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How the stick insect sticks (and unsticks) itself

Geckos, tree frogs, spiders and insects all share a special skill – they can walk up vertical surfaces and even upside down using adhesive pads on their feet. But geckos have ‘dry’ feet, while insects...

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Young male chimpanzees play more than females with objects, but do not become...

New research shows a difference between the sexes in immature chimpanzees when it comes to preparing for adulthood by practising object manipulation – considered ‘preparation’ for tool use in later...

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A world of science

The year was 1789; the place Bengal. Isaac Newton’s masterpiece Principia
 Mathematica was being translated for only the third time in its already 100-year-old history; this time, into Arabic. The...

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The public must speak up about gene editing – beyond embryo modification

Researchers led by the Francis Crick institute recently applied to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a licence to genetically modify human embryos. The research would use the genome...

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Ancient genome from Africa sequenced for the first time

The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as...

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A whole host of options

Professor Lalita Ramakrishnan is, it’s fair to say, a world authority on the biology of TB. She studies the disease – one which most people will know of as a disease of the lungs – using what at first...

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‘Hectoring, strident and bossy’: Thatcher papers for 1985 reveal plans to...

Held by the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, 43,000 pages of papers will be opened to the public from Monday, revealing in close detail the concerns, challenges and crises faced by...

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Cambridge alumnus awarded Nobel economics prize

Professor Deaton from Princeton University, USA, has received the prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare". The consumption of goods and...

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On the eve of the Booker Prize: a sideways look at the literary puff

The announcement of the Booker Prize winner (this year on 13 October) is a significant event in the literary world. A panel of judges, headed by a respected literary critic, sifts a list of notable...

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How hallucinations emerge from trying to make sense of an ambiguous world

A bewildering and often very frightening experience in some mental illnesses is psychosis – a loss of contact with external reality. This often results in a difficulty in making sense of the world,...

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'Extreme Sleepover #16'– the mystery of a damp bed and other tales

As I drive with Parubai to meet the rest of her family in Pune district, I spot in my rear mirror a motorbike following us. I slow down, wondering if it is someone I know. The rider, a man in his...

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Tempting fate: how to get a head in embryo development

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz is interested in our fate: not in an existential sense, but rather in the fate of cells at the earliest stages of life. “We look at how cells decide their fate,” she...

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Meteorite impact turns silica into stishovite in a billionth of a second

The Barringer meteor crater is an iconic Arizona landmark, more than 1km wide and 170 metres deep, left behind by a massive 300,000 tonne meteorite that hit Earth 50,000 years ago with a force...

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By Endurance We Conquer: Shackleton and his Men

By Endurance We Conquer: Shackleton and his Men draws on the world’s largest and pre-eminent collection of Shackleton and Endurance artefacts and archives, held in Cambridge, and is the major...

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The war that fed itself - and the hollow democracy it left behind

The voices of ordinary people who lived through Angola’s devastating, 27-year civil war have been captured in a damning study that reassesses both how the conflict happened, and the nature of the...

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New insights into the dynamics of past climate change

A new study of the relationship between ocean currents and climate change has found that they are tightly linked, and that changes in the polar regions can affect the ocean and climate on the opposite...

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T is for Tasmanian Devil

In 1996 a wildlife photographer working in a remote part of Tasmania noticed a ‘Tassie devil’ (the affectionate name for the Tasmanian devil) with a tumour on its face. He assumed that the animal’s...

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Using experts ‘inexpertly’ leads to policy failure, warn researchers

The accuracy and reliability of expert advice is often compromised by “cognitive frailties”, and needs to be interrogated with the same tenacity as research data to avoid weak and ill-informed policy,...

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A touch of frugal genius

Indian languages have no word for innovation. But India has 
jugaad. It means finding practical solutions, being enterprising with resources, and learning from the principles of flexibility and...

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University of Cambridge to launch major fundraising campaign

The campaign for the University and Colleges of Cambridge will focus on the University’s impact on the world. Cambridge will be working with philanthropists to address major global problems. Through...

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