Thursday, 19 April 2018

Basel: A trip to LSD's birthplace



For the Guardian - a city profile of Basel for the 75th anniversary of Albert Hofmann's accidental discovery of LSD. Hofmann was a chemist researching the effects of a fungus that had been used for a variety of medicinal purposes since medieval times, for example to bring on labour (and also for abortions). Hofmann was trying to find a drug to treat fatigue, but then... well, read the article!

One thing I really enjoyed during my research for this piece was hearing about the interplay between science and the arts, both of which are big themes in Basel's history. The two are sometimes treated as polar opposites, especially in the educational system, which is such a shame - all the best scientists are incredibly creative. As Matthias Liechti, a pharmacologist currently researching LSD at University Hospital Basel, told me: “Hofmann was an example of scientific professionalism, but on the other hand he was also spiritually open. That’s a nice mix.”

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

The secret world of babies



My son's first assignment! We visited the Babylab at Birkbeck and found out about their latest research for BBC Future.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

How you talk to your child changes their brain




Most parents know that talking to their child is important. But a new study has revealed that it’s how you talk to your child that really matters for their brain growth. Read more about chatting and cognitive development in my latest story for the World Economic Forum.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Why speaking more than one language can boost economic growth





My latest piece for the World Economic Forum: multilingualism is good for the economy, researchers have found. Countries that actively nurture different languages reap a range of rewards, from more successful exports to a more innovative workforce. (And speaking more than one language actually boosts your earning power, as one study showed - even if you don't need your additional language on the job).