3D printing with atoms: Laboratory life

There is a long tradition of social scientists observing and analysing laboratory life. The most seminal book that has emerged from this tradition is probably Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar’s 1979 Laboratory Life: The social construction of scientific facts (they changed the subtitle in 1986 to ‘the construction of scientific facts, as they became aware …

The mystery of the missing Martians

When the present is depressing and the future uncertain, it is sometimes nice to retreat to the past, especially to past futures. I recently tried to distract myself from the present by staring at Venus, Moon and Mars illuminating the evening sky. I then led my eyes wander around the internet and I inadvertently came …

Molecular machines

As the BBC reported today: “The 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded for the development of the world’s smallest machines. Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa will share the 8m kronor (£727,000) prize for the design and synthesis of machines on a molecular scale. They were named at a press conference …

Camille Flammarion: Making science popular

Life on this planet is currently crazy, chaotic and confusing. In this context, I was thinking – wouldn’t it be nice to be able to poke one’s head out of the earthly firmament and look at the heavens beyond. This thought popped into my head because I had once seen an image depicting something like …

Images of the cell in art and science: An update

This is a Guest POST by Maura C. Flannery, Professor of Biology, St. John’s University, NY, reflecting on, what one may call ‘making cells public’ and the interactions between art and science in this process. The blog is related to an images and visualisation project funded by the European Science Foundation, rather than to the …

Jules Verne: Making science visual

On Christmas Eve I had a chance encounter on twitter and the result is this blog post, or rather: essay. Richard Ashcroft had retweeted a tweet about a book by Adam Roberts. The book retells Jules Verne’s story of Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea and contains new illustrations by Mahendra Singh. I have now …

Making science public: A question of colour

Yesterday I was staring at a poster of the periodic table hanging on our kitchen door, a remnant of my son’s school days. I began to muse; imagine it was just a black and white series of elements and numbers, as it was when it was first invented? Who decided to colour it in, and …