Return of the science cookies!

October 6, 2011 at 9:56 am | Posted in 40th birthday celebrations, Competition, Cooking with science, Do | Leave a comment
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This month we’re lucky enough to have a selection of cookies made by Quirky Cookies & Cakes aka Wendy – a self-confessed science groupie and geek – and her analytical chemist husband, Jason.

Working from their home in Derbyshire since 2009, Wendy has produced her bespoke biscuits and cakes using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible.  Each cookie is made to her own recipe, and intricately decorated with royal icing, and would make a fabulous addition to any celebration – our favourite is the exploding supernova, which has space dust on it so it also explodes in your mouth!

Wendy and Jason love a challenge, and if they haven’t got a suitable shape in their collection of over 500 different cutters they can even make their own. Quirky Cookies and Cakes welcome orders, just e-mail, call 01332 610997 or send a tweet to @quirkycookies Check out a selection of their cookies at

To be in with a chance of winning a fabulous selection of science cookies, just email your name, address and organisation/institution to by 28th October.


Happy birthday to us…

October 3, 2011 at 8:50 am | Posted in 40th birthday celebrations, Editorial Comment | Leave a comment

Welcome to the 40th anniversary edition of Laboratory News! I am pleased and indeed very proud to bring you this special birthday edition.

Starting on p15 you’ll find a special anniversary section where we celebrate the last 40 years of the magazine, and the science and people that have played a part in it. On page 16 we hear from some previous editors – each has put their own inimitable stamp on the publication over the years and each has contributed to the magazine it has become. But of course we aren’t just celebrating the magazine as it is today; throughout the last 40 years Lab News has been a stalwart of the science community – and it is a community that has seen many changes and challenges. On page 18 we take a look at a few past headlines, some of them particularly reflective of today’s scientific climate.

Of course science itself has advanced in ways that would astonish the team that worked on the launch issue of Laboratory News back in 1971 – and on page 20 we have charted some of the highlights of scientific discovery and development over that time. But if you think we have missed something, or would just like to comment then please do e-mail me – as always I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Just as important as what we have seen over the past 40 years is what the next 40 may hold. On page 24 some good friends of the magazine give their fascinating insights into what course we might expect science to take in the future.

Like any good retrospective however, my aim isn’t just simple nostalgia – we must endeavour to look back and learn from history. These are challenging times for UK science, yet something that has become evident from looking back over past issues of the magazine is that science has always faced barriers. Headlines involving a funding crisis, job security issues, and education apprehensions have adorned our news pages for as long as they have existed – and this is no different today.

I hope you enjoy the issue, and I hope that it might go some way to framing the problems – and the potential successes – that science faces today and in the future. But most of all I’d like to thank you, the readers. This is your magazine and it is down to you that it has gone from strength to strength. Happy Birthday Laboratory News – and here’s to the next 40!

The office party…why we get drunk

September 22, 2011 at 10:44 am | Posted in 40th birthday celebrations, Editorial Comment | 2 Comments
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Its our 40th birthday next month – hurrah – and we intend to celebrate. But just like the office Christmas party, we need to make sure we don’t embarrass ourselves by getting too intoxicated!

Why is it that we always get drunk at the office party? New research from the University of Birmingham – published in Alcohol and Alcoholism – suggests drinking in an unfamiliar environment can lead to an inability to reign in unsuitable behaviour. When drinking in familiar environments, we learn a conditioned compensatory response that enables us to learn the anticipated effects of alcohol – but when in an unfamilar context we lose this response say researchers.

“The implications for drinking in a real life situation are that if you have an alcoholic drink somewhere new, for example, at the office party or in some other environment that you don’t associate with alcohol, you may experience more of these effects of disinhibition because you lack the conditioned compensatory response that you would experience in your usual drinking environment,” said Dr Suzanne Higgs, lead investigator.

So our advice – once you know where the office party is going to be – head over there for a few drinks before the night – it might just save embarrassment!

It’s our birthday soon…

July 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Posted in 40th birthday celebrations, Lab News videos | Leave a comment
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Laboratory News celebrates its 40th anniversary in October and in preparation for our birthday edition we’ve been trawling the archives finding out how we’ve changed since the first issue back in 1971. Much has changed with the magazine in that time, as it has with science – from the Space Shuttle program which launched the ISS and Hubble Telescope, to sequencing the entire human genome and cloning Dolly the sheep.

We’d love to know what you consider to be the most significant scientific advance of the last 40 years – justlet us know. We’ll collate your responses and publish a Laboratory News top 10 in our October issue. If you’d also like to write a little on why you think your choice is so significant then we may even publish that as well!

What about life in the lab over that time? What has changed? What has remained steadfastly the same? We love to know your thoughts on life as a scientist over the past 40 years or so.

We’re also hoping to get in touch with past editors, writers, contributors and advertisers – please get in touch if you can help us trace them.

As always this is your publication – so please do get in touch, we really do value your input.

As always the address is

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