From placenta to play centre

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Remembering the true value of knowledge

Wilhelm Röntgen was a physicist, a man far more interested in understanding the building blocks of our universe than discovering medicines to cure the masses. In 1895, Röntgen performed a series of experiments…

The best Christmas present of all

Christmas rolls around again like a tinselled-covered freight train. Shopping centres sway in unison to the tune of carols, while children test the patience of their parents as the queue slowly contracts…

Prenatal screening and autism

The internet was ablaze last week with the news that health authorities in Western Australia (WA) have given approval for IVF clinics to ‘screen’ embryos to reduce the chances of a couple having a child…

Epidemiology and the media

Science and the media have long been uncomfortable bedfellows. Traditionally, much of the prickliness has come from the side of scientists, who (often unfairly) view ‘the media’ as having a tendency to…

Listen for the birds…

Over the years, it has come to my attention that I’m a bit of a ‘charger’. I don’t mean this in any automotive sense, but rather it refers to my purposeful gait. On occasions where other people may amble…

The paralysis of praise

Recently, a school in Perth, Australia announced that their teachers would be cutting back on praise and rewards for students. Their underlying idea is that over-praising children may not be the best way…

Is a scientific career worth it?

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job is the talks that I am asked to give to graduating university classes and at awards ceremonies. Below is a talk in which I ask the question whether a science…

Swearing at kids in supermarkets

Over the past couple of years I’ve developed quite a crush on the English language. Sure, it may not have rhythm and melody of the Latin-based romance languages. Nor, does it have the elegant preciseness…