Archive by category | Society

The deck stacked against women in science


The player on my left has the biochemist Maud Menten’s career well on track. Suddenly another player slaps a “stupid patriarchy” card on Menten’s head, and she has to earn her doctorate all over again. So goes a novel card game devoted to women in science and engineering, designed to highlight these unsung researchers and the barriers and boons that women in these fields experience.  Read more

Bricks + Mortals: mapping the racist roots of science

Subhadra Das,xxx

If walls could speak: the saying might have been tailor-made for University College London’s new exhibition. Bricks + Mortals uses the campus buildings to tell the story of how eugenics gained a foothold at the university over a century ago. The epicentre, a lab for “national eugenics”, was set up in the early 1900s by Francis Galton, the Victorian mathematician and ‘father of eugenics’ whose crude bolting of statistics to human variety marks a nadir of modern science. Several UCL buildings and lecture theatres still bear the names of eugenicists.  Read more

Superbugs: fighting the flood of antimicrobial resistance

View of the monumental 'wall' and xxx at the exhibition.

Antimicrobial resistance has spread to London this month. The source of the outbreak? The Science Museum: its new exhibition, Superbugs, explores this monumental issue and our responses to it.  Read more

Women in Medicine: opening the clinic door

Asha Kasliwal, xxx, holds portrait of xxx in the Women in Medicine exhibition at the xxx.

Visitors stepping into the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in London are normally greeted by the sombre stares of imposing men, in portraits lining the walls. From today, women outshine them, in 26 photographic portraits of modern female clinicians ranged along the central stairwell. Each holds an image of a historical figure who inspired them.  Read more

Graphic window on a refugee scientist

Graphic window on a refugee scientist

Graphic artist Erik Nelson Rodriguez is an innovative comics journalist. With reporter Darryl Holliday, he began creating nonfiction stories in graphic-novel form at university, covering issues such as gun violence. In 2016, US National Public Radio (NPR) invited Rodriguez to collaborate on an account of Syrian refugee Nedal Said: a trained microbiologist and teacher, Said fled the war in 2013 and is now a researcher in Leipzig. The result, The Scientist Who Escaped Aleppo, is part of NPR’s special series on refugee scientists: a testament to the ordeals endured, and the extraordinary potential offered, by the refugee community.  Read more

Double Shift: schooling Syria’s child refugees


Imagine this. You’re 12 years old. Half your family has been killed in conflict, and you find yourself in a country where every other word is a mystery. You’re desperate for stability — not least, school enrolment.  Read more

An immortal life: Henrietta Lacks on film

An immortal life: Henrietta Lacks on film

The idea that people should have a say over how their cells are used in research isn’t revolutionary, but it flies in the face of research practices over the past century. That it nearly became law is due in no small part to Rebecca Skloot’s 2010 bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the story of the African-American woman living in Baltimore, Maryland, whose fatal tumour – taken by scientists at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1951 without the knowledge or permission of Lacks or her family — gave rise to the first immortal human cell line, HeLa.  Read more

Imaging exodus: a thermographic lens on refugees


Like war photography, images of the refugee crisis can elicit a disorienting mix of empathy and disbelief. Photographer Nilüfer Demir’s 2015 image of lifeless toddler Alan Kurdi, face down on a Turkish beach, is a case in point. Now film installation Incoming at London’s Barbican, by Irish photographer Richard Mosse, offers an original, unsettling perspective on the crisis.  Read more