Zidan Yang uses the latest advances in genome editing to unlock the secret memories of our cells.
Memory formation and storage, a notorious conundrum that human beings have been striving to understand for hundreds of years and still there is no definition universally accepted. Yet modern scientists embark on analysing memory at a digital and quantitative level. In the summer of 2016, biological engineers from MIT successfully devised an analogue memory storage machinery, which to some extent can shed new light on the interpretation of memory.
Continue reading “Analogue Memory Recording: Turn Your DNA Into a Hard Drive”
What maths defines natural beauty? Chyi Chung dives into the spirals of sunflowers to find out.
Sunflowers – no strangers to being muses in art – also fascinate the minds of mathematicians. Behold, heads of tightly-packed seeds, each framed by a mane of bright yellow petals. Look again, look closer and descend into their spiralling beauty.
Continue reading “Sunflowers: Spiralling in Control”
Philippa Jefferies looks at how Einstein’s theories affect us every day through our GPS devices.
We’ve all heard of Einstein’s theories of Relativity, even if only by name. They’re often associated with black holes and other immense objects in space and they dictate the movement of objects from our own planet to vast galaxies. However, the consequences of Special and General Relativity affect us more personally every day. A good example is the GPS on your phone!
Continue reading “Einstein’s Relativity and How Not to Get Lost”
Marion Cromb and Daniel Thomas reveal the invisible beauty of the world around us with schlieren imaging.
Look here, there’s something cool happening! No, not just on the page, but in the air in front of it! There are many interesting phenomena taking place all the time in the air surrounding us, but their transparency normally makes them difficult to admire. However, certain techniques are able to pick up on slight changes in the way materials bend light, allowing us to see the otherwise hidden beauty of air flow and much much more.
Continue reading “What a Load of Hot Air!”
John Dunsmuir takes us on the journey coffee makes through our body.
Three hundred tonnes of caffeine are consumed globally each year, making it the world’s most popular psychoactive drug. But what makes this insecticide so popular?
The first credible source of coffee drinking comes from Fifteenth Century Sufi monasteries in modern day Yemen. It quickly spread via trade throughout the Mediterranean Basin, entering Europe via Italy.
Caffeine closely resembles the structure of a naturally occuring chemical in the brain known as Adenosine
Continue reading “What Is Caffeine?”
Chyi Chung considers the position of vultures within the Indian food chain.
T he doongerwadi seems an inconspicuous stone tower raised on a plinth. But from their flight in the sky, its roofless interior becomes exposed. The bodies of men, women and children are laid out in three carved, concentric circles surrounding a pit. They swoop down and devour the corpses in a matter of hours. They are efficient: the bodies are picked clean to the bone for depositing in the pit, before they take flight once more. They are the unsung heroes of death.
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Take smooth flights for granted? Siddharth Trivedi meets the man behind the mechanics.
Born in Freising, Germany in 1875, Ludwig Prandtl spent a significant portion of his childhood with his father due to his mother’s long term illness. A professor in engineering, his father was probably the reason Prandtl picked up his innate ability for scientific observation. He later utilised these same skills as he earned his PhD in Munich, and entered his first job in a factory where he designed a suction device as an equipment design engineer.
Continue reading “Ludwig Prandtl: The Father of Modern Aerodynamics”
Rosalind Franklin was a forerunner in the preliminary research towards determining the structure of DNA. Her X-ray crystallography photos and corresponding mathematical data led to the discovery of the helical structure of DNA.
These results set out the basis for many further studies, including the well-known discoveries by Watson and Crick. Controversy over Franklin’s contributions to Watson and Crick’s work has been the subject of debate continuing to this day.
Continue reading “Franklin’s fight for DNA”
Kit Béhard finds that nanofoams, Stanene and Shrilk may be the keys to a sustainable future.
Plastics are arguably the most important material of the 20th century. Since the invention of the first synthetic plastic in 1907 they’ve been used in everything from toys and packaging, to electronics and transportation. The reason for the versatility and wide use of plastics is that they are flexible, strong and cheap.
Continue reading “Materials For a Greener Tomorrow!”
Will it be possible to read minds in the future? Sophie Dixon examines the current research and future possibilities of mind reading.
Mind reading, the phenomena that has for so long been considered a fantasy, is becoming a more realistic possibility. While mind reading devices for casual communication are still a long way off, the ability to translate a person’s brain activity into written text, a process known as neurotelepathy, has already been achieved.
Continue reading “Mind Reading: The Science Behind the Superpower”