A life of service

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Artwork by Mark Palfreyman

Prince Philip, husband and consort of Queen Elizabeth II of England, died on 9th April 2021. The obituaries and epitaphs, of which there have been many, have been united in noting and praising his life of service. There is however something curious about a person who was born into royalty and spent the majority of his life living in pampered opulence being celebrated for selflessness. Continue reading

How’s your legacy?

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Like it or not, most of us are doomed to be rapidly forgotten.

There’s a great moment in Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”, in which the brooding protagonist has been scouring the Earth for the oldest of the immortals. He finds his man in Paris, but is stunned to discover that the world’s oldest vampire is a relative juvenile of just a few hundred years’ age. Armand, the vampire in question, breaks it to him gently – although vampires can theoretically live forever, in practice they tend to fade away after a couple of centuries.

It’s an uncomfortable parable for any scientist, given that an oft-cited lure of the job is that tantalising chance of immortality. Continue reading