Life and Style

Johanes Kepler, who was born on 27 December 1771, was born near Stuttgart and made his foray into astronomy after he worked as a maths teacher in Graz, Austria - where he became an associate of Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg.

Codebreaker Alan Turing

Alan Turing gets royal pardon for 'gross indecency' – 61 years after he poisoned himself

He was the father of modern computing whose work on the Enigma code at Bletchley Park  is said to have shortened the Second World War.

Peter Higgs is to be honoured with a new £11m space technology centre named after him

The Nobel Prize for Peter Higgs recognises truth in an ancient Greek idea

The old system was familiar, the modern one somewhat more intimidating

Review: What A Wonderful World, By Marcus Chown

Reading a well-written popular science book is one of the great pleasures of modern times, and this guided tour through life, the universe, and everything affords that pleasure in abundance. Marcus Chown takes us by the hand and leads us through the labyrinthine mysteries of the origins of life, evolution, the cells of the body, the brain-boggling brain, electricity (I’ve never understood what that stuff is; I still don’t, but my ignorance is now better-defined), the crazy truths of quantum theory, gravity, time, stars, and black holes. You can get drunk on the sheer strangeness of the theories – for instance, you have an infinite number of doppelgangers, and the nearest one is 10^10^28 metres away. And we may all be holograms.

Book of a lifetime: Cyclopaedia, By Ephraim Chambers

As a historian of 18th-century London, it would be too predictable to choose Samuel Johnson's great Dictionary of 1775 as my choice for a book with enduring impact. There is no doubt that Johnson's work had a pivotal role in defining our modern language, but in terms of cultural significance, there's another book which is almost equally important: Ephraim Chambers's Cyclopaedia.

Google Doodle celebrates French physicist Léon Foucault’s 194th birthday with pendulum tribute

Foucault pendulum is a simple device introduced in 1851 to confirm that the earth rotated

Johnson- Thompson just failed to overhaul her medal rivals in the 800m

World Championships 2013: No medal for 'new Ennis,' but Katarina Johnson-Thompson shows she is here to stay

After missing bronze by just 28 points, she has a bright future to come

The Saturday Quiz answers

1. Pope Francis.

The paper raises the question of whether alien races could have used the gravity of stars to “slingshot” probes in order to gain speed: a technique humans already use for probes, such as the Voyager.

Self-replicating alien space probes could already be in our solar system, say mathematicians

Mathematicians analysed the possibility that probes could travel through space in a study published in the Journal of Astrobiology

Portfolio: Richard Bailey

Tom Lehrer's spring isn't complete without poisoning them in the park; Dick Dastardly dratted and double-dratted himself to near-oblivion chasing one. For the rest of us, it's become all too easy to vilify them as "rats with wings".

Last week, we printed a selection of the world’s most highbrow jokes

More highbrow jokes: We didn’t realise what we were starting

We carried a selection and you responded in kind - here are our favourite 25

Telescope in action at Lingfield

Telescope ruled out of Investec Derby at Epsom

The horse is part owned by Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Michael Stoute has not saddled a Group One winner for nearly three years

Sir Michael Stoute needs Nauticus for Classic relaunch

Top trainer suffering a Group One drought hopes Oaks fancy can shine in York rehearsal

Leonhard Euler - Swiss mathematician considered one of the greatest of all time - honoured by Google Doodle

Euler is known for his work in fluid dynamics, optics and astronomy

The Particle at the End of the Universe, By Sean Carroll

The 'discovery' of the Higgs boson is a great event – but an anticlimax for lovers of the chase

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Ronald Wayne decided to get out just two weeks after Apple was registered for business'

Who knew that Apple – the technology firm, not the record label – had its very own fifth Beatle? The Stu Sutcliffe to Steve Jobs's Lennon and Steve Wozniak's McCartney is Ronald Wayne, now 78 and living alone in a bungalow in Nevada from where he supplements his social security payments by selling stamps and old coins.

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tv'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
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Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
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Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
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Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
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Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
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The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there