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The rocky road to finding a cure for cholesterol

In the cafeteria at the Japanese University Tohoku, a bell rang every evening at about eight o'clock, and whoever came running quickly enough received...

The war of images

1906 was the first time a Nobel Prize was awarded to two scientists. The prize for medicine was shared by the Spanish Santiago Ramon...

Cannibals, insomnia and mad cow disease

Not long after the Second World War, Australian colonial officials assigned to the remote plains of Papua New Guinea noticed an unusual disease among...

The bioethics of conception

Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family - a panel appointed to advise the Pope on family matters...

A deadly virus from the heart of Africa

At the end of August 1976, Mabalo Lokela, a forty-four-year-old teacher, returned from his travels, with a high fever. He had been travelling in...

Brain plasticity

Researchers of the brain have long believed that once fully grown, it no longer changes. Only the young brain was thought to be “plastic”,...

What wiped out the dinosaurs?

When American geologist Walter Alvarez started studying rock formations near the Italian medieval town of Gubbio, Umbria, in the 1970s, he had no idea...

Alexander von Humboldt – adventurer and scientist

There was a time when adventurers did not venture to remote places of the globe and conquer high mountains and peaks only to get...

The Black Death pandemic

Between the years 1347 and 1351, in just 1000 days, a mysterious disease killed nearly half of Europe’s population. It was the greatest natural...

Cell police

Once upon a time, long ago when our planet was still uninhabited by plants and animals, single-celled organisms developed an effective method to defend...

Lucy, more precious than diamonds

It was just another morning in Africa. The paleoanthropologist Donald C. Johanson was sipping his morning coffee with his young colleague Tom Gray, trying...

EPO – The story about 2550 liters of powdered urine

Few people have probably ever heard of Eugene Goldwasser, a retired professor from the University of Chicago. This is not strange as he is...

Mirror neurons

In 1996, three Italian scientists at the University of Parma studied the reactions of monkey brains indifferent activities. They wanted to learn, for example,...

Hobbits from the isle of Flores

A decade ago on the Indonesian island of Flores, archeologists discovered the remains of primitive stone tools made by our distant ancestors. In itself,...

Why dessert comes last

When it comes to a great number of things, it is very difficult to imagine them not being done the way we always do...

A Russian Indiana Jones

It is no secret that the democracy of a given country hardly necessarily reflects the support given to science by its authorities. It has...

The afterlife of Henrietta Lacks

In February 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a thirty-year-old mother of five, went for an examination at the John Hopkins hospital after noticing blood stains on...

When a new, unknown disease breaks out

On February 28, 2003, the local office of the World Health Organization in Hanoi, Vietnam, received a call from a small private hospital with...

Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates that several hundred million people are infected with malaria each year, of which more than a million die. Science...

No more bananas?

This popular fruit is threatened with extinction by a deadly fungal disease attacking large plantations in the tropics. Leading producers are trying to create...