Is Betelgeuse A Cannibal Star?

A day or two ago I came across this article ...

Rocket salad, enantiomers, and nomenclature

Yet another article in the Telegraph: this time Supermarket rocket salad healthier than homegrown...

Muck and Medicine

An article in The Federalist:The Darwinism That Fuels Atheism Actually Favors Religiosity ...

The First Known Deuterostome?

A few days ago I read an article in the Telegraph Humanity’s earliest known ancestor discovered...

User picture.
picture for Hank Campbellpicture for Patrick Lockerbypicture for Hontas Farmerpicture for Sascha Vongehrpicture for Helen Barrattpicture for Kim Wombles
Robert H OlleyRSS Feed of this column.

Until recently, I worked in the Polymer Physics Group of the Physics Department at the University of Reading.

I would describe myself as a Polymer Morphologist. I am not an astronaut,

... Read More »


I have just downloaded a paper featuring some research from the University of Durham and our own School of Biological Sciences here at Reading:

In 1986, an expedition off the South-East coast of Australia near Tasmania, from depths of between 400 and 1,000 metres, brought up some jelly-like creatures, which were seen to be unusual and immediately preserved in ethanol. Now they have been examined, and assigned to a new genus Dendrogramma (from their resemblance to a tree diagram), with two species D. enigmatica and D. discoides.

I’ve often wondered about the Scopes trial, and wanted to read a good account of it.  I was recommended the account by Edward J. Larson in When Science and Christianity Meet, edited by DC Lindberg and RL Numbers (ISBN 0226482162).  .  It’s a very informative book, and wide-ranging too: out of 12 chapters, only one on Galileo and one on Darwin.

A recent article by Nury Vittachi, Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke, received rather a lot of comments.  Among these were a few about the place of women in the world: however these tended to be lost among the welter of other comments.  Indeed, the article seemed to attract a large number of orcs.  Now in some ways I am a highly discriminatory sort of person, and here I am discriminating between trolls

Recently this headline on Real Clear Science caught my eye: Carbon-12 Nucleus Shaped Like Equilateral Triangle.  It led to an article in Physics World, entitled

For some time now in Britain, our “great and good” have been belabouring the more conservative part of our population [1] with accusations of Islamophobia and Homophobia.  The implication of those two epithets is that they are some kind of medical or — by extension — moral pathology.  I will attempt in this short blog to raise the subject of what I consider to be some errors of our “great and good.”