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Often referred to as "Amazing Grace" for a career filled with marvellous achievements, US computer scientist and Navy Rear Admiral, Grace Hopper, was born #onthisday in 1906.

Hopper, who was last month posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer.

Her belief that programming languages should...
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Earth's days are getting longer but you're not likely to notice any time soon.

A new study, published in our Proceedings A journal, reports it would take about 3.3 million years to gain just one minute.

Over the past 27 centuries, the average day has lengthened at a rate of about +1.8 milliseconds (ms) per century [ Ow.ly Link ]

Earth's days getting longer, slower: Study

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The Royal Society
yesterday at 16:00. Facebook
A new study shows polar bear numbers are set to plunge by a third as sea ice melts.

The research, published in our Biology Letters journal, reports that there is a 70 per cent chance the world's largest bear will decline in population by 30 per cent over the next 35 years.

It is the most comprehensive study to date, combining 35 years of satellite data on Arctic sea ice with all known shifts...
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Polar bear numbers to plunge a third as sea ice melts: study

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The Royal Society
yesterday at 12:57. Facebook
The Royal Society
yesterday at 08:30. Facebook
The Great Melbourne Telescope was built by Irish optician Thomas Grubb, and installed at the Melbourne Observatory in Melbourne, Australia in 1869.

It was the second largest telescope operating in the world at time of commissioning, and was designed to explore the nebulae visible from the southern hemisphere. It's particular focus was on any changes that occurred in the nebulae since they...
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The Royal Society
12/07/2016 at 15:30. Facebook
It was #onthisday 340 years ago, Danish astronomer, Ole Rømer, first successfully determined the speed of light.

Galileo had previously attempted to prove light moved at a particular speed in experiments involving lanterns being flashed back and forth from distant hilltops, but this small-scale investigation was not enough to prove his theory.

In 1676, Rømer timed the intervals between...
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The Royal Society
12/07/2016 at 08:30. Facebook
A rare European first edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica is set to raise $1m at auction ow.ly/2zGQ306OQrP
The Royal Society
12/06/2016 at 16:00. Facebook
British chemist George Porter PRS, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1967, was born #onthisday in 1920.

Porter, who served as president of the Royal Society from 1985-1990, was a major contributor to the public understanding of science. He became president of the British Association in 1985 and was the founding Chair of the Committee on the Public Understanding of Science...
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The Royal Society
12/06/2016 at 09:00. Facebook
In this Objectivity episode, Brady learns about the life of accomplished railway engineer Charles Blacker Vignoles, and how he came to receive a highly valuable snuff box from King William I of Württemberg [ Ow.ly Link ]
The Royal Society
12/05/2016 at 09:20. Facebook
Elbert Frank Cox, the first black person in the world to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics, was born #onthisday in 1895.

During his career, Cox faced much prejudice and barriers in education, which arose through racism. After serving in the US Army in France during World War I, he began teaching mathematics and physics at the then all-black, poorly funded West Virginia State College. Professors...
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The Royal Society
12/04/2016 at 09:00. Facebook
Addressing the key concepts and current academic research around unconscious bias.

Our animation, adapted by Professor Uta Frith FRS, looks at how to recognise bias in oneself and others, as well as how to recognise inappropriate advocacy or unreasoned judgement

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The Royal Society
12/03/2016 at 09:00. Facebook
Professor Dame Julia Higgins FRS has spent a lifetime researching the structure and movement of polymeric material.

Trained as a physicist, she was one of the first people to use neutron scattering as a technique to investigate how polymer molecules move, and the first woman to become both a Fellow of the Royal Society and Royal Society of Engineering.

Dame Julia tells The Life Scientific...
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Julia Higgins on polymers, The Life Scientific - BBC Radio 4

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The Royal Society
12/02/2016 at 16:01. Facebook
Is the giant manta ray a "predator of the deep" or a "gentle giant"?

Until recently, it was thought the ray, which can grow up to 7m (23ft) across, was thought to feed on tiny floating animals at the surface. Now, new evidence shows the largest living ray, known as a gentle leviathan, is in fact preying on fish and other animals.

The finding raises questions about the future of the giant...
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'Predator of the deep' or gentle giant? - BBC News

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The Royal Society
12/02/2016 at 08:30. Facebook
This wonderful illustration of 'the four wheel'd orrery' first appeared in a dissertation on the science behind a harvest moon in 1747.

The essay, written upon the Moon's turning round on her own axis, was by Scottish astronomer James Ferguson.

An orrery is a mechanical model of the Solar System, based on Copernican principles [ Ow.ly Link ]
In our anniversary day speech yesterday, our president, Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, warned that onerous restrictions to immigration would be a "disaster" for the UK economy.

Addressing fellows of the Royal Society, he said that science had always been a global enterprise and depended on the free flow of people to bring in new ideas and expertise. That, he said, would need to continue after...
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Curbing immigration spells 'disaster' for science - BBC News

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In our latest Objectivity episode, our outgoing foreign secretary, Professor Sir Martyn Poliakoff, joins Brady and Keith to look at the famous Thomas Young Bakerian lecture, which challenged Isaac Newton's theory of light [ Ow.ly Link ]
Ever wondered what the skull of a seal looks like? In this stunning illustration by William Clift, in 1803, the British naturalist painstakingly captures the skull of a seal "from the South Seas", published in our Philosophical Transactions journal in 1822 [ Ow.ly Link ]
Code-cracking: using computers to understand life’s source codes

How the discovery of 'unstructured' proteins will help us understand complex cellular complexity and causes of human disease including cancer and neurodegeneration.

Our Inside Science blog investigates, ahead of next Wednesday's Francis Crick Prize Lecture 2016 on the subject [ Ow.ly Link ]
North Atlantic deep-sea coral reefs are under threat from the impacts of climate change.

The research, published in our Open Science journal, warns that changes to winter weather conditions could threaten the long-term survival of coral populations. This would upset fragile ecosystems that support an array of marine species [ Ow.ly Link ]

Scottish coral reefs at risk from climate change

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Joseph Priestley FRS was an 18th-century theologian and scientist, often credited with the discovery of oxygen. During his lifetime, Priestley's considerable scientific reputation rested on his invention of soda water, his writings on electricity, and his discovery of several "airs" (gases).

In this Objectivity, Brady and Keith look at one of Priestley's fascinating showpieces from the 18th...
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