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Crystallography: from a handheld experiment in 1912 to the size of many football fields today. Diamond Light Source

Explainer: what is X-ray crystallography?

Around 100 years ago a father and his son in north England conducted an experiment that would revolutionise the way scientists study molecules. A refined version of their method still remains one of the…
Stars in our eyes Ben Terrett

What art can learn from science about awarding greatness

It’s that season, and the award shows have begun, culminating for many in the Oscars. There are, as always, heavy favourites, films nominated numerous times, shows, musicians and actors. But one has to…
Science needs a revolution: it’s time to rise and act. Eric Risberg/AP

How to break free from the stifling grip of luxury journals

Last week was the most memorable week of my scientific career. Accompanied by family, friends and colleagues, I was honoured with the award of a Nobel Prize in an unforgettable ceremony and banquet. That…
China: “No, thanks. We don’t want a Nobel peace prize.” andreasl

China isn’t creative enough to win a science Nobel

“China is at the forefront of medicine and hi-tech and computing.” So said UK Chancellor George Osborne, who recently visited the country. Global tests for 15-year-olds show the youth of Shanghai are comfortably…
A dangerous, dirty job - but someone has to do it. EPA/Moadamiyeh Media Centre

OPCW deserves Nobel for long fight against chemical weapons

The abduction, in northern Syria, of seven Red Cross workers is a stark reminder of how dangerous it is to work in that war-torn country, even for such an internationally recognised humanitarian organisation…
MIssion: OPCW seeks the elimination of chemical weapons globally. EPA/Moadamiyeh Media Centre

Nobel prize overplays OPCW role in global peace struggle

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the second international organisation to win in two years following the European Union. Alone…
Spelling out the end? Claudia Marcelloni/CERN

Could the Higgs Nobel be the end of particle physics?

The 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to François Englert and Peter Higgs for their work that explains why subatomic particles have mass. They predicted the existence of the Higgs boson, a fundamental…
The Nobel Prize is not scratch-proof. aktivioslo

The not-so-noble past of the Nobel Prizes

When physicist Richard Feynman was asked which now-deceased person from history he would most like to speak with, and what he would say, he said: “My father. I would tell him that I won the Nobel Prize…
Many proteins make up the G protein-coupled receptor family, including the κ-opioid receptor (above). Wikimedia Commons

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Chemistry – what are G protein-coupled receptors?

Two US scientists have been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovering the receptors that transmit signals such as light, taste or smell to cells. Robert Lefkowitz (of Duke University…
Can you play a quantum game of tennis with just one court and one ball? Javmorcas

The 2012 Nobel Prize in Physics, explained

You may have heard that this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Serge Haroche (from College de France) and David J. Wineland (from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology…
Elinor Ostrom, the only woman to have won a Nobel prize for economics, was most famous for challenging the idea of the “tragedy of the commons”: that in the absence of government intervention, people will overuse shared resources. acschweigert

The grand philosopher of the Commons: in memory of Elinor Ostrom

The grand philosopher of the Commons, Elinor Ostrom, passed away on the 12th June 2012. She was a brilliant, creative polymath; a theoretician of fine precision and great intellectual power; a deviser…
Nobel Prize in Economics winners Christopher Sims and Thomas Sargent: in the neoclassic mold. AAP

Why does neoclassical thinking still dominate economics?

The Sveriges Riksbank’s Prize in Economic Sciences - or the Nobel prize in economics - awarded last week to Thomas Sargent and Christopher Sims- implicitly claims that economics is a science. But how accurate…
Ezio Rizzardo (left) and David Solomon won the prize for the invention of smart polymers. Prime Minister's Science Prizes/Bearcage

Smart plastic inventors win PM’s science prize

Two Australian chemists have won the 2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science for the invention of “smart plastic” technology…

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