large proportion of our time at work, making it just as crucial to be ‘green’ at work, as we are at home.

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Following the trail of a mystery

What would you think, when crossing a Himalayan glacier, if you found this footprint? Clearly some animal made the mark. This print is in a longer line of tracks, and shows not just one animal. The print looks like a person’s … but that gigantic toe on what is a left foot has the arch on the outside of the foot. Big toe on one side, the arch on the other, three tiny toes? And the longer line of footprints suggests that a family of mysteries walked the route.

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On serendipity, metals, and networks

“What connects archaeology and statistical physics?”, we asked ourselves one evening in The Marquis Cornwallis, a local Bloomsbury pub in London back in 2014, while catching up after more than a decade since our paths crossed last time. While bringing back the memories of that time we first met when we were both 16, it hit us that our enthusiasm for research we did as teenagers had not faded away

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Mathematical reasoning and the human mind [excerpt]

Mathematics is more than the memorization and application of various rules. Although the language of mathematics can be intimidating, the concepts themselves are built into everyday life. In the following excerpt from A Brief History of Mathematical Thought, Luke Heaton examines the concepts behind mathematics and the language we use to describe them.

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The switch to electric cars

Much has been written about autonomous, driverless vehicles. Though they will undoubtedly have a huge impact as artificial intelligence (AI) develops, the shift to electric cars is equally important, and will have all sorts of consequences for the United Kingdom. The carbon dioxide emissions from petrol and diesel cars account for about 10% of the global energy-related CO2 emissions

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