Avert Your Eyes, Not Your Heart

If the shimmering black guitar in the corner of the stage wasn’t a sign that this was no ordinary scientific debate, the talking blobfish made it abundantly clear. Being a mere mortal, the sight of a four-feet-tall blobfish with its sad clown-like face (if the clown had melted), dribbling what can only be described as … More


What makes us human?

What distinguishes us from the chimpanzee, our closest relative with whom we share 99% of our DNA? Is it possible to define uniquely human features? Dr Amanda Lucas and Dr Lewis Dean gave a very good insight into answering those questions at the Glasgow Science Festival. There are huge technological and social differences between humans … More


Hunting for Answers – When Art and Science Combine

On the 7th and 8th of June, the Hunting for Answers exhibition returned to the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences as part of Glasgow Science Festival’s Strathclyde Science Special after a previous opening as part of Engage Week at the University. The project was set up by Dr Maria Sanchez of the Chamberlain … More


Zombie Science – A pint with the living dead

This year’s Glasgow Science Festival opened with a hilarious blend of comedy and science, centered on zombies, one of the most prevalent fictional demographics of today’s media. Writer, comedian and theoretical zombiologist Dr. Austin is by now renowned for his unique style of communicating science to his unsuspecting audience. As head of the Zombie Institute … More


Catastrophic security flaw ‘Heartbleed’ affects 60% of the World Wide Web’s servers

A bug present for two years in a significant fraction of the web’s servers has potentially exposed sensitive information to everyone and anyone. On April 8th 2014, news started to spread that a critical security flaw had been discovered in software used to secure our connections with online banking, shopping websites, credit card transactions and … More


The History of the Metric System: from the French Revolution to the SI

One of the great under-appreciated stories of our growth in knowledge as a species is that of our development, in modern history, of a standardised mathematical language of measurement: the International System of Units, also known as the SI. Since at least the days of the 19th Century engineer Joseph Whitworth, who introduced some of … More


BICEP Curls: What the recent results mean for inflation, gravitational waves and multiple universes

A few weeks ago, on March 17th 2014, a press conference was called at Harvard University . Rumours flourished briefly, and then an announcement was made to great excitement. The BICEP2 experiment had detected B-mode polarisation in the cosmic microwave background . In response, a very small number of scientists working in a few very … More


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