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Oh dear, I’m seriously struggling to keep up this blog at the moment. Europe is just so distracting! So many pretty things to see and history to learn, when I get home I usually just zonk out and berate myself silently for not having the strength to blog.

I did see another cool clock today, it was a sphere with the daylight hours in gold and the nights in black, and it had a circle marking the seconds, the hours, and the day of the week (at least, I think that’s what it said – it was in Czech.)

I’d appreciate any advice on how to keep this blog cooking while I’m so distracted by things. Should I write short articles about things I see that are sciencey (like the astronomical clocks), or start a google alert and write about ever mention of one specific topic – leprosy, maybe? Dinosaurs? Ancient medical treatments for gout?

Anyway, a lot has happened since I’ve been galavanting in Germany and the Czech Republic, such as the Nobel Prize Ceremony. Woo! Only the biggest science event of the year, tiny thing like that, you might not have heard about it.

I was really pleased to hear the Nobel Prize for Medicine going to the people who showed how to turn adult cells into embryo-like stem cells. What a brilliant way to dodge a tricky ethical issue! Mushing up embryos to treat other humans is some shade of grey, so why not take the cells from a consenting adult! An added bonus, you can take cells from a sick person, transform them into stem cells, then use them back into the same person – no organ rejection.

The physics one was so fitting, because it was for for “ground-breaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems”, and quantum optics is such a vast and growing field. I feel like it will be the future of computing, it has that same latent excitement that I imagine early computer scientists would have felt decades ago. If there’s anything I should tag on my google alerts, it should be quantum computing and optics.

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded for studies in G-protein-coupled receptors, a group of receptors that allow cells to sense their environment, picking up sensitive chemical cues like smells and tastes. According to the press release, half of all medications work by triggering G-protein-coupled receptors.

On a non-science note, the Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Mo Yan “who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary.” Sounds really cool! I haven’t read any of his work, but I’m pretty keen. It sounds similar to the magical realism in Like Water for Chocolate.

Well, I have to go pack my bags now! Moving towns again, and have a train to catch in the morning. I’ll try to do better and update more often! Any advice/support really appreciated 🙂