Science

David Jones, aged 12, with his chemistry set and, right, as ‘potty prof’ Daedalus

Remembering my brother Daedalus, the potty prof

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Remembering the man behind Daedalus

Shirley Henderson (Elizabeth Laine) and Michael Shaeffer (Reverend Marlowe) in Girl from the North Country

Old Vic's Girl from the North Country is a disaster as entertainment

5 August 2017 9:00 am

Conor McPherson’s new play is set in dust-bowl Minnesota in 1934. We’re in a fly-blown boarding house owned by skint,…

At 350ft tall, Godzilla would collapse under its own weight. But with two giant legs and a tiny body, it would be eminently feasible

What’s the ideal size for a city?

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Trust scientists to ruin all our fun. The spectacularly beautiful 2014 film reboot of Godzilla, it turns out, is anatomically…

Torture porn done with the trite slickness of a Vogue photo shoot: Salomé reviewed

27 May 2017 9:00 am

The Olivier describes Salomé by Yaël Farber as a ‘new’ play. Not quite. It premièred in Washington a couple of…

Not everyone’s dream: the Simpson Desert, Australia

Flatness is far from boring, as Barry Higman demonstrates

1 April 2017 9:00 am

On the website of the Australian National University in Canberra, emeritus professor of history Barry Higman lists his research interests…

What will you do in the gene-editing revolution?

11 March 2017 9:00 am

The only time I ever saw a wolf in the wild, a small one, I was so frightened that I…

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