Issue 9: Words
To say that words are important is a vast understatement, we all know that. So it follows that science has a lot to say about words, and vice versa. This month we're peering into language, speech and writing, while considering how unborn babies hear us talk, how fiction changes our brain, why English is the dominant language in science, the debate over the word 'planet,' and a lot more.
Cover illustration by Kayla Oliver. Theme by Michael Vagg.
From wandering star to Earth-orbiter, the word ‘planet’ has changed its meaning many times. Pluto’s exile is only the most recent.
English is the prevailing language of science and academia. In many ways this is advantageous, but lack of diversity can be problematic when trying to share findings and ideas.
Be careful what you say around a pregnant woman ‒ there's a good chance her unborn child is listening in on the conversation.
From a young age, most of us are encouraged to read fiction. Researchers are now finding that reading literary works can alter the development of our brains and help us gain a sense of empathy.
In remote northwestern Australia, two young ecologists watch their helicopter disappear into the distance. They are suddenly very alone in one of the most spectacular places on earth.
The impersonal culture of scientific workplaces can promote conformity while sweeping our innate differences under the rug. LGBTI researchers share how this has coloured their professional interactions and experiences.
Our furry friends need to take icky medicinal treatments, as well. Understanding their genetic predisposition to drugs can provide them with the comfort they oh-so-deserve.
Scientists need to be careful when speaking outside their fields of expertise — it's impossible to get everything right.