Endangered Snails, Parkinsons Disease and Quantum Entanglement

Good morning!

Summer is traditionally a time in the media when not a great deal happens- the so-called “silly season” takes hold of the newspapers as parliament closes down for the summer break(at least in the UK) and most journalists go on holiday. Meanwhile, the media’s remaining skeleton-staff publish mostly “evergreen content” that has been sitting around on various hard drives for a quiet day.

At The Greatest Minds and elsewhere in my professional life, there is the opposite problem- masses and masses to write about that continues to pile up, while I and everyone else are tied up with the sheer volume of work we have to complete on other projects. Still, at least it is not boring.

I mention all of this for two reasons- the first is as a partial explanation for why things have been so quiet on here lately; the second is as a prelude to posting some links below about some of the most interesting science published in recent months.

Take this, for example-

(The sorry tale of the scaly-foot snail, Chrysomallon squamiferum- first animal to be officially declared endangered due to deep-sea mining).

Meanwhile, medical research into brain-conditions is providing interesting findings, for example this research-

underlines once more the significance of the body’s commensal and parasitic bacteria on health. The connection between the intestines and the brain is another theme of this work and it is one that has been flagged up in a fair few other medical studies in recent years.

When I did my first degree (in microbiology) in 1996-1999, really very much less was known about intestinal bacterial ecology or that of the intricate chemical-mediated connection between the gut and brain. The idea of microbial ecology was certainly not unknown- we even had a (rather tedious) course on that exact topic. However, in the last 20 years, the subject has come on so far that it is pretty astonishing, really.

Other big leaps we have seen science make this summer include the first images of quantum entanglement. There is a popular science account of that capture of “the first ever image of quantum entanglement” online here-

Whilst the original research paper on which that article is based is here-

The full reference for that paper is – 

“Imaging Bell-type nonlocal behaviour”
by Paul-Antoine Moreau, Ermes Toninelli, Thomas Gregory, Reuben S. Aspden, Peter A. Morris and Miles J. Padgett, in Science Advances , Vol. 5, no. 7, eaaw2563  ,
Pub: 12th July 2019, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2563

It’s a fascinating finding, in anyone’s book.



  1. Welcome back!
    Is it really rude to say that that poor sea snail is a really ugly fella? I meam, I feel sorry for it, but damn, that's one face only a mother could love...

  2. Understanding quantum mechanics and its implications will change the world. Truly we live in dramatic times. Watch this space.


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