Pointing At Science

Science highlights for 2014

Steve Pointing Dec 17, 2014

When asked to present a review on the year's biggest science stories for TV3's Firstline show, my colleague heather Hendrickson and I opted to go for examples at opposite ends of the spectrum - from outer space to inner space.  As an astrobiologis... Read More

Astrobiology takes centre stage

Steve Pointing Dec 12, 2014

Astrobiologists are all a flutter today as the Rosetta team announced their first detailed scientific analysis of the comet Philae (http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/).  Their analysis of water isotopes showed that the composition varied significantly from those found in water on our planet today – and this debunks a popular theory in astrobiology that comets were the source of water on … Read More

The science of Christmas

Steve Pointing Nov 28, 2014

I absolutely LOVE Christmas, and being a scientist I have always been keen to understand just how Father Christmas (or Santa Claus, Pere Noel, St Nicolas as he is variously known elsewhere) achieves the incredible feat of making children happy all over... Read More

Interstellar – real science in the movie?

Steve Pointing Nov 12, 2014

The latest Christopher Nolan extravaganza “Interstellar” hit our screens this week – a science fiction epic that begins with the premise that mankind has messed up earth to the extent we need to find a new planet to live on or face extinction. The trailer opens with a world ravaged by massive dust storms that are symptomatic of failing agriculture … Read More

Rosetta makes history

Steve Pointing Nov 12, 2014

Momentous history was achieved in space today - Rosetta's probe Philae successfully touched down on the surface of a comet after a chase of more than 6 billion km.  The probe will attempt to characterise the surface and subsurface of the comet, and may start to answer some of the most fundamental questions about how life began on earth - … Read More

Hooray – it’s World Science Day!

Steve Pointing Nov 09, 2014

Today is World Science Day, I know this because the UNESCO website tells me so.  Unfortunately I am not sure this is going to be high on the radar of many media outlets, or indeed for many science professionals.  This is a shame because it is... Read More

A “wee” problem for ocean chemistry?

Steve Pointing Oct 10, 2014

So here's a nice story for a Friday afternoon - a new study published in PNAS this week describes how the urine from massive numbers of vertically migrating marine creatures is affecting ocean chemistry.  The University of Washingto... Read More

Is cancer more active at night?

Steve Pointing Oct 07, 2014

An interesting new study in cell biology indicates a steroid hormone responsible for keeping us alert during the day may also suppress the spread of cancer cells.  This highlights that cancer therapy may benefit from timing to coincide with when the body is least able to defend against cancer at night. The work appears in the prestigious journal Nature Communications … Read More

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