Personal perspectives in the life sciences for the Royal Society’s 350th anniversary

December 15, 2009

As part of the celebrations for their 350th anniversary, the Royal Society of London have just released a special, open-access issue of their Philosophical Transactions B journal, containing a series of perspectives from leading scientists on contemporary topics of high interest and importance. 

In this freely available issue the authors, selected on the basis of their knowledge and experience in a specific area of the life sciences, offer their individual perspective on their own area of research.  The 19 contributions present a snapshot of the current status of key areas of science, together with an analysis of the promising – and less promising – avenues currently being pursued, in some cases leading to some bold conclusions.

Here’s the contents:

  • Sir Partha Dasgupta: Nature’s Role in Sustainable Economic Development
  • Professor Simon Levin: Crossing scales, crossing disciplines: collective motion and collective action in the Global Commons
  • Professor Martin Nowak: Games, graphs and sets: dynamics and geometry of evolution
  • Professor Harold Mooney: The Ecosystem-Service Chain and the Biological Diversity Crisis
  • Lord Robert May: Ecological science and tomorrow’s world
  • Professor Michel Loreau: Linking biodiversity and ecosystems: toward a unifying ecological theory
  • Professor John Beddington: Food security – contributions from science to a new and greener revolution
  • Professor William Hill: Understanding and utilising quantitative genetic variation
  • Professor Graham Bell: Fluctuating selection: the perpetual renewal of adaptation in variable environments
  • Professor Spencer Barrett: Understanding Plant Reproductive Diversity
  • Professor Tom Cavalier-Smith: Deep phylogeny, ancestral groups, and the four ages of life
  • Professor Simon Conway-Morris: Evolution: Like any other science it is predictable
  • Professor Linda Partridge: The New Biology of Ageing
  • Professor Fiona Watt and Dr Ryan Driskell: The therapeutic potential of stem cells
  • Professor Uta Frith and Professor Chris Frith: The social brain: allowing humans to boldly go where no other species has been
  • Professor Geoffrey Hinton: Learning to Represent Visual Input
  • Professor Taras Oleksyk, Professor Michel Smith and Professor Stephen O’Brien: Genome wide scans for footprints of natural selection
  • Sir Sydney Brenner: Sequences and Consequences
  • And here’s the link.
    Read and enjoy!


    Open access week

    October 23, 2009

    The past week has been Open Access Week, celebrating the unrestricted sharing of research results via the internet for the advancement and enjoyment of science and society. 424px-open_access_logo_plossvgFrom the Open Access week website:

    Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers throw their weight behind it.

    Events celebrating Open Access Week have been held all over the world, including here in Wellington, New Zealand.  As my own commemoration of the week I thought I’d round up some interesting articles that have been published in Open Access Journals over the last few weeks.  All of these are peer-reviewed journal articles that are free for anyone to download and read – no subscriptions required!

    Read the rest of this entry »