Save our butterflies

Naturalists are looking to raise £25m to build the world's biggest walk-in butterfly house. It's all part of an effort to draw attention to the plight of butterflies around the world, with many species thought to be driven to extinction before scientists even set eyes on them.

Stopping the signal

Does the universe harbour other intelligent lifeforms? According to this NYT article it could do but they may be a whole lot quieter than we first supposed.

The earth moved: but how fast?

We all woke up this morning to be reminded that the earth doesn't always sit placidly under our feet. Yet the earthquake the UK experienced in the early hours of this morning doesn't bear comparison with the catastrophic quakes of the past or ones predicted for the future.

Wanted: One quantum searchlight

While astronomers have welcomed the stay of execution for UK involvement in the Gemini telescope, there's been no such good news for particle physicists: in fact it gets worse with recent reports confirming that the UK will withdraw from the International Linear Collider (

Where man meets machine

'Fusion' was the theme for last night's lecture in the series celebrating Oxford's Centenary of Engineering Science. But this wasn't the fusion at the heart of our sun but the fusion of ideas, techniques and talents that is biomedical engineering.

The exoplanet waltz

For the first time astronomers have found a multi-planet system orbiting another star using gravitational microlensing, today's Science reports.

What price health?

Smokers and obese people cost healthcare systems less than healthy people, according to a new study from Holland reported in PLoS. But that headline doesn't tell the whole story writes Klim McPherson, Professor of Epidemiology at Oxford, in a companion article. The reason for the difference?

Symmetry of everything?

Writing in today's Telegraph Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy deflates the hype surrounding latest media wunderkind Garrett Lisi.

Mercury and BepiColombo

Yesterday the Messenger probe sailed within 125 miles of the surface of Mercury. This closest fly-by of the planet since 1975 has provoked considerable interest ahead of the probe going into orbit in 2011.