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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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Celebrating scientific illustrators for Women’s History Month

Look back through the history of science and you will mostly see images of white men. However, there were many incredible women who contributed to scientific endeavour. Gradually, the stories of these amazing women are emerging. March sees the USA celebrate Women’s History Month. As such, we are stardust is delighted to feature a guest blog from Michelle Marshal, and independent researcher based in the USA focusing on natural history and scientific illustration.  Excited by her discoveries, Michelle started her website Historical SciArt featuring illustrations based on the collections of Biodiversity Heritage Library - a consortium of outstanding libraries, archives, special collections, and museums whose natural history works have been digitised and gathered in one central place. For this Women’s History Month blog,...

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We Are Stardust Explores...with plant scientist Dr Jessica Royles

We are stardust is about exploring the worlds of science and art, their similarities, difference, how they intersect and can learn and benefit from each other. I have therefore decided to start an interview series with artists and scientists, asking each of them exactly the same questions. In this first interview, we will travel to the icy Antarctic with moss specialist, Dr Jessica Royles.  Jessica is an old friend of mine who is fascinated with how the world works. She was always top of the class in science when we were growing up and I am so proud that she is now Dr Royles, Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Plant Sciences Department at Cambridge University, UK. Jessica is an adventurer,...

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