Lucy in the sky with diamonds and butterflies

A butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can produce a tornado in Texas. The author of this poetic image was Edward Lorenz, a meteorologist who in 1972 explained how small changes in a system as complex as the atmosphere can…


Crispr-Cas9, the gene factory

DNA is like an alphabet with only four letters (G, T, A, C) written one after another. A, C, G, T are the initials of the four molecules that encode life: adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine. Four letters that, combined…


World Food Day 2018

The United Nations food and agriculture organisation (FAO) celebrates the  il World Food Day each year on 16 October, with the aim of raising public awareness of the topics of hunger and malnutrition. The ambitious goal is to succeed in…


The forms of water

Drinking a glass of water is the most simplest act in the world. Or rather, in this world. Very special and very rare conditions must occur in order for water to be liquid: our planet is a marvellous exception. Water…


Citizen science, research conducted by ordinary citizens

When we think of scientists, we often imagine people wearing white coats, shut up in a laboratory working with test tubes and sensitive instruments or engaged in complex equations, dealing with matters that are  unintelligible to ordinary folk. However, this…


Oceans of plastic

From the soles of shoes to contact lenses, from the smartphones we carry around in our pockets to the toothpaste we use every day to clean our teeth, there is no doubt: we live in the plastic era. Everywhere around…


Water grabbing

“Clear, sweet fresh water,” wrote Petrarch, by many considered a precursor of Italian literature. Before him, St. Francis dedicated two of the first lines of his world-famous Canticle of the Creatures to water: “Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister…


Animal architecture, both elegance and precision

Homes, dams, artistic installations. We are often inclined to believe that humans are the only animals able to erect buildings and other constructions that modify the environment to their own advantage, but read here and you will find otherwise!  From…


Tornadoes and waterspouts: phenomena that (also) occur in Italy

When we talk about tornadoes, our thoughts immediately go to the immense American plains and the area known as “tornado alley”, a vast corridor extending over several states in the central region of the USA, where tornadoes very frequently form.…

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