Ian Buruma, ex-editor of The New York Review of Books: writers say his departure represents ‘an abandonment of the central mission of the review, which is the free exploration of ideas’. Photograph: Vincent Tullo/The New York Times

Leading Irish writers John Banville, Colm Tóibín and Roy Foster, along with some of the biggest names in English letters, including Joyce Carol Oates,(...)

Should one feel gloomy for being so small within the cosmos?  Photograph: Reuters/Nasa

Astronauts looking down on the “pale blue dot” where we live have commonly reported a kind of epiphany known as the “overview effect”. From space, the(...)

Photograph: Thinkstock

Scientific discovery can make human affairs on this planet seem awfully trivial. The discovery of the Higgs boson particle, for example, has led to f(...)