Science

On this day: the first Nobel Prizes are awarded

By Jennifer Lipman, December 10, 2010

As the famous story goes, Alfred Nobel – the inventor of dynamite – was disturbed to read his own obituary. It was less the news of his premature death than the headline: “the merchant of death is dead”.

He was desperate to change this and be remembered for something else and, accordingly, the Nobel Prize was born.

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Hague hails British-Israel science partnership

By Jennifer Lipman, November 3, 2010

William Hague has described science as “one of the cornerstones of the relationship between Britain and Israel” at an event marking co-operation between the two countries in the field.

The Foreign Secretary, who is in Israel for a two-day-long official visit, revealed funding allocations for ten joint British-Israeli scientific ventures, including one exploring methods of coral reef conservation in the Red Sea.

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Rescue robots on show in London

By Jessica Elgot, October 21, 2010

Would you let miniature robots run through your bloodstream? Could a robot take care of your grandmother? Should robot warriors with guns be let loose on the battlefields?

It might sound like science fiction, but these are new developments we might see in our lifetime, according to two academics at Monday's British Technion Society lecture, Dr Alon Wolf and Professor Alan Winfield.

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Genetic disorders awareness camapign

By Robyn Rosen, September 16, 2010

The wife of a lawyer with a rare condition has set up a charity to raise awareness of genetic disorders which are more prevalent among Ashkenazi Jews.

Katrina Sarig, 38, founded Jewish Genetic Disorders UK after struggling to discover information about her husband's neuromuscular condition.

Now 40, Ro'i Sarig was diagnosed with Torsion Dystonia when he was 15. But it was five years ago when the couple began planning a family that they came to appreciate the difficulty in gathering information.

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Israel fights to stop science brain drain

By Nathan Jeffay, September 16, 2010

Israel has begun to implement a £250 million plan to win its best and brightest scientists back from abroad and slow its "brain drain".

A decade after the state slashed funding for university research, new posts for young academics are few and far between. The result is that most are going abroad to find a "post doctoral" research position - and increasingly they are staying abroad.

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Lord Sacks ponders issues of faith

By Simon Rocker, September 2, 2010

The Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks says he has put his faith "on the line" for his annual Rosh Hashanah broadcast this year when it goes out on BBC1 onSunday night.

Entitled The Case for God? the programme features him in conversation with four of Britain's "cleverest" critics of religion - as he calls them.

Three are Jewish - Howard Jacobson, Alain de Botton and Lisa Jardine. The fourth, neurobiologist Colin Blakemore, argues that science has made religion irrelevant.

At one point, the Chief Rabbi is asked by Howard Jacobson whether he is sure there is a God.

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Scientists hear how gays can be 'cured'

By Paul Berger, August 5, 2010

An Orthodox scientific group has sparked controversy by giving a platform to a Jewish organisation that believes homosexuality can be cured.

The Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists invited Arthur Goldberg to speak at its annual convention in Connecticut last month.

Mr Goldberg is a proponent of reparative therapy, which seeks to transform gays and bisexuals into heterosexuals through therapy.

In 1999, he co-founded JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality). Opponents claim such therapies are ineffective and even harmful.

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Jews share a 'genetic signature'

By Paul Berger, June 17, 2010

Jewishness is not just in your heart or in your soul, it's also in your genes.

A new study carried out by geneticists in New York and Tel Aviv suggests that Jews have a particular genetic signature.

Geneticist Harry Ostrer, of New York University, said that within specific communities, such as Ashkenazim or Sephardim, Jews are as closely related as fourth or fifth cousins.

Furthermore, Dr Ostrer, lead author of the study titled Abraham's Children in the Genome Era, said all Jews have a common Middle Eastern ancestry.

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Ofer Lahav wants to share his secrets about space with you

By Candice Krieger, June 3, 2010

Did you know that 75 per cent of the universe could be made up of a mysterious substance known as dark energy?

Professor Ofer Lahav, head of Astrophysics at University College London, will talk about this, and other cosmological phenomenon, at a joint conference with the Weizmann Institute later this month.

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Government science advisor rejects evolution

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 4, 2010

The Chief scientific adviser of the Israeli Education Ministry may be forced to resign after he rejected evolution and the connection between human activity and global warming.

Doctor Gabi Avital, an expert in rocket science from the Technion and a veteran Likud Party member, was posted to the education ministry three months ago. Accusations of political cronyism soon followed as in the past the post was held by experts in the field of education.

The adviser's responsibilities include reviewing the national science school curriculum.

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