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Cambridge University Science Magazine
The Age of Access

Science has come a long way since C.P. Snow gave his 1959 Rede lecture: “The Two Cultures”. In this lecture Snow suggested that the divide between arts and sciences could only hinder progress, and that we needed real communication between them to develop as a civilised society. Much has changed since then. We are now provided with a plethora of scientific information on a daily basis: from the traditionally arts-based mainstream newspapers to the Internet, where a detailed answer to any question is just a mouse click away.

But is this something to be celebrated? The media’s ‘misrepresentation of science’ is often a source of complaint. The melodrama surrounding the building of the Large Hadron Collider, and the suggestion that the colliding of particles would result in a black hole, was regarded by many scientists as irresponsible reporting. But in her talk for BlueSci last term, Vivienne Parry suggested that we cannot blame the media for all exaggerations. Journalists have to find an exciting angle from which to report a story or the public won’t be interested in reading their newspaper.

And yet, the problem is not with the intention to communicate—it’s what is communicated. Perhaps the solution would be for a higher level of scientific awareness among the public, allowing more people to distinguish between scientific news and scientific hype. Brian Cox’s new book, The Quantum Universe, has been written on the premise that everyone can understand quantum mechanics—a bold claim. An improvement in the public understanding of science can only force the accuracy of science reporting to improve, which in turn will only further our collective knowledge. If nothing else, we can hope that it inspires a new generation of scientists to enter laboratories.

To this end, BlueSci has its own communication projects. This diverse issue covers everything from sex and the reasons for its evolution, to the life of Turing on the 100 year anniversary of his birth. Our Focus looks at intelligence; what it is, whether it is hereditary and, most perplexing of all, why us? Meanwhile, BlueSci film and our very own radio show on Cam FM 97.2 are continuing this term. Further information about these and other BlueSci activities are available on our website: As ever, if you find yourself wishing that you’d been involved in the creation of this magazine, please get in touch about working on the next issue. We’d love to hear from you. Felicity Davies
Issue 22: Michaelmas 2011

Editor: Felicity Davies

Managing Editor: Tom Bishop

Business Manager: Michael Derringer

Second Editors: Aaron Barker, Wing Ying Chow, Matthew Dunstan, Helen Gaffney, Ian Le Guillou, Leila Haghighat, Joanna-Marie Howes, Anand Jagatia, Sarah Jurmesiter, Haydn King, Nicola Love, Tim Middleton, Vicki Moignard, Alexey Morgunov, Lindsey Nield, Laura Pearce, Amelia Penny, Ted Pynegar, Jordan Ramsey, Jessica Robinson, Sandra Schieder, Liz Ing-Simmons, Richard Thompson, Divya Venkatesh, Beth Venus

Sub-Editors: Helen Gaffney, Leila Haghighat, Nicola Love, Tim Middleton, Jordan Ramsey

News Editor: Louisa Lyon

News Team: Javier Azpiroz-Korban, Stephanie Boardman, Ian Le Guillou

Reviews: Matthew Dunstan, Leila Haghighat, Vicki Moignard

Focus Team: Helen Gaffney, Liz Ing-Simmons, Ted Pynegar, Jessica Robinson

Weird and Wonderful: Mariana Fonseca, Nicola Love, Jordan Ramsey

Pictures Team: Leila Haghighat, Nicola Love, Jordan Ramsey, Mrinal Singh

Production Team: Ian Le Guillou, Leila Haghighat, Nicola Love, Tim Middleton, Jordan Ramsey, Mrinal Singh

Illustrators: Alex Hahn, Dominic McKenzie, Katherine Wakely-Mulroney

Cover Image: Gengshi Chen



The Need for Sex - Ridley, M.  The Red Queen: Sex and the evolution of Human Nature, London: Penguin (1994)

Neglecting Vets - Zinsstag, J. et al,  A model of animal-human brucellosis transmission in Mongolia. Preventive Veterinary Medicine. 2005 Vol 69 (1), 77-95

The Eccentric Engineer -

Warning: Contains Peanuts - Clark,  A. T., Islam, S., King,  Y., Deighton,  J.,  Anagnostou, K., Ewan, P. W. (2009). Successful oral tolerance induction in severe peanut allergy. Allergy 2009: 64: 1218–1220

Aspects of Ageing - Sahin, E. and DePinho, Linking functional decline in telomeres, mitochondria and stem cells during ageing. R.A. Nature 464, 520-528. (2010)


Capturing Change -

The Race to the Edge -

Science’s Royal Beginnings -

Computers, Codes and Cyanide - Turing, Sara , Alan M. Turing, Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd. (1959)

Writing the Future - H.G. Wells, When then Sleeper Wakes, London: Collins (1920)