Issue 8

Computing team create earthquake analyser

A group of computer scientists from the University of Edinburgh have recently unveiled a new system for analysing seismic data. Read more »

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have highlighted nature’s flair for producing new types of flowers

DNA from wild evergreen rhododendrons from the Himalayas were analysed in the study. The results suggested that hundreds of species could be made by cross-breeding different species. The rich biodiversity seen in the natural world may be explained by this research, as it shows how random plant pairings millions of years ago has led to the development of the interesting species of today. Read more »

Scientists get insight into malaria resistances

Every year around 250 million people are infected by malaria. Of those, 863,000 people die because the parasite has become resistant to most of the available drugs. In many parts of the world, the only drug that is still effective is artemisinin, a plant-based remedy. However, there are signs that resistance against artemisinin is increasing. Read more »

Study unravels DNA packaging to provide insights into cell renewal

University scientists have shed light on how DNA is compacted in dividing cells, a discovery which will help understand how cell renewal can fail. Read more »

Amateur mountaineers take unnecessary risks

Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, is becoming more and more popular amongst amateur climbers. Of those 25,000 climbers who crest the summit each year, the majority do not know enough about the risks of altitude sickness, which is potentially lethal in some cases. Read more »

Forecasting damage caused by water and climate change on historic buildings

Maintenance of historic buildings can now become easier as a result of work by engineers at the University of Edinburgh. They have developed a method to forecast damage caused to stone and brick monuments by the weather. Read more »

The Shape of Space

Issue 8

From the editors: 
Thanks for picking up issue 8! The EUSci team has been working hard and there is plenty in store for you here. To start, we have sent our focus team into space and snagged an interview with Edinburgh’s favourite astronaut, Piers Sellers. In addition to coverage of the now infamous government budget cuts and a sampling of ways to get involved in public engagement, we regale you with tales of field work in Africa, Bolivia, and even the kitchen of an unsuspecting EUSci mother.One change this issue: EUSci has gone green. We feel scientists should set a good example and so in an eff ort to keep our science a step ahead of our carbon footprint, we have switched to more sustainable printing. The inner pages are now 100% recycled paper, while the cover comes from a certified sustainable source. This fall, we were happy to see many fresh faces joining EUSci. Along with our usual writing and editing, a highlight of this term was an evening discussing science and media with local science writer Colin Macilwain.Beyond Edinburgh, we have been pleased to hear rumours that the science media bug has been spreading across Scotland. A couple of new university science magazines and podcasts may appear in the coming months. We wish them the best of luck and can’t wait to read and listen to what they create.As the spring term gets underway, we hope more budding writers, editors, layout designers and artists will join us. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to help or even just send comments. We’re looking for feature submissions as always, with our next deadline January 24 and our annual Sci-Fi contest coming up (more information on the facing page).Remember to fi nd us online at, where we will soon be launching our redesigned website (created by our resident production whiz, Jon Manning).
From the president: 
Welcome to issue 8 of EUSci Magazine! You may have noticed that we are looking a little diff erent as the magazine is now printed on 100% recycled paper. However,our commitment to provide you with the highest level of science content has remained unchanged.Huge thanks to the talented writers, editors, illustrators and others who have created this issue. Particular thanks to Catie and Lynne for masterfully overseeing the wholeprocess. Beyond the magazine, the increasingly popular seminar series has out grown its original pub location and has been successfully relocated to Inspace; over the airwaves (and iTunes), new voices have can be heard on the podcast which continues to provide a fortnightly dose of all things current in science and, in conjunctionwith the Edinburgh Beltane, we are expanding our hands-on science communication training opportunities.Dates and information on how to get involved with any of our activities can be found at our website (, alternatively email the magazine ( to get added to the mailing list. Which only leaves me to wish you all a happy international year of chemistry.

Gene Therapy: a Viable Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease?

Back in the early seventies, the idea of 'gene surgery' emerged for the first time. The scientific community soon latched onto this idea and it morphed into 'gene therapy'. In the 40 years that have passed since, gene therapy has been proposed as a viable treatment for diseases ranging from cystic fibrosis to HIV. Unfortunately, therapeutic results haven’t lived up to the hype surrounding the technology. However, therapies that target specific diseases are slowly being developed in labs around the world with greater success. One of these diseases is Parkinson’s disease. Read more »

Extending the Final Frontier

Not too long ago, Gliese 581g was the name on everybody's lips (and appears on p. X) - an extrasolar rocky planet that could have the potential to support life! The discovery, if it is confirmed, profoundly changes our view on the probability of finding life outside our own solar system. Yet this is by no means the first time that astronomy has transformed our understanding of the universe. The main instrument in this endeavour has always been the humble telescope. Read more »

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