Jane Goodall, inspiration to millions, is 80 today. In December, she gave me two hours of her time, during which I asked her about her childhood, her work with the Gombe chimps and her life as an activist.
In February 1935, the year of King George Vs silver jubilee, a chimpanzee at London Zoo called Boo-Boo gave birth to a baby daughter. A couple of months later, a little blonde-haired girl was given a soft-toy replica of the zoos new arrival to mark her first birthday. This was Jane Goodalls first recorded encounter with a chimp.
Goodall is 80 today (happy birthday Dr Jane). In the intervening years, her research on a community of chimpanzees in Tanzania revolutionised our understanding of these primates, our closest living relatives, and challenged deepset ideas of what it means to be human. She then packed in her fieldwork to become an activist, campaigning tirelessly for a more enlightened attitude towards animals and the environment. Along the way she has received nearly 50 honorary degrees, and became a UN Messenger of Peace in 2002 and Dame Jane in 2004.Continue reading...
Unique form of communication allowed researchers to map the distance and location where bees foraged from month to month
Honeybees fly much longer distances in the summer than in the spring and autumn to find good sources of food, a new study has found.
Can science tell us anything about the soul? A lovely clear answer came from Iain McGilchrist, talking at the RSA this week. "No," he said, and the room filled with laughter, not entirely kindly. He had been responding to a questioner who wanted to know whether the increasing sophistication of brain imaging would not reveal the soul to be an illusion, an unnecessary imprecision.
"To expect that we will find something in the brain that corresponds with the soul is just crass," he said. The moderator, Jonathan Rowson, pressed him: "Is it the case that science can help us understand better what the soul is?"
The first UK study to give ketamine to severely depressed patients has found that it had dramatic positive effects on some long-standing sufferers who had not responded to other treatments.
The BBC has a proud history of nature documentaries, and this looks set to continue with the live debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, showing us the courtship rituals of the simple, maligned but noble creature that is the politician, in their never-ending quest to woo the voter
[Authors note: this piece makes a lot more sense if you imagine David Attenborough reading it aloud]
Some people seem to be objecting to the BBC dedicating primetime coverage to the debates between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage. But such cynical views should be ignored, and the BBC should be praised for showing us detailed footage of the behaviours of that enigmatic species, the politician.Continue reading...
Using original quotes can really bring your science article alive, but how do you persuade people to take the time to chat with you? And how do you get the best out of an interview?
The Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize is open for entries
When youre asking someone for their time, be clear about what exactly you would like from them. Your potential interviewee might get hundreds of emails a day, so make yours concise, simple and direct.Continue reading...
Exemption for International Space Station co-operation highlights American dependence on Russia in space
After insisting that space relations would not be altered by earthly politics, Nasa on Wednesday said it was severing ties with Russia over the Ukraine crisis, except for the International Space Station.
Nasa employees cannot travel to Russia or host visitors until further notice. They are also barred from emailing or holding teleconferences with their Russian counterparts because of Russia's actions in Ukraine, according to a memo sent to workers.Continue reading...