Sex and gender: Pioneering transgender and genderqueer scientists

Transgender Pride flag

First published on 16th July 2015. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

Many scientists used to think that there are only two genders, male and female, and that a person's gender can be solely determined from their genitals or chromosomes. We now know that this is not the case. While a person's sex can, by definition, be determined from their genitals or chromosomes, gender is much more complex than this. »

Robot Dreams: Artificial neural networks and Google's Deep Dream

Image created using Deep Dream

First published on 7th July 2015. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

In June 2015, a team of software engineers working for Google released images created by programs designed for image recognition software. Image recognition software works by using artificial neural networks, which attempt to mimic neural networks in the brain. Information is input, artificial neurons process the image, and the identification is output. »

Neutron stars and x-ray binaries: The most extreme objects in the universe

Artist's impression of a neutron star with a magnetosphere that extends well beyond the neutron star's radius.

First published on 1st July 2015. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

Neutron stars are some of the most extreme objects in the universe, and so they can be used as ‘natural laboratories' where we can observe matter behaving in ways we could never replicate on Earth. Neutron stars form when massive stars stop fusing matter. »

Gravity, weight, and mass: How to weigh objects in space

Size comparison between the Sun (which is 1 pixel) and a massive star (which is too large to fully fit in the frame).

First published on 10th April 2015. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

Everything with mass produces a gravitational field, which causes things to accelerate towards it. The gravity on the surface of the Earth is about 9.8 ms-2, which is often referred to as 1 g. This is just high enough to keep us from falling off the surface and drifting into space, but low enough to allow us to jump up and down. »

A brief history of comets: From Halley's discovery to the Rosetta landing

Close-up of the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

First published on 28th October 2014. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

Comets have been documented for thousands of years, yet there's still a lot we don't know about them. We don't know what their surface is composed of, how thick their crust is, and how much frozen water is contained beneath. »

From Salvador Dali to Monty Python: Artists inspired by science

Space debris orbiting Earth.

First published on 4th August 2014. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

Scientists often utilise the same tools as artists to record or illustrate their ideas. They may create computer-generated images to use in academic papers, animations to show during presentations, or models to educate the public, and scientific organisations and agencies often employ artists to do this for them. »

Pseudoscience, ethics, and meaning: The relationship between philosophy and science

Map of Earth coloured to indicate the optical thickness of aerosols.

First published on 9th June 2014. Last updated on 5th June 2017 by Dr Helen Klus

Science has a massive impact on everyone. How we teach it, and what we decide to fund, can literally have life and death consequences for millions of people. This means it's vital that everyone has a good understanding of what science is and how it affects them. »

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The Star Garden is a science news and science education website run by Dr Helen Klus.

How we came to know the cosmos covers the history of physics focusing on space and time, light and matter, and the mind. It explains the simple discoveries we made in prehistoric times, and how we built on them, little by little, until the conclusions of modern theories seem inevitable. This is shown in a timeline of the universe.

The Star Garden covers the basics for KS3, KS4, and KS5 science revision including SATs, GCSE science, and A-level physics.