Science: At Home With Charles Darwin

Down House was Darwin's home

Wednesday's book; On Giants' Shoulders by Melvyn Bragg with Ruth Gardiner (Hodder & Stoughton, pounds 12.99)

I have a special interest in this book: I was one of the people interviewed by Melvyn Bragg for the Radio 4 series (produced by Ruth Gardiner) on which it is based, and which starts today. The concept is brilliantly simple, and provokes a classic "why didn't I think of that" response. In a series of interviews with many leading scientists (including Jocelyn Bell Burnell, John Maynard Smith, Martin Rees and James Watson) and a few lesser mortals such as myself, Bragg explores the contribution made by great scientists, from Archimedes to Crick and Watson, to the development of our understanding of the world.

The science of human rights: Amnesty's latest fear: how our genes may d etermine our fate

If modern biology can disassemble humanity into a kind of molecular Meccano, what sense does it make to talk about human rights? This question is not new. Its classic expression was in Brave New World (written by the brother of a leading biologist of his day), and the most succinct statement of the problem was made by Stewart Brand in the Whole Earth Catalogue 30 years ago, when he said, "We are as Gods, and might as well get good at it."

The prize that could be the death of you

FEELING low, looking for 15 minutes of fame? You have just a month left to come up with a spectacular way to end it all, writes Paul McCann. Nominations for the annual Darwin Awards for the individual who "removes themselves from the gene pool in the most spectacular fashion" close on 1 March.

Science: An expression of the facts

Darwin's masterwork on the unity of the human race went out of fashion and print. Its revival promises to stir up the racial difference debate again

Act like a owl, think like a fox

Why is it that some people thrive in the cut-and-thrust of the business environment, and others fail? The answer may lie in the type of animal cunning employed in your office politicking: are you a fox, a sheep, a donkey or, best of all, a wise owl? John van Maurik reports on a guide to survival - and lethal tactics - in the corporate jungle.

Books: Apes at an angle

Lynne Truss leaps the species barrier and appreciates some clever monkey business in a highly-evolved novel of ideas; Ark Baby by Liz Jensen Bloomsbury, pounds 15.99

Books: Undressing for success

Steven Pinker can explain how our minds frame the world - but not why women enjoy male strippers. Marek Kohn unveils some big ideas

Books: The dismal science

Twins: genes, environment and the mystery of identity by Lawrence Wright Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pounds 14.99 Lifelines: biology, freedom and dete rminism by Steven Rose Allen Lane, pounds 20; Has the all-in-our-genes brigade finally won the great nature versus nurture debate? Not completely, argues Marek Kohn

Letter: Fathers of geology

Sir: This year represents, for scientists, an important double bicentenary - of the death of James Hutton and of the birth of Charles Lyell. These two men, both of them Scots, were the principal founders of the science of geology. At the time of their work, the formation of rocks was considered by some to be a product of great floods or other major terrestrial catastrophes, a consequence of the direct will of God. It was these two who turned wild speculation into good science.

A short step from different to undesirable

Britain's role in the move to purify Europe's races

Letter: Don't blame the helpless ME patient

Sir: ME is not an illness of the mid-Eighties. It simply became more recognised at that time. In the 19th century people such as Charles Darwin and Florence Nightingale had its symptoms.

EVOLUTION: Study of lizards proves Darwin was right

Scientists believe they have proved Charles Darwin was right by setting lizards on different evolutionary paths and watching the results. Darwin argued in The Origin of the Species that when organisms colonise a new territory they adapt to its conditions and eventually evolve into a new species.

Ape and essence

Marek Kohn snarls at scientists who pretend that chimps can chat

SORRY, BUT YOUR SOUL JUST DIED

It is the great intellectual event of the late 20th century: new discoveries in neuroscience are challenging our established ideas about morality, free will and human nature. But can science really tell the whole story?
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis