theGIST Reports: Travels in Lands that Don’t Exist, a Presentation by Professor Iain Stewart

The cliché response to any mention of geology in everyday conversation is, “Rocks and stuff right? Boring!” Unfortunately and unjustly, this is the prejudice and barrier that Professor Iain Stewart must combat constantly as a presenter and academic of geology. Everyone including academics will recognize Prof. Stewart as “that telly presenter,” which even he, himself, … More

Down-sizing to upgrade: How nanomedicine might, eventually, revolutionise cancer treatment

Nanocarriers, often referred to as ‘nanoballoons’ or ‘nanobubbles’, have long been considered the next big thing in cancer treatment. Yet they haven’t delivered the revolutionising results scientists and doctors have hoped for – perhaps until now. A number of recent studies show exciting new insights about how nanocarriers can be used to selectively carry and … More

Operation on the Open Genome

What can genetic modification do for our health? Michaela Mrschtik examines how a novel DNA cutting tool paves the way for futuristic treatments of currently incurable diseases. New ‘DNA scissors’, called CRISPR/Cas or simply CRISPR, have taken the academic world by storm in the past two years. A growing number of studies demonstrate the huge … More

Transpoosions: The World Of Poo Transplants

Doctors, researchers and hospital bureaucrats have long sought a wonder drug; a cheap, readily available treatment for a multitude of conditions. It turns out that such a thing might just exist, and that it might well be poo. It sounds counter-intuitive, perhaps, given the fact that, well, it’s poo, but faecal microbiota transplants (FMT) are … More

The Brain Fog Behind Brain Fag: Mental Health Across the Globe

As a student, this picture may seem familiar: crouched over your coursework, you are struggling to concentrate on anything other than Facebook, never mind make sense of those scribbly black lines that you have produced so far (what does that even mean? how do you spell that again?). With eyes watering from the glaring screen, … More

Part 4: The Current State of Bitcoin and its Future

This article is part of a GIST series on Bitcoin. In part 1, we described the mathematics that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin as well as the security of the web itself. In part 2, we went into more detail as to how Bitcoin works. In part 3, we discussed how Bitcoin attempts to keep … More

You look like you need a nap, Grandma!

Do you often feel sleepy by 10 in the morning? Are you reading this right now and stifling a yawn, even though this is only the second sentence? Well, I’m afraid it’s only about to get worse. Research at the University of Glasgow has been investigating, using animal models, how our sleep changes as we … More

Part 3: The Self-Regulation of the Bitcoin Network

This article is part of a GIST series on Bitcoin. In part 1, we described the mathematics that underpins digital currencies like Bitcoin, as well as the security of the web itself. In part 2, we went into more detail as to how Bitcoin itself works. In this part, we will discuss further solutions to … More

Science Fiction

Science fiction is all about using cinema, TV, books and comics to make the seemingly impossible possible. It may seem ridiculous to believe that in the near future you will be able to enter people’s dreams to steal their secrets or see a fully functional time machine made out of a DeLorean. In fact, the … More

Going Viral

The debate is still hot on whether viruses are alive or not. Like acrobats on a wire, these tiny entities walk the line between living and nonliving – although they are unable to metabolise, they still do an impressive job reproducing and infecting organisms. And they don’t just stop there. Sometimes, out of nowhere, viruses … More

Erdős Best Served Coded

Gigabytes of interesting, insightful data has been released for public viewing. The file contains never-before-seen information, revealing new knowledge to the world. For the first time in a long time, an introduction like this is not a news story about spying governments and Edward Snowden. There’s been a discovery in the world of mathematics, and … More

Hooray for Crystallography

In celebration of the International Year of Crystallography, Debbie Nicol writes about the importance of crystallography and how the technique has helped to shape science.   Recently, I read of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s opening ceremony for the International Year of Crystallography in Chemistry World, the Royal Society of Chemistry’s magazine … More