Saffiatu Sillah, whose circumcision caused her  agonising pain during the births of her children, Mijan  and Jaria, at home in Philadelphia. Photograph: Maddie McGarvey/ The New York Times

She called it her “deepest, darkest secret”, one she had never even shared with her husband. When Saffiatu Sillah was growing up in the West African n(...)

The University of Pennsylvania’s course covers the important rulers and explores the construction of the pyramids and the Sphinx, the gods and goddesses worshipped, and, yes, mummies.

Like many children I was fascinated with stories of ancient Egypt: mummified kings and queens, the mystery of how the pyramids were built, tales of Ho(...)

‘If you’re moving while fat, the threat of being body-shamed is always there – and whether it is malicious or not, it has repercussions.’ Photograph: iStock

“Well, what is an athlete? It’s somebody that gets up, and does what they need to do. Just because they don’t look or act like an athlete doesn’t mean(...)

A microbot alongside a paramecium. These robots are the size of a speck of dust and could be used for a number of tasks, from cleaning smartphone batteries to studying our brains. Photograph:   Kenneth Chang

Like Frankenstein, Marc Miskin’s robots initially lie motionless. Then their limbs jerk to life. But these robots are the size of a speck of dust. Th(...)

Recently, scientists reported that brief sessions of specialised brain stimulation could reverse the steady decline in working memory, at least temporarily. Illustration: iStock

Anyone above a certain age who has drawn a blank on the name of a favourite uncle, a friend’s phone number or the location of a house key understands (...)

 Neuroscientists have shown that memory calls on a widely distributed network in the brain, and it co-ordinates those interactions through slow-frequency, thrumming rhythms called theta waves. Photograph: iStock

Anyone above a certain age who has drawn a blank on the name of a favourite uncle, a friend’s phone number or the location of a house key understands (...)

Donald Trump at an event  in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty

US President Donald Trump has discussed firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell as his frustration with the central bank chief intensified follo(...)

Prof Leonard Hayflick established the WI-38 cell strain from the cells of an aborted female foetus to provide vaccines against poliomyelitis, measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, shingles, adenovirus, rabies and hepatitis A. Photograph: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

The vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment of the Irish constitution has overturned a manifest injustice. One outcome will be a rise in the number of foe(...)

Dr Garret A Fitzgerald: “Now that the Dublin skyline is crowded with cranes again, I’d love to see an initiative to foster and support the hard sciences.”

Garret, you have won lots of awards for your work as a physician and scientist, and you will soon be inducted into the Italian and German academies of(...)

‘Irish Whales’ John Flanagan and Martin Sheridan of the Irish American Athletic Club and James Mitchel of the New York Athletic Club at the 1904 Summer Olympics. All three native Irishmen were also New York City Police officers. Photograph: Chicago Daily News negatives collection, courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society/Wiki Commons

One hundred and ten years ago this year, the first athlete of African descent won a gold medal at the modern Olympics. John Baxter Taylor, a former ve(...)

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