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Henrietta Lacks: An Ordinary Woman with an Extraordinary Story

Henrietta Lacks was born on August 1st 1920, the ninth child in a poor black family of tobacco farmers in Virginia, USA. At the age of 30, Henrietta developed extremely aggressive cervical cancer. During her treatment she unknowingly donated her cancer cells, which are still growing to this day in laboratories worldwide. Henrietta never knew, … More


GISTers Debbie Nicol, Emilie Steinmark, Barry Robertson and Timothy Revell discuss some weird and wonderful science from Glasgow and the wider world. They start by looking at (and playing with) the new Lego Research Institute collection, followed by discussing the Haber process and how it has meant we can feed 7 billion people. They also … More


Magpies Don’t Favour Shiny Objects

Magpies like to steal shiny, metallic objects to make their nests, right? That’s how the age-old story goes. Rossini even penned an opera on the subject. The birds, part of the crow family, are often celebrated for their intelligence. Magpies are capable of storing food over winter and remembering its location, even remembering which other … More


Hello Potential GISTer!

There are many different ways to get involved with theGIST: writing, editing, artwork, podcasts, website, administration, videos, etc. Find out More



Mind Games

Apps like Lumosity, Memory Trainer or Brainmetrix all promise to provide more or less the same things: scientifically designed games which lead to better memory, increased intelligence, attention span and problem solving abilities, as well as prevention of neurodegenerative illnesses. Such websites are filled with testimonies of satisfied customers and confident researchers, but the average … More


Years of Living Dangerously, episode 1: A review of the celebrity documentary taking on climate change

From the people behind Terminator and Titanic, starring Matt Damon, Jessica Alba and Indiana Jones, this summer’s most intense thriller – a story of heartbreak, wildfire and political corruption: Climate Change. People don’t listen to scientists. This has to be the conclusion when after years of the scientific community reporting, almost entirely unanimously, on the … More


Defusing the neurology time bomb- A new gene therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) – familiar to many because of the philanthropic efforts of the Michael J Fox Foundation – is a pernicious neurological disease that affects 1% of people over 60 . The financial burden on the NHS is estimated to be between £449 million and a staggering £3.3 billion per year , yet the … More


Quantum Pigeonholes

Here’s a simple idea: You have three pigeons and only two pigeonholes. If you put the pigeons in the pigeonholes you’ll end up with at least one hole that contains two pigeons. Right? Now let’s consider quantum particles. What if you have three quantum particles and two boxes and you try the same thing? Well, … More


Concussion Crisis

With Glasgow playing host to a major upset in rugby sevens and Commonwealth Games history, we would hope that such a spectacle would increase participation in sports not so often in the public eye. But when it comes to high contact games such as rugby, great care must be exercised to ensure the well-being of … More


The Righteous Drug Smugglers

Of all the challenges facing the pharmaceutical treatment of brain diseases, the most fundamental is also one of the most difficult: getting drugs into the brain. Our brain comes with its own bouncer, the blood-brain barrier (BBB), so if your miracle drug is wearing the wrong shoes, chances are it won’t be let in. In … More


Podcasts Are Back (Pilot 2.0)

The podcasts are back. After silence on the airwaves for over a year, we’ve finally recorded a new podcast. Though many of the voices are new, the theme is the same: science! Join the GISTers to discuss a rocks, hydro-gels, concussions and a curious turtle tail. 4. The Return of theGIST Podcasts (Pilot 2.0) by … More


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