Photo: Alex Indigo/Flickr

Scientists in live public discussion today about what ‘natural’ really means

We've all seen it. Whether it's on labels in supermarkets or in adverts on our TVs, the word 'natural' is often used to sell products. Foods may be 'naturallly' farmed or contain only 'natural' colours and flavours. Or you may have used a 'natural' remedy to help you recover from an illness. But why do products sold in…Read more Scientists in live public discussion today about what ‘natural’ really means

Photo: Skånska Matupplevelser/Flickr.

EU’s rules on genetically improved crops a ‘threat’ to developments in agriculture, say MPs

A report out today is calling for the equivalent of Nice – the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence – for developments in crop technologies. The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee also says the government should encourage more public debate around developments in crop technologies It recommends forming a ‘citizens council’ for…Read more EU’s rules on genetically improved crops a ‘threat’ to developments in agriculture, say MPs

Christmas plants around the world

Several plant species are associated with Christmas in the UK – from holly and ivy to poinsettias and conifers. But many other plants symbolise Christmas worldwide. Here, Javier Galdon-Armero, Amelia Frizell-Armitage and Mabon Elis showcase eight of them. Oak (badnjak), Serbia Botanical name: Several species in the genus Quercus. Geographical distribution: Present all over the northern hemisphere, and obviously…Read more Christmas plants around the world

7 last minute Christmas gift ideas for scientists

Don't know what to give to the scientist in your life this Christmas? Have a look at these seven ideas. 1 Made-to-order plasmid watercolours (£19.66 from Etsy) Science and art often converge – whether it’s the way we share our data or the use of science as the subject of artwork. Sandra Culliton makes watercolour paintings of…Read more 7 last minute Christmas gift ideas for scientists

Are you a typical biologist?

The market research company YouGov has released a new tool for profiling users of brands and services. The web-based app, called the YouGov Profiler, shows the "quintessential member" of each group – readers of particular newspapers, for example. The app also profiles people based on their interests in particular subjects. Let's assume, then, that the common interest…Read more Are you a typical biologist?

European Commission scraps Chief Scientific Adviser role

This week has been an exciting one for European science, with the European Space Agency’s Philae lander making what appears to have been a successful landing on Comet 67P. But the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker chose this moment of celebration to make a disappointing announcement. The role of the Chief Scientific Adviser…Read more European Commission scraps Chief Scientific Adviser role

Standing Up for Science media workshop

How do scientists get their research into the media? How do journalists find the best science stories and report them accurately? What do you do when a companies or politicians make outlandish claims without evidence? These were some of the questions asked in the Standing up for Science media workshop I attended this month. Run…Read more Standing Up for Science media workshop

Dodgy sausages and the dangers of owning a cat: the 2014 Ig Nobel prizes

The Ig Nobel prizes, which celebrate "research that first makes people laugh, and then makes them think", were awarded in a ceremony at Harvard University last week. 2014 marks the 24th time the prizes have been given. Past rewards have included a bra that doubles as a protective face mask and work on finding the…Read more Dodgy sausages and the dangers of owning a cat: the 2014 Ig Nobel prizes

Two replacements for ‘Two Brains’ Willetts in reshuffle

Michael Gove’s surprise departure from the Department for Education has dominated this week’s headlines following David Cameron’s reshuffle on Tuesday. But another surprise this week was that the Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has resigned. While the reaction to Gove’s demotion was polarised, the scientific community’s response to the news of Willetts’ departure was in overwhelming…Read more Two replacements for ‘Two Brains’ Willetts in reshuffle