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How to love this world? The power of our gifts in times of crises

I sit on the sofa holding her little hand watching TV. Her hot little body snuggled into my own. I shower her with kisses and hug her tighter.“Get off me, Mummy”, she says pushing me away. And in this moment, I am filled with gratitude to have this warm, cross, animal-child alive, next to me and able to shove me away.I don't have any answers. Any political ones, at least. My family lived through the horrendous violence of fascism and the insidious violence of communism. Neither work. Political analysis is not where my strength lies.Similarly, I find shouting at protests difficult (I wonder if the discomfort is an ancestral memory of enforced political rallies reverberating through my body?) Protesting in...

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We are stardust explores...Interview with artist Raahat Kaduji

I first discovered Raahat's evocative nature-inspired illustrations online through Instagram. I love the worlds she creates in her artwork - scenes of flourishing wildlife, stories of animals off on an adventure or snoozing in the afternoon sun. Raahat is an illustrator based in Oxfordshire, UK. She has an Etsy shop filled with her creatures and nature scenes. I am honoured to have Raahat take part in this interview for the we are stardust explores... blog series. The series will see me interview artists and scientists, asking each of them exactly the same questions to the worlds of science and art, their similarities, difference, how they intersect and can learn and benefit from each other. In this interview, Raahat tells us how her childhood spent amongst trees,...

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Richard Feynman's ode to a flower: June inspiration

You cannot listen to Richard Feynman and not get excited about understanding the world through science. He was - and still is through his lectures - one of the most wonderful science communicators of our time. Richard Feynman was a theoretical physicist born in 1918. He was famous for his work on quantum electromechanics (he won a Nobel Prize in 1965) and his inspiring lectures which were often attended by many who didn't actually study physics. Feynman was keen to learn how to draw and often went to get lessons from artist-friend Jirayr “Jerry” Zorthian, and Jerry would get science lessons in return. Feynman even described mathematical formula using diagrams which allowed him to make extremely fast calculations.  There is a famous clip...

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'The Mushroom Hunters', a poem by Neil Gaiman: May inspiration

Have you ever felt that the history of science doesn't belong to us women? We hear and celebrate the fathers of science - Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein - but rarely learn about the mothers of science. A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine shared the most incredible poem with me - The Mushroom Hunters by Neil Gaiman (who wrote the fantasy novel Stardust). It celebrates the first ever scientists - the mothers of science - those who never made it into written history. The poem was written for the The Universe in Verse event put together by Maria Popova from Brain Pickings and Janna Levin, astrophysicist and writer. It was an evening of poetry celebrating science and the scientists who have...

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