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After working in universities for 30 years as a biomedical scientist, I took early retirement in 2009 and moved to Devon. I am Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Reading and writing is now my principal occupation. I write about science and about nature with a particular focus on how science fits in to society.
Spectacular sunrises and sunsets often leave us elated: even more so in times as emotional as today. philip explains some of the science behind our memorable experiences. It was still early and I was in the kitchen, making cups Read more »
Gateway to the Jurassic Coast The East Devon and Dorset coast, popularly known as the Jurassic Coast, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in 2001 putting it on a par with the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef. Read more »
I’ve driven along the coast road eastwards from Burton Bradstock many times but the view as the road levels out at the top of the first hill never fails to lift my spirits. That first glimpse of the sea. Those Read more »
When the Lockdown travel restrictions were eased just over a month ago, we took the opportunity to venture further afield for our exercise walks. So, towards the end of May, we drove up to Two Bridges, high on Dartmoor, for Read more »
This year sees the 250th anniversary of the birth of the English romantic poet William Wordsworth. One of his most famous poems, Daffodils was inspired by an extensive drift of the flowers he encountered growing along the shores of Ullswater Read more »
It was the video that clinched it! I’d read the reports of starlings gathering in their thousands at sunset over Chesil Beach but when I saw the video of their murmuration and the liquid patterns they carve in the sky, Read more »
Midwinter fire ceremonies were once very popular in the UK, especially in rural communities. People gathered around the hearth in a noisy, joyous celebration, with the fire bringing light into the darkness of winter. These ceremonies probably have a pagan Read more »
Towards the end of July, I visited the Maer, a nature reserve situated at the eastern end of the promenade in Exmouth. With its sand dunes and sandy grassland, the Maer is a remnant of a much larger dune system Read more »
Nearly 180 years ago, about three miles west of Lyme Regis, a huge chunk of the East Devon coast split off to form a plateau separated from the mainland by a deep, dry ravine. This was the largest movement of Read more »
The Cirl Bunting is an attractive songbird once found throughout the southern half of the UK. Its numbers declined precipitously in the second half of the 20th century following changes in farming practice and, by the late 1980s, it was Read more »