fri 15/12/2017

science

The Farthest: Voyager's Interstellar Journey, BBC Four review - awe-inspiring and life-affirming space odyssey

Long before Barack Obama spoke about the audacity of hope, the Voyager mission left the Earth driven by something else: the audacity of curiosity. What do the outer planets look like? What are they comprised of? And what’s beyond that?Storyville:...

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The Machines of Steven Pippin, The Edge, University of Bath review - technology as poetry

Our universe seems to be in a state of equilibrium, neither collapsing in on itself nor expanding ad infinitum. The metaphor used by physicists to represent the delicate balance of forces needed to maintain this happy state of affairs is a pencil...

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Oliver Sacks: The River of Consciousness review - a luminous final collection of essays

Oliver Sacks was the neurologist – and historian of science, and naturalist – whose exceptionally elegant, clear and accessible prose has captivated that almost mythical creature, the general audience, through more than a dozen books as well as many...

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The 'self-experimenter': Howard Brenton on Strindberg in crisis

I wrote The Blinding Light to try to understand the mental and spiritual crisis that August Strindberg suffered in February 1896. Deeply disturbed, plagued by hallucinations, he holed up in various hotel rooms in Paris, most famously in the Hotel...

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Mosquitoes, National Theatre review - Olivias Colman and Williams dazzle amid dramatic excess

There's enough plot for a dozen plays buzzing its way through Mosquitoes, Lucy Kirkwood's play that uses the backdrop of the Large Hadron Collidor (LHC) to chronicle the multiple collisions within a family. Veering off now and then into discussion...

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Brenda Maddox: Reading the Rocks review - revelations of geology

Reading the Rocks has a provocative subtitle, “How Victorian Geologists Discovered the Secret of Life”, indicating the role of geology in paving the way to an understanding of the evolution of our planet as a changing physical entity that was to...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Minute Bodies - The Intimate World of F Percy Smith

F Percy Smith was a maverick film-maker whose most important work was created in a house in suburban Southgate, North London. Born in Islington in 1880, he joined the Quekett Microscopical Club as a teenager, all the better to pursue a healthy...

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Life of Galileo, Young Vic review - shared-experience Brecht is powerful, timely

Never mind breaking the fourth wall, Joe Wright and the Young Vic have smashed the other three as well. This isn’t simply because their engaging production of Life of Galileo, demonstrating the struggle between science and prevailing authority, is...

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Sunday Book: Henry Marsh - Admissions: A Life in Brain Surgery

Is it true that the blob of jelly resembling convoluted grey matter that we carry around in our skulls is really what we are? And how we are, and why? This is the profound question that is obliquely omnipresent in Henry Marsh’s second book on his...

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Artist Tyler Mallison: 'I don’t think about materials as being merely visible objects or things'

Artist and curator Tyler Mallison has chosen the world’s most generic title for his current exhibition. It's called New Material, and the surprising thing one discovers is that the hackneyed "new" really can be quite fresh. Sculpture and painting...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Creeping Garden

The creative, organisational and intellectual properties of slime mould are outlined in loving detail in Tim Grabham and Jason Sharp’s engaging documentary The Creeping Garden, though even this peculiar organism seems a little colourless when...

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Sunday Book: Daniel Levitin - A Field Guide to Lies and Statistics

Daniel Levitin makes one reference to Donald Trump in this book (to the latter’s claim to have seen on TV “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in Jersey City cheering when the Twin Towers fell) but he couldn’t have known quite how apposite these...

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