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In pursuit of the Northern Lights

Since the beginning of human history, the elusive Northern Lights have inspired artists and puzzled scientists in equal measure. As we reach the peak of a solar cycle in 2024, chances of witnessing the spellbinding spectacle of the Aurora Borealis dramatically increase. In this article, our Editor-in-Chief, Julia Pasarón, explains why.

Our sun is just a giant ball of electrically-charged gases. As their molecules move, they generate a magnetic field, which follows a certain pattern of activity over time – on average, around 14 years. We know this as a solar cycle, whose peak occurs in the 11th to 12th year. At its highest point, we hit a solar maximum. This moment is marked by the north and south poles of the Sun switching places – when the direction of the magnetic field flips. The process takes a few months to complete, often bringing with it dramatic spikes in solar flares and storms from the corona (the outermost part of the Sun’s atmosphere). Sunspots are an obvious indicator. Their number has increased recently, and is expected to peak throughout 2024 and 2025.


Quantum mechanics

Quantum mechanics (QM) is the study of matter and energy at the microscopic level. QM makes bizarre predictions about how matter works. For example, quantum entanglement occurs when two or more particles become correlated such that measuring the state of one instantaneously affects the state of the other, even if they are separated by vast […]

A physiotherapist’s view on the importance of good posture

With the rise in desk-based jobs and digital dependence, our posture often falls victim to the demands of the workplace. A sedentary lifestyle, prolonged hours hunched over screens and poor sitting positions have led to a significant increase in back and neck problems among working professionals. As an extended-scope practitioner, I am deeply invested in […]

Space travel breaks the champagne barrier

Last year we finally sent “tourists” to space. First, it was Sir Richard Branson with Virgin Galactic, who managed to get to the boundary of space (80km up) and then Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin went even further, to the Kármán line (above 100 kilometres), where astronauts get their wings. We are seeing the first steps […]

Balancing Changing Hormones

From growth and development to sleep patterns, metabolism, mood, and even reproduction, hormones play a key role in how your body looks, feels and functions throughout your lifetime. In fact, while you may already know that hormones fluctuate throughout the day and month for both men and women, many people are surprised to learn that […]

The cryotherapy revolution

Cryotherapy is the use of low temperatures in medical therapy. It is applied to treat a variety of conditions, most commonly to relieve muscle pain, sprains and swelling after soft tissue damage or surgery. For decades, it has been employed to accelerate recovery in athletes post exercise but in the last few years, it is […]

Astronaut Dr Edward Gibson reflects on the future of space exploration.

Edward Gibson was the last man out of Skylab. After 84 days orbiting planet Earth, floating inside the space station (at the time a record duration flight) he closed the hatch, entered the capsule with his crew mates and headed back home. There was no ceremony, no parting goodbye ritual; as far as Gibson and […]

How technology has changed from one Tokyo Games to the next.

When American Bob Hayes crossed the finish line at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, winning gold in the Men’s 100 metres, there were two times measured. One manually by the stewards, one via a fully automatic timing device. Although it was not evident as Hayes celebrated his triumph, in that moment Olympic timing changed forever. […]

The European Space Agency (ESA) looks for new recruits

For the first time in 11 years, ESA is looking for a new astronaut squad. These recruits will work alongside their existing astronauts as Europe enters a new era of space exploration. Established in 1975, the European Space Agency now has 22 Member States and cooperates with many others. Their mission is the peaceful exploration […]

Breaking moulds... and other things

At the tender age of 24, glamorous Ella is literally breaking moulds in the automotive sector as one of the youngest female materials engineers working in the industry, specialised in corrosion science and metallographic fracture analysis. As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) industries ambassador, Ella goes around schools inspiring kids to go down […]

by Anna Reser and Leila McNeill

In a white farmhouse in the small town of Granby, Massachusetts, retired schoolteacher Abbie C. E. Lathrop made herself into a scientist. To make an income, Lathrop had started a business breeding fancy mice and selling them as pets; and in the process, she learned how to breed them for specific genetic traits. A self-taught […]

by Dr Jacqui Gabb

How have your relationships fared this year? As we well know, 2020 has been excellent at turning everything on its head. What better than the total crisis of a global pandemic to give you a newfound sense of perspective on your relationship? Only 63% of people reported that their relationship had stayed much the same […]