All posts in "Science & technology"

#1043 Britain’s first woman Nobel Prize winner

By Cathryn Wellner / June 29, 2014

Fifty years ago Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in chemistry, yet most people have never heard of her. Hodgkin was one of the founders of protein crystallography. Thanks to her research, we know the structure of such things as penicillin, insulin, cholesterol and vitamin B12. Her colleague and fellow Nobel laureate […]


#1004 Vertical gardens of the Musée du quai Branly

By Cathryn Wellner / May 4, 2014

Vertical gardens are appearing around the globe. The one at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris is extraordinary. Except for its windows, every inch of its facade is covered with a riot of plants, clinging as if by magic to the straight expanse. Patrick Blanc is the creative botanist who built it. He has […]


#994 Not your ordinary microscope or ordinary thinking

By Cathryn Wellner / April 6, 2014

You can stomp on this microscope, put it through a washing machine, or stick it in an envelope. The Foldscope looks like a colourful piece of paper with punch-out bits. The components cost less than a dollar but magnify up to 2,000 times at high resolution. Because it is so inexpensive to produce, Foldscopes can […]


#990 Eric Whitacre lays song lines around the globe

By Cathryn Wellner / April 2, 2014

Shivers on a warm day. I have just been watching Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 4, Fly to Paradise. This time the production is animated. The 5,905 singers from 101 countries appear in the windows of skyscrapers, while the young heroine gathers the courage to spread her wings and fly. The music lifts my spirits as […]


#989 The wizard of plastic recycling

By Cathryn Wellner / April 1, 2014

Ingenuity and dismay are the driving forces behind an invention that is turning plastic into oil. Recycling plastic will never be enough. We have to reduce. But that is much easier said than done, which is why we need people like Akinori Ito and companies like Blest Corporation. In a video on the United Nations […]


#985 Dan Dolderman’s Unstoppable Snowball

By Cathryn Wellner / March 28, 2014

Dan Dolderman started his TEDxUofT (University of Toronto) talk with a story he says broke his heart. His daughter was filling containers with snow. When he asked her what she was going to do with the snow, she said: “I’m putting it in the freezer. This summer I’m going to mail it to the Arctic […]

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