It’s aliiiiiive….!

Bristol’s ever enterprising Festival of Ideas team have put together a couple of days of talks, theatre and films to mark the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (she visited Bristol, don’t you know). I’m chairing this discussion on ethics, biotech and medicine, largely because I wrote a book about Frankenstein, not quite so long ago. […]

Making laboratory animals, and animal laboratories

Recent books have highlighted the advent of synbio (Adam Rutherford), and the future of animals engineered for our amusement (Emily Anthes – which I’ve yet to read). But lets not forget that there is a long history of science using animals for its own purposes, and fashioning them to suit in lower tech ways. Rom […]

Making modern science – and discarding the old story

I heard a good talk about science this week – good, that is, except when the presenter touched on history. That part was pretty much a caricature of scientists’ typical take on their predecessors. There was stuff in the past we now think is right (good) and stuff we know is wrong (bad). The notion […]

Darwin’s agony: Randal Keynes – Annie’s Box

A popular science biography which gives a superb entree to Darwin and his world and is easier to digest than, say Janet Browne’s (equally superb, but doorstopping) biography. I’ve met Randal Keynes – splendid chap – quite a few times since writing this, and got involved with the Charles Darwin Trust for a while. All of […]