Millions of genetically modified mosquitoes could be released in the Florida Keys if British researchers win approval to use the bugs against two extremely painful viral diseases. Never before have insects with modified DNA come so close to being set loose in a residential US neighbourhood.
“This is essentially using a mosquito as a drug to cure disease,” said Michael Doyle, executive director of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District, which is waiting to hear if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will allow the experiment.Continue reading...
The sea off our coasts teems with microscopic life that breaks down the carbon dioxide we pump into the air. Now a series of expeditions aims to find out moreContinue reading...
Not much time to write this weekend, but here are some more Life-and-Physics-related snaps, at least some of which may be “quite interesting”, as Stephen Fry might put it
“Oppenheimer’s stature is not in question, but do we have a playwright big enough to depict him?” That was the question posed by critic Eric Bentley in 1969. The answer has been found in the shape of Tom Morton-Smith, a 34-year-old dramatist with a handful of fringe credits, who has come up with this massively impressive three-hour play for the RSC: one that shows the father of the atomic bomb and leader of America’s Manhattan project to be a genuinely tragic hero.
Oppenheimer’s tragedy, in Morton-Smith’s version, takes many forms. The most obvious is that this visionary scientist, who led the team that created the bombs released on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, had to live with the moral consequences of his discoveries: “I feel,” he says, “like I’ve dropped a loaded gun in a playground.”Continue reading...
Anyone can change everything, but to be successful you need to make the most of the time you have. Celebrated innovators Tim Berners-Lee, Maggie Aderin-Pocock, Ranulph Fiennes and Alice Roberts provide unique insights into the formative moments that have shaped their remarkable careers.
These films are designed to inspire a new generation of individuals working to change the world for the better. They can be consumed as end-to-end films or broken up into individual soundbites. Watch them, edit them and share them with the world.
Marcus du Sautoy explains how mathematical proofs are like narratives, with plots, thrills and ‘whodunnit’ reveals
Mathematicians are storytellers. Our characters are numbers and geometries. Our narratives are the proofs we create about these characters.
Many people believe that doing maths is a question of documenting all the true statements about numbers and geometry – the irrationality of the square root of two, the formula for the volume of the sphere, a list of the finite simple groups. According to one of my mathematical heroes, Henri Poincaré, doing maths is something very different:
“To create consists precisely in not making useless combinations. Creation is discernment, choice. …The sterile combinations do not even present themselves to the mind of the creator.”
proof = narrative
“I like to be surprised. The argument that follows a standard path, with few new features, is dull and unexciting. I like the unexpected, a new point of view, a link with other areas, a twist in the tail.”Continue reading...