Articles

EUSci magazine is released three times a year, with a wide range of themes covering diverse subjects from across science. Suitable articles that don't make it into the print magazine will usually still be edited and displayed online. Have a look at what other people have written, and submit a piece yourself!

Leaders acknowledge that science is vital for the economy, but is that enough?

In the last issue Jess Smith explored what the coalition government may have in store for the future of science, engineering and technology in the UK. Over the summer, the UK has seen some sensational events in the politics of science. Announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), many departments have suffered nearly 25% cuts in their budget but for science the result has been comparatively positive - a freeze on science funding. In real terms, taking inflation in to calculation, it means a cut of only 10% over four years. But is that too large a cut? Read more »

The Business of Science

Scientific innovations and their resulting commercial applications provide one of the most exciting opportunities for students in the sciences. Restored Hearing is an example of business arising from such innovation.

As part of a secondary school project, Rhona Togher, Anthony Carolan and I began to look at ways of using sound waves to tackle auditory problems. We examined tinnitus, ringing in the ears, and were shocked to discover that 92% of the population experience temporary tinnitus at some point in their lives. Tinnitus usually occurs after exposure to loud music or noise. However, many people are unaware this is a sign that serious damage has been done to their ears. As tinnitus after concerts, discos or prolonged use of MP3 players is most common in our peers, this became the focus of our research. Read more »

GM fish coming to your plate? So what!

If I have to read another article about ‘Frankenfish’ or ‘Frankensalmon’, I might require psychiatric treatment. These articles evoke images of double-headed salmon and seven-finned abominations. Why all the fuss? In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon allow genetically modified (GM) salmon made by AquaBounty to be sold–unlabelled–on the US market. There are no plans yet to sell them in the UK, but the story was still covered extensively by the British media.

The villain is a genetically engineered Atlantic salmon that has a single copy of a growth hormone gene from the chinook salmon. This growth hormone is under the control of an antifreeze gene promoter that the scientists at AquaBounty have taken from the eel-like ocean pout. The promoter keeps growth hormone production switched on all year round instead of only in the warmer months. Thus, the salmon progresses from an egg to your plate in just 18 months instead of the normal 3 years. Read more »

The Dance Doctor

More at home on the dance floor than at the lab bench, Dr Peter Lovatt is surely an academic with a difference. A one time dyslexic professional dancer, Dr Lovatt now heads up the Dance Lab in the Department of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire.

Last year, for the first time, he brought his work out of the lab and onto the stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in a show called Dance Doctor, Dance. EUSci went along for a boogie, and caught up with him after the show.

Q. You’ve been featured in the media for your work before, but is this the first time you’ve presented the science from your lab to a non-specialist audience?

I do lots of talking to scientists, but this is the first time we’ve presented our work to an arts based audience, so it’s a real project for us and we’ve taken out all the graphs, all the equations and are just presenting it as public engagement for science. Read more »

Wonderful Life: the cosmic lottery of evolution

What if evolution had gone differently? What if a series of events had allowed species now extinct to survive? The world could be completely different and maybe humans would not exist. In this classic of the popular science literature, Stephen Jay Gould tells the story of a great scientific event, the discovery of Precambrian fossils in the Burgess Shale, British Columbia, and its impact on our understanding of evolution. Read more »

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