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Luhman 16B is the nearest brown dwarf to Earth, and the third nearest star system to our solar system

In what sense is HS2 plan progress?

I am pro-public transport and so are the Wildlife Trusts. The trusts have furnished HS2 with a huge amount of information about the impact of the proposed routes, and so far there's been no recognition of that information being received or, more importantly, taken into account.

Sir David (above) said Professor Brian Cox was the man 'to carry the torch'

And so the older male makes way for a younger rival... David Attenborough reveals his choice of successor: Professor Brian Cox

After six decades of bringing the wonders of the natural world to television audiences, Sir David Attenborough has finally anointed a successor.

David Attenborough narrated Africa, but China Central Television was also a key contributor

Chinese state funds behind BBC's Attenborough series

Viewers hypnotised by the BBC's landmark series Africa, with its stunning images of fighting giraffes and baby turtles scuttling into the sea, are watching pictures partly funded by the state of China, it can be disclosed.

Earth was hit by gamma ray burst from space in eighth century, say scientists

A massive cosmic explosion in deep space sent out a pulse of high-energy radiation that hit the Earth between the years 774AD and 775AD when the emperor Charlemagne ruled much of Western Europe, scientists have found.

Book of a lifetime: Casgliad o Ysgrifau by TH Parry-Williams

Casgliad o Ysgrifau, by TH Parry-Williams, is the book of its author's lifetime. It brings together nearly all of the short essays that he published between 1928 and 1966, and in which he regularly cast back to his early childhood in Snowdonia. In my opinion, ysgrifau is better translated with the more literal "writings". For, more than anything else, Parry-Williams used the form to write out what Konstantin Mochulsky, referring to Dostoevsky, called the "enigma of his personality".

Postcard from... Cern

It's just another day of digital carnage in the Hadron Collider, the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.

Balloons, a blimp and deep sea divers all require helium

A ballooning problem: the great helium shortage

It’s used in everything from kids parties to medicine – but now supplies are running so low scientists want to ration it. Steve Connor reports on the great helium shortage

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk, Thursday 3 January

Volcano visit

Page 3 Profile: Stephen Hawking, physicist

Another incredible discovery for the world famous scientist?

2012 breakthroughs: Curiosity rover landing system

Scientific breakthroughs: From bone fragments to Higgs boson, the tiny finds with huge consequences

Winners of this year’s best breakthroughs revealed

Toyota's violin-playing robot plays at Tokyo's Universal Design Showcase in 2007

Vaccines will wipe out drug addiction and other predictions for the next century

Should you be lucky enough to survive Friday's apocalypse, there's lots to look forward to in the next 110 years (and a few things to be screamingly terrified of).

Mary Dejevsky: Why I would want to carry a gun in the US

Now is not a good time to admit this, but when I went to Washington as correspondent in 1997, I had two ambitions. The first was to become proficient in Spanish – for demographic reasons that are even more obvious now than they were then – the second was to learn to shoot.

A cosmic collision: Two satellites due to smash into surface of the moon… but don't worry, it was all planned by Nasa

NASA has deliberately guided the twin satellites into a cliff close to the moon’s northern pole

The Emperor's New Clothes (16/12/12)

Need a degree to get on? Not if our most respected experts are anything to go by, says English graduate Matthew Bell

Higgs zombies? CERN students make 'scientist fiction' film in Large Hadron Collider

Murderous zombies are stalking the dark underground passageways of the renowned CERN physics centre near Geneva, hunting young scientists who have survived a devastating failure in its world-famous particle collider.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 15 May 2015
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test