It will be difficult – but not impossible – to detect the chemical breakdown products of any nerve agents that may have been used in the Damascus attack, but access to the victims could be critical in proving the illicit use of chemical weapons.

Obituaries: Professor Arnold Bender

ARNOLD BENDER was a giant in the field of food science and nutrition. He made important contributions to these subjects not only in the basic science but also by building bridges between the two disciplines, between academia and the food industry, bench science and its practical application, scientific research and public understanding.

Single hair can show cancer risk

A SINGLE pubic hair could soon be used to tell doctors whether a woman is likely to develop breast cancer, according to scientists who have developed a potential test for the disease.

Letter: Depressed society

Depressed society

Search engines: On the serendipity of science

IN THE summer of 1987, a team of marine biologists stumbled upon a remarkable object. They were exploring the deeper reaches of the Pacific Ocean in a deep-sea submersible called Alvin when they found the giant skeleton of a blue whale.

Obituary: Lord Phillips of Ellesmere

DAVID PHILLIPS was an outstanding scientist, one of the founding fathers of structural biology and a wise, influential figure in science and government.

GM Foods: Current tests are inadequate protection

We asked Michael Antoniou, molecular geneticist, to explain the dangers

Typhus genes linked to the birth of life

SCIENTISTS HAVE broken the genetic code of one of the biggest killers in the history of infectious disease - and in the process revealed how animals came to breathe oxygen.

Science: Wizard from the world of truth and justice

James Randi is the enemy of psychics, faith healers and spoon- benders, and he's out for blood.

Open Eye: 'What it means to me...'

Three students sum up the experience and benefits of their Master's programmes

Viper's venom may treat cancer

VENOM FROM a poisonous American snake contains a protein that in animal experiments virtually halted the spread of breast cancer to other tissues.

Doctors tell of dangers in CS spray s ing `causes skin blistering'

DOCTORS AT the National Poisons Service say that they have had reports of unexpected adverse health effects of CS spray, including skin blistering.

Podium: Biotechnology comes out in the wash

From a series of lectures by the Professor of Biochemistry at Nottingham University FROM THE farm gate to the consumer's plate" is a phrase I once used to define the food industry, to differentiate it from agriculture. Of course, not all our food and drink comes from the farm. Nor is everything that comes through the farm gate destined for our table. Much agricultural production is devoted to non-food products.

Books: High Noon for the zombies of Wardour St

Soho Black

Jellyfish genes are biological recipe for a luminous lunch

IT COULD spell the beginning of the end for birthday candle makers. An American company is making cakes, icing, drinks, cosmetics and even water that glows in the dark, using light-emitting enzymes derived from deep-sea jellyfish, squid and shrimp.

Outlook: The Biotech buck doesn't stop here

IT IS HARD, reading yesterday's "we did no wrong" circular from British Biotech, to accept that this finally puts the lid on the extraordinary sequence of allegations which have coloured the company's affairs for the last few months. A brave attempt is made to rebut, point by point, the demolition job performed on the company by its former head of research, Dr Andrew Millar, and to some extent it succeeds. Crucially, however, the circular fails to give investors much confidence in the products the company has been developing, nor does it explain adequately why the company allowed, indeed encouraged, expectations of these compounds to become so inflated.
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album