Science

Nick Haslam reviews 'ADHD Nation: The disorder. The drugs. The inside story.' by Alan Schwarz

Nick Haslam

The spectrum of opinion on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD in the acronym-crazed world of psychiatry – runs from the firiest red to the deepest purple ...

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Ian Gibbins reviews 'The Best Australian Science Writing 2016' edited by Jo Chandler NewSouth

Ian Gibbins

Most scientists are writers. Notwithstanding the distortions induced by the ‘publish or perish’ imperative of funding agencies and academic appointment committees, the publication of original research is fundamental to the scientific process. Depending on the field, a successful scientist may write a hundred or more publications over his or her career. In terms ... More

Nick Haslam reviews 'Ivan Pavlov: A Russian life in science' by Daniel P. Todes

Nick Haslam

Conventional wisdom has it that Ivan Pavlov made dogs salivate to the sound of a bell, discovered the conditioned reflex, and laid the foundations for behaviourism, an austere creed that ruled the mind to be off limits for science. Almost all of this is false. Pavlov’s bell was in fact a sophisticated adjustable buzzer. The ‘conditioned reflex’ is a mistransla ... More

Gary N. Lines reviews 'Rise of the Machines: The lost history of cybernetics' by Thomas Rid

Gary N. Lines

What is the definition of the postmodern concept known as cybernetics? Englishman and mathematician Thomas Rid, a professor in the War Studies department at ...

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Ashley Hay reviews 'In Love with Betty the Crow: The first 40 years of ABC RN's 'The Science Show'' by Robyn Williams

Ashley Hay

When David Attenborough's memoir Life on Air was published in 2002, the magazine I worked for arranged for me to interview him. By then I had been interviewing people for a while and thought myself quite unflusterable. I keyed in the number, listened to the dial tone. And then it was as if the call had been answered by God (interesting, as an atheist). My r ... More

Paul Giles reviews 'The Invention of Nature' by Andrea Wulf

Paul Giles

Alexander von Humboldt, who died in 1859 at the age of eighty-nine, was not only the most famous scientist of his day but also one of the world's best-known figures. He met often with political leaders, from Thomas Jefferson in the new United States to King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, and he expanded outwards from his bases in Paris and Berlin to pursue variou ... More

Danielle Clode reviews 'The Best Australian Science Writing' edited by Bianca Nogrady

Danielle Clode

In 2010, writing in Westerly, Carmel Lawrence despaired about the lack of science writing in the collection of 'best non-fiction' of the year that she had been asked to review. It wasn't, she concluded, for want of material. Science writing had undergone a huge resurgence in popularity at t ... More

Ann Moyal reviews 'The Knowledge Wars' by Peter Doherty

Ann Moyal

'Knowledge', asserts Peter Doherty, quoting Francis Bacon, 'is power'. Since 1996, having demonstrated his outstanding Nobel Prize contribution to the discovery of the nature of cellular immune defence and continuing research on viruses and immunity, this famous medical veterinarian has produced four books to enlighten a general audience on such matters as pandemics ... More

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter reviews 'Graeme Clark' by Mark Worthing

Kevin Orrman-Rossiter

The story of Graeme Clark and the cochlear implant is often seen as the exception to the research trope lauding the brilliance of Australians at basic research but lamenting their ineptness commercialising these opportunities. This book is an adulatory story of Clark’s life.

Clark’s exceptional and driven journey is breathlessly relat ... More

Environmentalists, scientists, and commentators on environmental reform

Wayne Bergmann et al.

To complement the essays, commentaries, reviews, and photographic essay in this issue, we asked a group of leading environmentalists, scientists, commentators, and writers what they regard as the most urgent action needed for environmental reform.

Wayne Bergmann

There is an urgent need for widespread recognition of the interrelationship between the ... More

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