Archive by category | Computer science

Hidden Figures: the movie


High-profile protests dominated the media during the civil rights era in 1960s America. At NASA, a quieter struggle was already underway. From the 1940s, African-American women had been chipping away at perceptions and making incursions into the early space programme — that otherwise very white, male world.  Read more

Crowdfunding an online tree of life

The fully revised, reissued edition of the 2004 classic by Richard Dawkins and Yan Wong.

Putting all living things, from kingdom to species level, onto a single, easy-to-explore ‘tree of life’ is an ambitious project. But a newly formed charity has just gone a long way towards that by releasing the website To crowdfund the new ‘OneZoom’ tree, biodiversity theorist James Rosindell and evolutionary biologist Yan Wong are asking the public to sponsor their favourite animals and plants. Here Rosindell and Wong talk about OneZoom, and why graphics from it have made their way into a fully revised edition of The Ancestor’s Tale – the 2004 classic Wong co-authored with Richard Dawkins.  Read more

Neuroscience-tinged kids’ app put to the test

Neuroscience-tinged kids' app put to the test

I have two criteria for a game app for my daughter: it must assuage my guilty conscience when I’m not able to play with her, and contain no ads. Ideally I would want her to learn calculus while we wait at the airport security line (or to discover that lingering boredom can lead to creativity and observation). Realistically, I at least want her to learn something useful.  Read more

The operatic Turing

Alan Turing in 1951.

Music and language are codes. And Sentences, a new 30-minute work for chamber orchestra and voice by eclectic New York-based composer Nico Muhly, is a moving dialogue on abstraction and emotion in the life of British mathematician and wartime code-breaker Alan Turing. Turing is often portrayed as a binary individual – celebrated wartime hero and troubled genius, thought to have taken his own life in 1954. Even the title has a double meaning. Turing was sentenced to chemical castration in 1952 when homosexuality was illegal in the UK (he was posthumously ‘pardoned’ in 2013).  Read more