University of Reading Research Blog

The civil service doesn’t just need more scientists – it needs a decision-making revolution

Recruiting more scientists aside, the civil service needs to transform its approach to evidence and decision making, says Geographer Dr David Rose in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Think you’re an individual? Here are seven reasons why you’re not

Reading ecologist Professor Tom Oliver has written a new book, The Self Delusion, which explores how people, animals, plants and the planet we live on are all intimately connected – and why that matters. We’ve dug out some surprising science from the book which will make you re-think just how individual you are.

1. We’re only half human

Our bodies contain 37 trillion human cells, and roughly the same number of bacterial cells. Every surface of our bodies – from our faces to our armpits, from the insides of our mouths to the deepest depths of our guts – are covered in these microbes. We have over 1,000 bacterial species in our mouths, 440 in our elbow joints and 125 species behind our ears.

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London just broke a 300-year-old weather record – but you probably didn’t even notice it

A London weather record was broken recently making for an exceptionally crisp, clear winter day – but you probably didn’t notice it, explains Professor Stephen Burt in a recent post for The Conversation

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Fish, sausage, even honey: Food fraud is hidden in plain sight

Do you know where your food comes from? Dr John G Keogh from Henley Business School explores Canada’s food fraud problem in a recent post for The Conversation.

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Six curious facts about smell

Reading flavour expert Dr Jane Parker sniffs out some little known truths about our noses in a new post for The Conversation.

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REF is coming – grab every chance to promote your research

As 2020 begins, the the Research Excellence Framework submission date is on the horizon. Professor Parveen Yaqoob, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, outlines how to make use of every available opportunity to promote your research in the run-up to REF.

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What next for Iran’s proxy network after killing of Qassem Soleimani?

Proxy war expert Dr Vladimir Rauta provides analysis of the possible fall-out from the assassination of Iran’s Quds Force leader in a new piece for The Conversation.

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What can archaeology tell us about medieval medical care?

Prayer and good food were long thought to be the main cures for sickness used by medieval monks, but a new book by Professor Roberta Gilchrist shows that they had more sophisticated medical treatments at their fingertips – from preventative hygiene to prosthetics.

A 16th-century drawing showing distillation equipment in use
A 16th-century drawing showing distillation equipment in use (Wellcome Collection CC BY 40, Public Domain, Roesslin ‘Kreuterbuch’/ Herbal)

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Climate change: six positive news stories from 2019

Extreme weather events may be becoming more frequent, but at least we’re getting better at forecasting them. Professor Hannah Cloke contributes to a round-up of some good news stories about climate change from the past year published in The Conversation.

Flooding in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai, March 2019. Image credit: Denis Onyodi/Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre
Flooding in Mozambique following Cyclone Idai, March 2019. Image credit: Denis Onyodi/Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre

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Climate change is hurting farmers – even seeds are under threat

Even brief hot spells can damage seed quality – with implications for future food security, writes Professor of Agriculture Richard Ellis in The Conversation.

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