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  • Language evolved as part of a uniquely human group of traits, the interdependence of which calls for an integrated approach to the study of brain function, argue Eörs Szathmáry and Szabolcs Számadó.

    • Eörs Szathmáry
    • Szabolcs Számadó
    Essay
  • Financial engineers have put too much faith in untested axioms and faulty models, says Jean-Philippe Bouchaud. To prevent economic havoc, that needs to change.

    • Jean-Philippe Bouchaud
    Essay
  • Fundamental misunderstandings about classification can lead scientists down unproductive or dangerous paths, argue Jeffrey Parsons and Yair Wand.

    • Jeffrey Parsons
    • Yair Wand
    Essay
  • Atheism will always be a harder sell than religion, Pascal Boyer explains, because a slew of cognitive traits predispose us to faith.

    • Pascal Boyer
    Essay
  • Why does a developing nation have such an ambitious space programme? Subhadra Menon traces its foundations back to the work of one visionary physicist 60 years ago.

    • Subhadra Menon
    Essay
  • The 1980s saw plenty of discussion on sequencing the human genome. But, according to Charles DeLisi, one conference was crucial for converting an idea to reality.

    • Charles DeLisi
    Essay
  • John Houghton chaired the tense IPCC meeting without which there would be no Kyoto Protocol. Here he recalls how science won the day.

    • John Houghton
    Essay
  • Two decades ago, Deng Xiaoping welcomed nations to an international meeting in Beijing. Mohamed Hassan recalls how China's leaders set out their plans for the nation to rejoin the world's scientific elite.

    • Mohamed Hassan
    Essay
  • Agriculture in developing countries was transformed when scientists met aid officials and convinced them to invest in research. Lowell S. Hardin was there, and believes today's food crisis demands a similar vision.

    • Lowell S. Hardin
    Essay
  • The California meeting set standards allowing geneticists to push research to its limits without endangering public health. Organizer Paul Berg asks if another such meeting could resolve today's controversies.

    • Paul Berg
    Essay
  • François de Rose chaired the meeting that founded Europe's premier facility for experimental nuclear and particle research. Here he relives the five days of drama that changed the world of physics.

    • François de Rose
    Essay
  • The first mass data crunchers were people, not machines. Sue Nelson looks at the discoveries and legacy of the remarkable women of Harvard's Observatory.

    • Sue Nelson
    Essay
  • A tug-of-war between the mother's and father's genes in the developing brain could explain a spectrum of mental disorders from autism to schizophrenia, suggest Christopher Badcock and Bernard Crespi.

    • Christopher Badcock
    • Bernard Crespi
    Essay
  • To understand how mirror neurons help to interpret actions, we must delve into the networks in which these cells sit, say Antonio Damasio and Kaspar Meyer.

    • Antonio Damasio
    • Kaspar Meyer
    Essay
  • In the last of nine Essays on science and music, John Sloboda argues that researchers must study music as people actually experience it, if they are to understand how it affects thoughts and feelings.

    • John Sloboda
    Essay
  • If we are to learn how to develop a healthy society, we must transform history into an analytical, predictive science, argues Peter Turchin. He has identified intriguing patterns across vastly different times and places.

    • Peter Turchin
    Essay
  • Ruth Deech, former chair of Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, reflects on how the science that gave an infertile couple a baby has been extended to saving lives.

    • Ruth Deech
    Essay
  • Could the end of US world dominance over research mark the passing of national science giants, ask J. Rogers Hollingsworth, Karl H. Müller and Ellen Jane Hollingsworth.

    • J. Rogers Hollingsworth
    • Karl H. Müller
    • Ellen Jane Hollingsworth
    Essay
  • An English biochemist single-handedly changed the West's perception of China, revealing its past scientific glories and predicting more to come. Simon Winchester investigates the ongoing legacy of Joseph Needham.

    • Simon Winchester
    Essay
  • The way performers shape notes brings music to life. Nicholas Cook argues that measuring these subtle changes can help us appreciate and replicate the performer's art.

    • Nicholas Cook
    Essay