Science at ArchWay With Words

I noticed it last year as well, but this year North London literary festival ArchWay With Words has even more science-themed events! Sadly most of them overlap with evenings I’m volunteering at the You Me Bum Bum Train theatre production elsewhere in London, but I’ll try to catch at least…


Books and the image of science

[SCRIPT] I’ve been catching up on classics, and recently read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (first published in 1818) and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, from 1962. These are two very different books. One is a horror story and the other is a non-fiction book about the effects of pesticides on the environment….


Science in Books

Project announcement: I’m preparing some videos in which I chat about science in books (both fiction and non-fiction). I’ve recorded some footage, but I don’t seem have a single minute of time left in the coming month to work on it further, so it will have to wait until later…


Paper vs Paperwhite

After the zillionth time being unable to read a book on a crowded tube because I couldn’t read while grasping onto a pole and fighting for a tiny bit of space to stand, I finally got a Kindle. I’d noticed that the Kindle-users were still able to hold their devices…


Book review: The Reputation Society

The internet is an interesting place. I can’t remember exactly what I was looking for, but a few weeks ago I was clicking around on the web and discovered that friends of mine had edited a book that was recently published. A few other people I know had written chapters,…


Alice’s Adventures in Animal Experimentation

In 1875 Lewis Carroll wrote Some Popular Fallacies About Vivisection for the publication Fortnightly Review. Carroll was strongly opposed to vivisection, but I think that if he were alive today, he would not have so much of a problem with current animal research procedures. In “Some Popular Fallacies About Vivisection”…


Alice through the Looking Glass exhibit in Bristol

I’m working on a blog post about an essay on vivisection that Lewis Carroll wrote in 1875, and while doing research I came across this: The Explore-At-Bristol science centre in Bristol (UK) is currently hosting an exhibit called Alice Through the Looking Glass. It runs until November, and is mostly…


Harry Potter Science (part 3) – Bezoars

(Also on easternblot ) Hogwarts students learn about bezoars in their first year potions class. They’re stones from the stomach of a goat that work as an antidote to most poisons. In book 6, Harry saves Ron’s life by giving him a bezoar after he accidentally drinks poisoned mead in…


Harry Potter Science (part 2)

During the first five Harry Potter books (or movies) I always felt that the potions class was the most like our muggle science classes. They learned what different potions and materials do, where they come from, how they’re made. There’s a strong hands-on part, like lab work, where method is…


Harry Potter science (part 1, with question)

(cross-posted from This week Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix opens in theatres, and later this month, on July 21st, the final book seven comes out. It’s a hype, but is it really a problem? Millions of kids are anxiously waiting to read a book, why complain?…