You don’t need a PhD in horology to know that there are piles of great popular science books out there and not enough time to read them all. …


Children are always going to find cunning ways to bunk off school, and the latest trick is to fake a positive COVID-19 lateral flow test (LFT) using soft drinks. So how are fruit juices, cola and devious kids fooling the tests and is there a way to tell a fake positive result from a real one? I’ve tried to find out.

First, I thought it best to check the claims, so I cracked open bottles of cola and orange juice, then deposited a few drops directly onto LFTs. Sure enough, a few minutes later, two lines appeared on each test, supposedly indicating the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19.

It’s…


Transitioning to home working had its challenges for us all, but when your job involves researching biological applications for nanotechnology, those trials are a little more complicated than juggling the household’s broadband usage. …


For most of the 20th century, more than 60,000 people died in the US from polio, diphtheria and small pox each year. In 2016, the American death toll from these diseases was zero. Around the globe, two to three million deaths from these diseases and others, including measles, rubella and…


‘Research is the process of going up alleys to see if they are blind’

I came across that quote (from the zoologist Marston Bates) during a particularly low period in my research career, nothing seemed to be working. The days of failed experiments stretched into weeks and then months, with…


Just how long is all of your DNA?

Let’s start with a quick recap. The sequence of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), is famously spelt out in just 4 letters — A T G and C. Each letter represent the repeating ‘bases’; adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine. And the famous DNA double…


Curious Kids is a series by The Conversation, which gives children of all ages the chance to have their questions about the world answered by experts. All questions are welcome: you or an adult can send them — along with your name, age and town or city where you live…


Did you know that the discovery of a way to make ammonia was the single most important reason for the world’s population explosion from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 7 billion today? Or that polythene, the world’s most common plastic, was accidentally invented twice? Nope? …

Mark Lorch

Prof of Science Communication and chemistry & dyslexic writer e.g. http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/ebook/978-1-78262-487-5, https://theconversation.com/

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