Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Growing human bones from stem cells

Nina Tandon is one of the scientists working on growing human bones from stem cells - a new technique that could replace synthetic implants and conventional grafts. I interviewed her for the World Economic Forum's blog series on ten leading female scientists.

"I'd like to be able to say that if you're born with congenital defects, you don't have to be consigned to a lifetime of disfigurement, that you can have your face restored," she told me. "More broadly, I love the idea that we can look at our own body as a source of healing, as opposed to pills and machines."

How your garden could power your wifi

This is another science Q&A I did for for the World Economic Forum - on how you can tap the roots of growing plants to generate power.

"Our approach doesn't force you to decide between growing food and growing fuel," says Marjolein Helder, one of the researchers working on this. "For example, you could use the same paddy to grow rice and produce electricity."

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Black Holes Explained

This was such a treat - my interview on black holes and gravitational waves with Nergis Mavalvala, an astrophysicist at MIT. Her team finally observed the "ripples in spacetime" predicted by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago. Apart from being a brilliant scientist, Nergis is also a very funny and eloquent speaker on women's rights and minority rights.

The interview is part of a series of ten Q&As with outstanding female scientists around the world (for the World Economic Forum). Will post more soon!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Secret London

Another BBC Culture story - this time on one of my favourite places in London, a hidden study room at the British Museum that houses one of the world's largest collections of prints and drawings:

Friday, 4 March 2016

Unseen City

This interview with Martin Parr about Unseen City, his current exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery, was a lot of fun. I've long admired his work - it's witty and warm and somehow very British. Go and see his show, you'll find out all sorts of fascinating things about London's medieval guilds and ancient traditions like swan upping. (Yes, it's a thing!)

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Britain's vanishing public art

Bulldozed, stolen, melted down... my piece for BBC Culture on efforts to track down Britain's missing art:

Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Road to Wigan Pier, via Aleppo

My latest feature on Syrian refugees for AlJazeera, this time one those who have chosen to come to the UK - even though countries like Germany and Sweden seem much more obvious destinations because of their comparatively generous asylum policies. Only about 5,000 Syrians have been granted asylum in the UK since the war started in 2011.