Lucky dip

EUSci now has a fairly extensive archive of fascinating articles- use this page to show you a random selection.

I, Robot

Most of us are healthy and enjoy walking, hiking, and other outdoor activities. Imagine how it is to have been paralyzed from the neck down for a long time, unable to even drink a cup of coffee. And imagine how it is to be able to then regain this ability. This is what, by using a remote robotic arm, a 58-year old woman has achieved for the first time in 15 years since she had a brainstem stroke.

The brainstem is the part of the brain responsible (among others) for transmitting movement commands from the brain to the rest of the body. This is why the woman became tetraplegic ( that is, paralyzed from the neck down) after the brainstem stroke even though her limbs were healthy. Read more »

The Doughnuts of Science

If I were to ask you, "What is a synchrotron?", you would probably think "Eh?", but you are probably aware of the largest of them all, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), part of the CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research. This particle smasher, which is hunting for the so-called 'God particle', the Higgs Boson, lives under part of the French-Swiss border. The LHC is a large circular pipe that is 27 kilometres in circumference and works by accelerating charged particles (such as protons and electrons) around the circle by use of varying magnetic fields. When the particles are fast enough, they are diverted and allowed to smash into each other, revealing what they are made of in the process. However, though the LHC is the largest synchrotron in the world, and as a result can generate the fastest particles, it is not the only one. Read more »

AR You Ready for This?

What do you get if you take the internet revolution, throw in GPS and digital compass technology, and add some futuristic display technology? In the not-too-distant future, the answer may be 'terminator vision'.

Let's face it, virtual reality was a bit of a let-down. Convincing VR technology has yet to hit the consumer market despite the teasing of science fiction from Star Trek, through to Red Dwarf' and The Matrix. Those headache and neck ache-inducing headsets from the 80s and 90s just don't cut the mustard, and the Trekkies' long wait for their holodeck seems set to continue for some time. Fortunately, consolation is to be found in an emerging set of products centred on a related concept called augmented reality, or AR. Rather than replacing the world around us, AR promises to augment it by overlaying information and making interaction richer. Read more »

Study points to human-neanderthal interbreeding

The presence of neanderthal DNA in modern humans can best be explained by interbreeding between the two species in Europe and Asia, according to a new genetic study. Read more »

The Egg and Sperm Race

We never imagined that this phrase would fill us with such overwhelming pride. We were in the middle of a music festival telling people about reproductive biology, and the time and effort we'd put into our public engagement project, the Egg and Sperm Race, was finally paying off.  Still, the pedant in me couldn't help pointing out, “Actually, it's not just a vagina, it's the whole female reproductive tract.”

The project started 10 months earlier, shortly after Vicky Young and I started our PhDs at the Centre for Reproductive Health. We both feel that public engagement is important for giving something back to the people who fund us through taxes or charities, so we plotted a way to reach people who don’t usually go to public engagement events. Although I have to admit, part of our motivation was to get into music festivals for free. Read more »