Science

Nick Haslam reviews The Gendered Brain by Gina Rippon

Nick Haslam
25 February 2019

A few intellectually superior women exist, conceded nineteenth-century anthropologist Gustav Le Bon, but ‘they are as exceptional as the birth of any monstrosity, as, for example, of a g More

Paul Humphries reviews 'The Best Australian Science Writing 2018' edited by John Pickrell

Paul Humphries
27 November 2018

I first encountered Stephen Jay Gould when I happened on one of his books in a bookshop during my late teens. Its unusual title, The Panda’s Thumb, caught my eye. The lead artic More

Robyn Williams reviews 'Conjuring the Universe: The origins of the laws of nature' by Peter Atkins

Robyn Williams
27 July 2018

Peter Atkins writes a sentence at the beginning of this bewildering book that seems both preposterous and cheeky: ‘I would like to assert that not much happened at the Creation.’ And t More

The Best Australian Science Writing 2017

Rachael Mead
22 February 2018

It is a common misconception that scientists are not writers. As Professor Emma Johnston states in her foreword, writing is a fundamental part of the scientific process and innumerable vol More

Danielle Clode reviews 'Charles Darwin: Victorian Mythmaker' by A.N. Wilson

Danielle Clode
24 November 2017

Millions of words have been printed by and about Charles Darwin. There are hundreds of biographies, the dozens of books he wrote (including his own autobiography), as well as various pamph More

Nick Haslam reviews 'The Secret Life of The Mind: How our brain thinks, feels, and decides' by Mariano Sigman

Nick Haslam
30 August 2017

Along time ago in a university far, far away, I received an application for graduate study in psychology. The applicant claimed to have no particular orientation to the field, just a broad and open-minded curiosity. In her own words, she was a ‘tabula rosa’: a rose tablet. The student had misrendered John Locke’s famous tabula rasa, the empiricist metaphor of ... More

Robyn Williams reviews 'Radio Astronomer: John Bolton and a new window on the universe' by Peter Robertson

Robyn Williams
30 August 2017

What shocks me, as I consider this important new book, is how completely John Bolton has disappeared from the public mind. Just consider, he pioneered extragalactic radio astronomy, built two superb radio telescopes, was worthy of a Nobel Prize, hired or mentored a generation of top scientists – and was played by Sam Neill in the film The Dish (2000). Nei ... More

Nick Haslam reviews 'A Day in the Life of the Brain: The neuroscience of consciousness from dawn till dusk' by Susan Greenfield

Nick Haslam
29 March 2017

The youthful genre of popular neuroscience enjoys a few advantages that popular psychology, its older sibling, does not. The general public holds neuroscience in higher esteem, more confident in its scientific legitimacy. The concreteness of brain science – its colourful scans, its focus on a kilogram or so of custardy matter rather than a weightless cloud of mind ... More

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

Nick Haslam
20 December 2016

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
30 November 2016

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

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