Physicist Lee Smolin contends that cosmologists should test hypotheses against the properties and history of our universe

Physics and cosmology have veered down a non-scientific cul-de-sac, a leading physicist has argued

 The World Health Organisation says that, when it comes to cancer, no amount of alcohol is safe

Risks associated with high consumption are clear, but research shows mild drinking can have benefits

In the whole-class teaching method, the teacher stands at the blackboard, teaches the whole class the established body of knowledge, tests the children with questions and ensures a disciplined class environment. This type of teaching was the norm in Ireland until the 1960s. Above, schoolchildren in the west of Ireland in 1955. Photograph: Three Lions/Getty Images

Whole-class teaching, in which childern learn to use their long-term memory, has been abandoned for a more personalised, naturalis(...)

Bad news for those who regularly run marathons or ultra-marathons: such running can damage your health. Photograph: Thinkstock

Even a little regular exercise can boost your health, but beware: pushing your body too hard is damaging

‘In December a well-argued letter to The Irish Times by David Walsh took the field of women’s studies to task for promoting the ideological notion that gender is a social construct in the face of scientific evidence that biology plays a prominent role’

A study argues that more diversity among academics would improve social psychology research

The former home of George Boole in Cork. Photograph: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

The research of the ‘father of pure mathematics’ was significantly motivated by his faith

Our capacity for co-operation has deep evolutionary roots and scientists have been studying this in chimpanzees and bonobos (above), our closest living relatives. Photograph: Thinkstock

Studies suggest that co-operation played a far bigger role than aggression, but is that to underestimate our bloodlust?

Recent research suggests that mindfulness meditation can make pain less bothersome to those who practise it. Photograph: Thinkstock

Meditation can be helpful, but its efficacy depends on the ends for which it is used

Photograph: Thinkstock

Resuscitation medicine can now revive people who have been dead for hours, and some of them have intriguing stories to tell

As grasslands cover nearly 60 per cent of the Irish landscape, the quantity of carbon dioxide sequestered annually in Irish soils is enormous but is not allowed to be factored in under current accounting procedures. Photograph: Thinkstock

Research indicates carbon emissions from grasslands are much smaller than current calculations

The culpably faulty study that claimed to find a link between MMR vaccination and autism scared many parents, who stopped vaccinating their children. Photograph: Thinkstock

Loss of public trust will be the most serious consequence if misconduct is not eliminated

Ikaria: the island’s inhabitants live 10 years longer than Americans before contracting cancer or cardiovascular disease, and suffer much less from depression. Photograph: Thinkstock

It’s no myth: on Ikaria a mix of contentment, diet and social interaction extend life well beyond the norm

Are all brains preloaded with a reservoir of remarkable abilities that are lying dormant?

Pinocchio learned all about the damage lies can cause

Lies told to spare people’s feelings are generally considered harmless, but some scientists disagree

A leg up? Not all self-help books are worthy of the name

Avoid any approach that hasn’t been verified by independent data or that promises a quick fix

How much of reality can be explained by the physical sciences?

Materialists claim that the self is illusory and free will doesn’t exist, but many scientists disagree

Selling cigarettes to under-18s is already illegal, but this does not prevent young people from obtaining them

The British Medial Association’s move to block the sale of cigarettes to those born after 2000 is understandable but would prove c(...)

It is possible to achieve checkmate in a well-known five-step manoeuvre, but also using a much less familiar three-move sequence. Photograph: Thinkstock

Familiarity with the tried and tested can prevent us from seeking out more efficient solutions

How can God affect our lives? Kosslyn uses the analogy of a flock of geese navigating a long migration. Photograph: Thinkstock

Stephen Kosslyn once put forward the intriguing notion that God exists but is not supernatural

Imagine the horror of being fully conscious but unable to communicate. Research is helping to break this barrier

Photograph: Thinkstock

Calculate your BMI but also check the ratio of waist-to-hip circumference and be ultra- conscious of abdominal fat

A recent study into fat is not a green light to load up on steak and butter, one nutrition expert warns

The human brain can be bilingual even before birth. Photograph: Thinkstock

Multilingual people are better at reasoning and multitasking, and work faster and with less effort

Stop sniggering down the back: the delicate question of how dinosaurs had sex remains a mystery

Growing evidence should greatly trouble us when we consider how poultry is treated on factory farms

Many people take supplements of vitamins A, C and E, thinking these antioxidants will help to ward off cancer

Recent Swedish research suggests that antioxidant dietary supplements may actually increase cancer risk in certain people

An anti-pylon protest at Mahon Falls, Co Waterford, last year. Photograph: Dylan Vaughan

Latest studies fail to support claims that overhead cables represent a danger to the public

The simple message of Morgan Spurlock’s 2004 documentary Super Size Me is wrong

As studies show, it is unwise to demonise fast food but wise to eat it only very occasionally

Richard Dawkins: according to him, belief in God is childishly unreasonable. Photograph: David Levenson/Getty Images

Opposition to religion stems from the fact that many of these scientists are fundamentalist materialists

The latest study in the US adds to the argument that links with lung cancer may not be as strong as previously believed

There is a popular tendency to 
demonise fast food and sugary drinks as the major contributors to

There is much more behind the obesity problem than sugary drinks and fast food. Genetics are key

Progress has been slow because the roots of the disease hide in the fantastic complexity of our cells

An increasing proportion of the scientific literature is irreproducible, with major consequences for progress

There are two competing theories to explain the causes of obesity, and they are about to be tested

A child at a March Against Monsanto in Los Angeles, California, last week. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Genetic modification is still highly controversial despite extensive research having failed to produce evidence of harm

Two big studies were published exploring the origins of monogamy in mammals.

Two research groups area at loggerheads over the implications of their studies for human evolution

If you consistently ingest more calories than you burn off, you will become obese.

It’s time to re-think the advice given to those struggling with obesity about what food is good

The potential of a new technology to slow down global warming does not excuse continuing paralysis

Science is the best tool available to allow us to pursue objective truths, but scientists are human like the rest of us

Takanori Takebe team's work is the first step in growing replacement livers from stem cells for transplants. Photograph: Getty

Scientists have shown ‘proof of concept’ that a working human liver can be built in the lab from stem cells

A side effect of smallpox eradication is a lack of immunity to other strains that can be just as lethal

Learning how to open and close this intriguing gateway could lead to cures for many perplexing diseases

Empathy is strongly aroused by “the identifiable victim effect” – stories of misfortunes or tragedies that occur to individual or small groups of identifiable people, covered extensively in the media, such as the 20 children who were shot dead at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut last December. Photograph: Reuters

When empathy causes us to ignore logic or science, its consequences can be harmful to all

The birth
 rate required to keep the population steady (replacement birth
 rate) is 2.1 children per woman, and this rate was set as the demographic goal 
in order
to stabili
se population. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Birth rates need to be 2.1 to ensure the species does not peter out. But modern life poses a threat to posterity

Amino acids have been detected in outer space and in meteorites that have landed on Earth. Photograph: PA

Amino acids have been detected in space and in meteorites that landed on Earth

Identifying where personhood begins is vitalto the ethical debate

Biology doesn’t just affect you physically; it can shape your ideas and politics

There is a strong biological basis to gender and it cannot be healthy to frustrate such tendencies

Catastrophic global outbreak of TB feared

OPINION: I’ve taught many students that one of the most dangerous things they do is breathe

Opinion: The film Jurassic Park featured dinosaurs cloned from DNA recovered from insects preserved in prehistoric amber

Consider how you would act in the following situations.

Opinion: Ireland is suffering from an epidemic of obesity

OPINION: Question: “How would you recognise an extrovert mathematician?” Answer: “He’s the mathematician who looks at your shoes…

Thanks to our improved ability in abstract reasoning, we are all getting better at IQ tests

The pressure to secure grants can force scientists to publish work that offers little value – and can lead to misconduct

MAINSTREAM SCIENCE has shown that the world is warming, almost certainly because of human-induced emissions of warming gases …

Many scientists believe free will is an illusion. If so, do we have no control over our actions?

Researchers have come up with convincing models for how time is measured by memory

THE RAPID expandsion of the world’s population raises the problem of how to feed all of these extra mouths

The bacteria in your digestive system is so vital to health and well-being that it is sometimes called the ‘forgotten organ…

NUCLEAR FUSION is the holy grail of power generation, promising the safe, clean generation of boundless energy from essentially…

WE ARE constantly bombarded with advice on a healthy lifestyle

THE RELATIVE extent to which human intelligence is determined by our genes and by our environment is an old debate – the “nature…

DEATH IS ONE of the few things we can be sure of. In the bad-news stakes, death must be the leading contender for top spot.

WE ARE BOMBARDED nowadays with warnings about the dangers to our health of growing fat but, despite these warnings, obesity statis(...)

TODAY I will bounce off perhaps the most fundamental question ever asked, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”, which…

WE PICTURE philosophers as people who read and think deeply about the nature of things and publish a distillation of these thought(...)

THE RECENT combination of hydraulic fracturing (commonly called “fracking”) with horizontal drilling has transformed previously…

Devoutly religious people tend to live healthier lives, but even non-believers can benefit from emulating the religious lifestyle…

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