Once again, we are happy to offer you a wide range of articles written by teachers, scientists and others from nine different countries.
Could spider silk be the answer to medical and military challenges? Giovanna Cicognani from the Institut Laue-Langevin and Montserrat Capellas from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, France, investigate Christian Riekel and Tilo Seydel’s research into this remarkable material.
Alexandre Lewalle from King’s College, London, UK, pushes back the frontiers of our knowledge of motors – at the molecular level.
Science and science fiction are the basis of many popular films. Rafael Reyeros from the CISCI project describes the launch of this Internet database to help teachers use film clips to illustrate, discuss and debate science in their lessons.
Is it acceptable to use human embryonic stem cells in research? What about live animals? Professor Nadia Rosenthal, head of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Monterotondo, Italy, talks to Russ Hodge about the ethics of her research.
The success of an academic discipline has a lot to do with the attractiveness of its founding ideas and discoveries. These in turn reach the next generation of practitioners through textbooks.
In this autobiographical book, Maurice Wilkins presents the chronological story of the discovery of DNA structure in 1953. As The Third Man of the Double Helix, Wilkins is well placed to describe the complex scientific background and people involved in the breakthrough that earned him and fellow scientists Francis Crick and James Watson the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Rhythms of Life is a successful attempt to present what is currently known about time cycles in living creatures. It is a book about biological clocks, that is, the biological mechanisms that enable all organisms from bacteria to worms, plants, birds and mammals, including humans, to ‘tell’ the time. This extraordinary ability in organisms allows the exhibition of rhythmic behaviour that can be presented in cycles of a single day (circadian) or longer than one day (infradian).
Eva Amsen considers the pros and cons of science fairs, and offers tips for how teachers can get involved – or even organise their own science fair.
Ever wanted to take a closer look at the stars? Rachel Dodds from the Faulkes Telescope Project explains how you can do just that – together with your students and without even leaving your classroom!
Teaching science in the classroom is all very well, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to let your students learn for themselves what it’s really like to work in a research laboratory? Sooike Stoops from the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Belgium, describes a project that does just that!
Did witches once soar through the night sky on broomsticks? Or were they hallucinating after eating or touching certain plants? Angelika Börsch-Haubold explains how modern pharmacology helps us to understand the action of many toxic plants – some of which are still used in medicine.
We are relative newcomers on Earth and still have a lot to learn. Julian Vincent from the University of Bath, UK, investigates some of the lessons we can learn from the living world.
Henri Boffin and Douglas Pierce-Price from ESO, in Garching, Germany, investigate our celestial ancestry.
Linda Sellou, a French PhD student at Bristol University, UK, tells Sai Pathmanathan, a science education journalist, what she thought of her school science and what she’s up to now…
Why are enzymes so special? How do they differ from inorganic catalysts? Isabella Marini from the University of Pisa, Italy, describes a classroom protocol to enable students to answer these questions for themselves.
Karen Smith from NEF, the New Economics Foundation, London, UK, describes an approach to creating a safe space where students can discuss sensitive topics, like stem-cell research or genetically modified food. How can students be encouraged to explore their values in relation to science topics, and to debate the ethics of science itself?
Take a CD and a cereal box, and what do you have? With a little help from Mark Tiele Westra, your very own spectrometer! Time to explore the delights of colour, hidden in the most prosaic of objects.