Category archives: Humanities & Social Sciences

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

GeosciencesHistory

By Invited Researcher

Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, University of Pretoria On many beaches around the Indian Ocean, keen observers may spot bits of broken pottery. Washed smooth by the ocean, these shards are in all likelihood hundreds of years old, from centres of ceramic production like the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the […]

The ‘prehistory’ of philosophy of science (5):  What a beautiful world!

The ‘prehistory’ of philosophy of science (5): What a beautiful world!

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

We shall conclude with this entry our discussion of Plato’s view of science, the main conclusions of the two former ones being, in the first place, the idea that ‘scientific knowledge’ (epistēmē) consists in the knowledge of eternal, intelligible Forms, whereas material things are imperfect copies of the former, and only graspable with an imperfect […]

Fake news: the third-person effect

Fake news: the third-person effect

Sociology

By Invited Researcher

The third person effect phenomenon was described by Davidson in 1983 . People tend to think that media influence other people more than themselves. This self reinforcement is a key mechanism to understand the different effects caused by the media on their audience, since people are motivated to maintain a positive image of themselves by […]

How can we improve the communication between mathematics and life sciences?

How can we improve the communication between mathematics and life sciences?

BiologyMathematicsSociology

By Pablo Rodríguez Sánchez

Preamble In the period 2015-2019, I was hired as a mathematician by a biology department in order to perform a research that eventually would become my doctoral thesis. This text is adapted from the last chapter of that thesis, “Cycles and interactions: A mathematician among biologists” (full text available here). The symbiosis between mathematics and […]

When did we become fully human? What fossils and DNA tell us about the evolution of modern intelligence

When did we become fully human? What fossils and DNA tell us about the evolution of modern intelligence

Anthropology

By Invited Researcher

When did something like us first appear on the planet? It turns out there’s remarkably little agreement on this question. Fossils and DNA suggest people looking like us, anatomically modern Homo sapiens, evolved around 300,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archaeology – tools, artefacts, cave art – suggest that complex technology and cultures, “behavioural modernity”, evolved more […]