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Radar Refractivity: Using Science to Help Forecast Thunderstorms

A Catalyst article explaining how weather forecasts can help keep the public safe in extreme situations by providing advance warnings: for example, airline pilots rely on accurate information about the development of thunderstorms to help them decide which routes might be at risk from lightning or violent...

Publish or Perish: Getting into Print

A Catalyst article explaining what happens when a scientist makes an exciting and new discovery. How do scientists manage to tell as many people as possible, and how can they be sure that someone else has not beaten them to it? Writing and publishing research in scientific journals is a long standing and popular...

Nature Needs You: Labs Without Walls

A Catalyst article about the Open-Air Laboratory (OPAL) project. Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) is an England-wide initiative that has received a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to bring scientists and local communities closer together. The project hopes to uncover new insights into the world by encouraging people to...

Drug Formulation

A Catalyst article describing how a medical drug is made into a form which works well in the body. Medicines rarely contain just one pure chemical substance. The vast majority are made of a complex mixture that contains an active ingredient (the compound that has the desired effect in the body) and compounds called...

Chemistry in a Cage

This Catalyst article explains how zeolites, sponge-like materials developed from naturally occurring minerals, are used as chemical sieves and as catalysts. Zeolites have incredibly widespread applications. They are used in consumer products such as washing powder and cat litter while many of the petrochemicals...

Dorothy Hodgkin - a Life in Science

A Catalyst article about Dorothy Hodgkin who was a pioneering scientist, a peace activist, a mother of three and a Nobel Prize winner. The article looks at her life and work in science. She did valuable work as an X-ray crystallographer and in finding the structure of biologically important molecules such as...

Fishing for Clues

This Catalyst article describes how fish can help scientists to learn more about human biology. Understanding how human bodies work and what causes human disease is the key to future medical breakthroughs. Most discoveries in medical science are a result of experiments that cannot be performed on humans. Animal...

Hooke's Law of Springs

This Catalyst article looks at the work of Robert Hooke, an employee of the Royal Society, Britain's oldest scientific society. His job was to present two or three different experiments each week to the assembled members of the society – and this was at a time when experimentation was new and there were no books of...

Blocking Viruses with Synthetic Receptors

This Catalyst article explains how chemists build molecular 'traps' to mimic the surface of a cell. To scientists, sugar is much more than a food; sugar molecules can also form polymers which act as ‘molecular bar codes’ to help cells recognise each other. The article describes how chemists made a synthetic...

A Love Letter to Science

This Catalyst article describes a film which has been made to provide a range of reasons for students to study science. During the film high profile scientists, writers and teachers describe how science provides the technologies which are used in everyday life, how it can protect the environment and how it protects...

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