What happens to us when we dream?

17th November 2013

'The Dream' by Henri Rousseau.

We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, and much of that time dreaming, yet we still don't know why this happens. Almost all animals are thought to sleep. In complex animals, sleep can be defined as a state of reversible unconsciousness, illustrated by a change in brain wave patterns and eye movements. »

A Brief History of CERN

30th July 2013

Simulated image of the Higgs boson decaying.

Before construction began on the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in 1954, the atom was known to be composed of electrons (an elementary particle, and a type of lepton), and a nucleus containing neutrons and protons (which are hadrons, particles now known to be made of smaller particles called quarks and gluons), and all of these particles were thought to have an antimatter partner. »

Women in Science

12th May 2013

Photograph of women working at Harvard College Observatory in the 1890s.

Women are massively under-represented in physics and other STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects at all levels. A report by the Institute of Physics, using data from 2011, showed that 46% of schools in the UK had no girls continue to study physics after the age of 16. »

A Brief History of Life on Earth

17th March 2013

Photograph of a dandelion.

We still don't know how life came into existence on Earth, although all life forms are built from amino acids, which can arise naturally. The first life consisted of prokaryotes, simple cells that may have evolved about 3.8 billion years ago, within a billion years of the formation of the Earth. »

A Brief History of X-ray Astronomy

7th October 2012

Photograph of a supernova remnant.

This year marks 50 years since the first X-ray source was discovered outside of the Solar System. This began a race to map the X-ray sky, leading to the discovery of the most extreme objects in the universe. »

Want to go to Mars? Applications opening soon

27th June 2012

Artist's impression of the Mars One settlement

Earlier this year, Dutch engineer Bas Lansdorp and Dutch physicist Arno Wielders announced that their company, Mars One, will put four people on Mars by 2023. The catch is that they will have no way to come home. »

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