Thursday, February 20, 2014

deep sea dilemmas

While I've never actually visited the Deep Sea, I'm kind of attached to that vast part of our planetary biosphere, as my PhD thesis was about biological functions under high hydrostatic pressures of the kind that you would find in the deeper parts of the oceans. Knowing how inaccessible and remote from us surface dweller the deep sea is, I might have hoped that it is better protected from the collateral damage of human activities than most places. Recent developments suggest, however, that even the deep biosphere may feel the effects of climate change, and it could also experience large scale devastation from industrial mining operations very soon.

All this is discussed in my latest feature in Current Biology which is out now:

The deep sea under siege

Current Biology, Volume 24, Issue 4, R137-R139, 17 February 2014 doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.01.062

Free access to full text and PDF link

A black smoker known as The Brothers, off the coast of New Zealand. (Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Wikimedia Commons.)

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

my way into science journalism

in the February round-up of German pieces there is a special piece in the popular chemistry magazine Chemie in unserer Zeit. The editor invited me to reminisce on my career as a science writer (an earlier attempt at describing my career path, in English, is here). This is kind of related to the fact that I’m being awarded the prize for journalists and writers from the German Chemical Society (GDCh) this year. Previously, the only prize I won was a bottle of Bordeaux for spotting the book title that went on to win the Diagram Prize, so this is definitely a step up.

The other pieces published in January and February cover crystallography without crystallising the substance of interest, lab-grown meat, natural ingredients, and cell-free biotechnology.

Mein Weg zum Wissenschaftsjournalismus
Chemie in unserer Zeit 2014,48, 68-71
DOI: 10.1002/ciuz.201400659 [FREE access]

Ausgeforscht: Vorsicht, die Fleischfälscher
Nachrichten aus der Chemie 2014, 62, 107

Ausgeforscht: Echt natürlich - natürlich echt?
Nachrichten aus der Chemie 2014, 62, 207

Blickpunkt Biowissenschaften: Zellfreie Biotechnik
Nachrichten aus der Chemie 2014, 62, 147-148

Kristallstrukturen von nicht kristallisierbaren Substanzen Spektrum der Wissenschaft 2014, Nr. 1, 14-16

memories ...

Monday, February 03, 2014

demographic challenges

My latest feature in Current Biology looks into the recent changes to China's one-child policy, which has been in force for 34 years now. Changes announced recently allow parents a second child if they are single children themselves, avoiding the one-child-rule from becoming effectively a one-grandchild (per set of four grandparents) rule.

Where next for China's population policy?

Current Biology Volume 24, Issue 3, 3 February 2014, Pages R97–R100

Restricted access to full text and PDF download (free access after one year)

Shopping street in Shanghai. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Agnieszka Bojczuk