News

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.

A dose of belief

Medical science finds the placebo hard to swallow. But researchers have plenty of evidence for the mind's beneficial effect on real physical symptoms.

Feel it in your bone cells

Bones, it turns out, are rather like brains: their cells signal to each other to tell them when to grow. This could be good news for osteoporos is sufferers, writes Simon Hadlington

Clocks call time on Britain's Indian summer

Charge up your Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps, stock up on anti-freeze and warm your socks, for the end of the Indian Summer is nigh. Winter is upon us, with its associations of crumpets by the fire but also the threat of SAD and the dreaded countdown to Christmas.

Obituaries: Mark Efimovitch Vol'pin

Mark Efimovitch Vol'pin was a chemist of genius and one of Russia's leading scientists. He started his career as an organic chemist, then moved into organometallic chemistry, and ended it in bio-organic chemistry. From 1988 he was the director of the A.N. Nesmeyanov Institute of Organo- element Compounds (INEOS) of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

SCIENCE: HOLDING BACK THE YEARS (MAYBE)

Gene therapy could one day provide a treatment for cancer, or even halt the human ageing process, claim those who are developing this fledgeling science. But in America John Hands discovers commercial interests and intellectual rivalries are causing dissent

Obituary: Professor Thomas ap Rees

Thomas ap Rees, Professor of Botany and Head of Plant Sciences at Cambridge, was killed on 3 October cycling the six or so miles home from work - something he did almost every night of his life in Cambridge.

Books: Something nasty in the cistern

What if Hitler hadn't been born? Hugo Barnacle investigates; Making History by Stephen Fry Hutchinson, pounds 15.99

A lost mother, a lost world; BOOK REVIEW

The Scent of Dried Roses Tim Lott Viking, pounds 16

OBITUARY : Norman Aldridge

Norman Aldridge was regarded by his peers as one of the most thoughtful and influential toxicologists of our time.

Obituary: A. G. Ogston

Alexander George ("Sandy") Ogston had a gentle but critical mind. He conveyed to his Oxford undergraduate students, of whom I was one, the need to keep in mind a simple question that is still relevant after half a century - "Is the conclusion sensible?"; or, as he would have put it, "Is it thermodynamically reasonable?"

Letter: Germ war

The arrogance of the Darwinian doctors never ceases to amaze me. For the past few decades, they have supported a system of medicine based largely on drug suppression of symptoms, and totally derided everything else. Now, according to Kenan Malik ("Why illness means health", Review, 23 June), they claim credit for common-sense ideas one can read any day in journals sympathetic to alternative and complementary medicine.

The mystery unfolds ...

Cracking the 'folding' code of protein molecules could help us to tackle such diseases as Alzheimer's, says Simon Hadlington

obituaries: Professor Geoffrey Dawes

May I add briefly to the obituaries of Professor Geoffrey Dawes [by Professor C.W.G. Redman and Dr John Walker, 16 May]? writes Professor Gustav Born.

How in-laws could save your life

Asha was successful. She had everything. Why then would she try to commit suicide?

OBITUARY : Brun Straub

Brun Straub was one of the most familiar public faces of science in Hungary for over 30 years. But few of his compatriots would have expected that he would also play a walk-on part in Hungary's turbulent political history. He did so briefly when he took on the almost entirely ceremonial post of head of state in 1988 in the twilight era of Hungarian Communism. An amateur politician, he was at the time the only non-Communist president in Eastern Europe.
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Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing