Science

It’s electrifying: Nikola Tesla in his lab, 1901

Poetry, animals, perms and Bovril are all part of the sparky history of electricity

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Poetry, animals, perms and Bovril are all part of the sparky history of electricity, writes Richard Holmes

Rod Taylor works his invention in a film version of HG. Wells’s The Time Machine

Cheating death by time travel

11 February 2017 9:00 am

The concept of time travel is surprisingly recent, says Jenny Colgan. Before H.G. Wells, it barely existed

Siri Hustvedt’s thoughts on art, science and the human condition

21 January 2017 9:00 am

This past autumn has felt more uncomfortable than usual to be a woman looking at men looking at women. From…

Unprecedentedly odd: BBC1’s The Entire Universe reviewed

31 December 2016 9:00 am

As you’ve probably noticed, TV critics spend a lot of their time trying to identify which other programmes the one…

The secret of the universe in 250 pages

19 November 2016 9:00 am

A few years ago, in Berne, I visited the apartment where Einstein wrote his theory of special relativity, which changed…

How many scientific papers just aren’t true?

29 October 2016 9:00 am

Too much government policy is based on research that simply hasn’t been tested

Gender Medicine

Why women should be treated differently to men

15 October 2016 9:00 am

When I started this book, I have to admit, I did not think it would be as absolutely fascinating as…

The best way to start on Enlightenment philosophy

10 September 2016 9:00 am

The flour is what matters, and not the mill, Georg Christoph Lichtenberg wrote in his notebook in 1799. ‘When we…

Conceptual image of Lactobacillus acidolphus that occurs naturally in the gastrointestinal tract and mouth

Want to feel better? Be kind to your bugs

27 August 2016 9:00 am

There are more bacteria in your gut than there are stars in our galaxy. Ed Yong’s book explaining their possibilities is as wondrous as a sacred text, says Kate Womersley

Astonishing splashes of colour: historiated initial from a gradual, Entry into Jerusalem (c.1410–20), by Cristoforo Cortese

From purple goats to monkeys bottoms – the joy of medieval manuscripts

30 July 2016 9:00 am

From purple goats to monkeys’ bottoms, Laura Freeman on the delights of medieval manuscripts

The content was clearly a secondary consideration: Brian Cox’s Forces of Nature reviewed

9 July 2016 9:00 am

Pop idol turned top boffin Brian Cox doesn’t shy away from the big issues. With programmes such as Wonders of…

Brexit: reasons to be cheerful

2 July 2016 9:00 am

A symposium on the benefits of Brexit

The slow death of environmentalism

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Would you describe yourself as an ‘environmentalist’? I would, mainly to annoy greenies, but also because it’s true. If your…

A butterfly-powered parachute gently ridicules the French obsession with flight in the late 18th century, illustrated in Gaston Tissandier’s Histoire des ballons et des aéronautes célèbres: 1783–1800

Steve Jones’s chaotic theory of history

7 May 2016 9:00 am

‘They fuck you up, your mum and dad.’ Philip Larkin’s most famous line has appeared in the Spectator repeatedly, and…

‘Cassava with White Peacock Butterfly and young Golden Tegu’, 1702–3, by Maria Merian

The 17th century painter who hacked her way through Suriname in search of insects

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Maria Sibylla Merian was a game old bird of entrepreneurial bent, with an overwhelming obsession with insects. Born in Frankfurt…

Why Joan Bakewell must be right about anorexia

19 March 2016 9:00 am

You can always tell when a public figure has said something with the ring of truth about it by the…

Thin air and frayed tempers

13 February 2016 9:00 am

Born in New South Wales in 1888, George Finch climbed Mount Canobolas as a boy, unleashing, in the thin air,…

Humboldt talks to one of the indigenous people in Turbaco (today’s Columbia) en route to Bogotá.

Alexander Humboldt: a great explorer rediscovered

6 February 2016 9:00 am

The Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt was once the most famous man in Europe bar Napoleon. And if you judge…

‘If ever there was a Renaissance Man, John Dee was it’: from ‘The Order of the Inspirati’, 1659

John Dee thought he could talk to angels using medieval computer technology

16 January 2016 9:00 am

John Dee liked to talk to spirits but he was no loony witch, says Christopher Howse

The Jodrell Bank Observatory (Photo: Getty)

You can’t forget what Will Self says - even if you wish you could

28 November 2015 9:00 am

It lasted for just a few seconds but was such a graphic illustration of the statistics behind the bombing campaign…

Judy Garland as Esther Smith in Meet Me in St Louis (1944)

How Technicolor conquered cinema

14 November 2015 9:00 am

Peter Hoskin celebrates Technicolor’s 100th birthday

John Paul Stapp: the fastest man on earth, who saved millions

14 November 2015 9:00 am

There’s a moment in Craig Ryan’s spectacular biography of John Paul Stapp — the maverick American Air Force doctor who,…

Dreaming of bringing your favourite pet back to life? Soon it could be reality

14 November 2015 9:00 am

The super-rich are already bringing beloved dogs and horses back to life. Soon the rest of us will be able to do it too

Playing it cool: Nicole Kidman as Rosalind Franklin

Nicole Kidman is upstaged by everyone - even the set: Photograph 51 at the Noel Coward reviewed

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Michael Grandage’s latest show is about an old snap. Geneticists regard the X-ray of the hydrated ‘B’ form of DNA…

Why I’m sick of slippery-slope arguments

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Good laws and valuable scientific discoveries are being blocked with the laziest argument in the book