In French, taille means “cut” and fer is “iron,” so Louis Taillefer’s name literally means “cut iron.” One evening at Cambridge University in England, working in the famous Cavendish physics laboratory, Taillefer was making an alloy with special magnetic properties for his doctoral research. He had to melt a combination of platinum and iron in a high-tech...

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featured question

Q: I'm just curious why we humans are the only species on this planet that have to manufacturer clothing to protect us from the elements, use fire to cook our food, feel the need to create things that are of no true practical use other than entertainment, explore beyond our planet or even speculate the meaning or the workings of the universe, etc... if we are truly naturally evolved on this planet, wouldn't we have evolved in a way that would preclude us having to find artificial means to survive?

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In the news

Take two parasites and call me in the morning

July 26, 2014

Two recent papers suggest that some parasites may be good for us. UBC botanist Laura Wegener-Parfrey and Julius Lukeš of the Canadian Centre for Advanced Research question our traditional perception of intestinal parasites. The papers offer a systematic review of cases where humans have deliberately ingested parasites for research and suggest that certain parasites could have beneficial effects on conditions such as Crohn's disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. More at Science Media Centre of Canada.

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