Lucky dip

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

Khan Online Academy Change Science Education?

Salman Khan, an MIT and Harvard graduate, had been helping his young cousin Nadia with her maths homework over Yahoo! Messenger, but when they couldn’t be online at the same time he began making video tutorials. To check her understanding, he added software that would generate questions related to the tutorial topic. Only once she could correctly answer 10 problems in a row was she allowed to move on to the next topic. Read more »

Cold Sores Linked to Gene Mutation

Do you suffer from cold sores? Ever wondered why some people do and some don’t? Well, scientists at Edinburgh University have now discovered that a mutation weakening the immune system is to blame. Read more »

Not Exactly - In praise of vagueness

How tall is a tall man? Most of us would say that a height of 1.85m is tall, but what about 1.84m or 1.75m? And what about 1.60m - no, that is definitely short. Where do you draw the line if there is indeed a line to be drawn? Why is ten 'a lot' when we talk about children in a family but 'a few' when we talk about cars in a street?

The problem is that expressions like 'tall', 'short' and 'a few' are vague. In his book, Kees van Deemter explores this attribute of human communication through linguistics, mathematical logic, philosophy, sociology and artificial intelligence and describes the underpinnings of vagueness, its properties and its ubiquitous use.

We learn how words like tall, poor, heavy or blue, that are so difficult to analyse even with the most advanced tools that mathematics can offer, can still be used in everyday situations without causing any trouble for the people who use them. Read more »

Genetic Profiling can Improve Survival of Ovarian Cancer Sufferers

New findings from the University of Edinburgh could help improve survival of ovarian cancer sufferers. The results, presented at a conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago on the 4th of June, show that genetic profiling of patients may be helpful in identifying which drugs will be most effective at treating ovarian cancer. Read more »

Delusions of Gender

As a female scientist I have rarely considered myself one of ‘the weaker sex’, or imagined that the life ahead of me would be a battle against discrimination and oppression. Until now, that is. In Delusions of Gender, psychologist Cordelia Fine sets out to discover the truth about differences between men and women, at times painting a bleak picture of society’s attitude towards gender equality.

Descriptions of carefully constructed 21st century studies are interspersed with amusing quotes from Victorian gentleman scholars, who were concerned about the fate of women’s ovaries should they be allowed the vote. We may have gone through the suffragette movement, and a wave of liberation and bra burning in the 1970s, but how much has society really moved on? Read more »