James Mitchell Crow is a research chemist by training. He began his science journalism career at Chemistry World magazine, where he was shortlisted for several awards, including Features Writer of the Year at the UK Magazine Design and Journalism Awards. In 2009 he joined New Scientist in London as a features editor. In 2010 he moved to Australia and began working freelance, writing for publications including New Scientist and Nature. In May 2013, James joined COSMOS as deputy editor, where he still manages to slip in the occasional chemistry story.
Why synthesise a yeast genome?
A world-first attempt to build the genome of the yeast used by bakers.
The Synthetic Yeast Genome Project – Sc2.0 for short – is a world-first attempt to build from scratch the genome of t...
Inside the synthetic biology revolution
Satisfying our material needs in a cleaner, greener way.
Imagine a future where synthetic jellyfish roam waterways looking for toxins to destroy, where eco-friendly plastics ...
Four beguiling organisms from beneath the waves
Deep-sea submersibles capture a dazzling light show beneath the waves.
Comb jelly (Beroe cucumis).
Credit: ALEXANDER SEMENOV / Getty Images
1. Comb Jellies
Lights playing across the su...
Spring’s early arrival nothing to celebrate
Shifts in the seasons have potentially dire consequences for finely balanced ecosystems. James Mi...
For a fleeting few days each year in Japan, Kyoto blushes, turning a perfect shade of pink. Cherry trees burst into b...
Four organisms living in extreme conditions
What could they teach us?
It doesn’t seem to matter how inhospitable an environment, there is an organism adapted to live in the extreme condit...
How high will global sea levels rise?
Predicting the rate of Antarctica’s ice melt is tricky business as the rise in global sea levels ...
In the low-lying Netherlands, floating houses such as these in Ijberg, a suburb of Amsterdam, are ready for higher se...
What we have learnt by exploring Mars
Filling in the gaps – but a long way to go.
The Schiaparelli probe made headlines in October 2016 when it crash-landed on Mars. It wasn’t a disaster, though, it ...
Did space weather just fritz your phone?
Vulnerable to damage by particles in the atmosphere.
Ever had your phone shut down in the middle of an important message, or your computer crash as you’re about to click ...
Before the dinosaurs
Welcome to the dawn of the Permian, 290 million years ago.
Reptiles with waterproof skin and eggs are colonising the land. They are not dinosaurs, but synapsids: a group define...
The mastery of convergent evolution
Given the same problem, arrived at the same solution.
Here’s looking at you, squid
Look into the eye of an octopus and you’ll find yourself staring back at one not so d...
Sorghum sows seeds of promise
Ancient African crop could meet a very modern need.
Blame it on the sugar. It’s early May 2015, the middle of southern India’s mercilessly hot dry season, and I’m shelte...
A bird’s eye view of our planet’s nooks and crannies
It’s just a stream of electrons and protons…
The Northern Lights could be mistaken for an iridescent green mist until they dance across the sky, dipping and pirou...
SpaceX lands a Falcon 9 rocket
Reusable rockets are one step closer, after tests show the Falcon 9 rocket that SpaceX returned s...
On December 21 2015, SpaceX made history by successfully landing its Falcon 9 rocket, 10 minutes after lift-off from ...
Dark matter uncovered
Like rain drops on a spinning bicycle wheel…
Most of the matter in the Universe consists of stuff we can’t see. It is dubbed “dark matter” and we know it must be ...
The secret life of gemstones
One photographer’s glimpse of otherworldly spaces.
Los Angeles-based artist Danny Sanchez is a photographer of alien landscapes. But the weird worlds he captures are no...
Ancient Japanese art boosts solar cell efficiency
When engineers apply kirigami paper-cutting techniques to solar cells, performance increases dram...
The ancient Japanese paper-cutting art of kirigami has inspired a simple rooftop solar cell design that can track the...
Charting the molecular diversity on human skin
Anatomical maps shed light on skin’s diversity.
The surface of our skin is a chemical wonderland. That’s what Pieter Dorrestein at the University of California, San ...
Dye crystals up close
Biochemist Linden Gledhill creates art to dye for.
Allura Red AC food dye, imaged using differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy – Linden Gledhill
Moving a robot arm with your mind
Patients with neural implant can now use their mind to control it.
Erik Sorto, a 34-year-old quadriplegic in the US, can control a robotic arm with his mind: when he imagines making ce...
Oldest stone tools ever found
Stone tools made millions of years ago found in Kenya.
A chance find in the Rift Valley of northwest Kenya sheds new light on the history of our species.
Comets paint Mercury black
The riddle of Mercury’s dark complexion is almost solved. James Mitchell Crow explains.
NASA’s Messenger probe to Mercury is heading for a violent end. In a few weeks from now, when its fuel tanks empty, M...
Wasps turn ladybirds into zombies
Parasitic wasp larvae deploy biological weapons.
Adult wasps are not to be messed with – but when they are mere larvae and pupae, they need to be protected from passi...
Why sodium explodes in water
A discovery after revisiting a basic chemistry experiment.
There’s nothing like an explosion to help you learn chemistry. Remember when your high school teacher dropped a lump ...
Language and tool-making may be linked
Language evolved to pass on the skill of stone tool-making.
Ever found yourself gesturing to bemused locals as you try asking for directions in a foreign city? It’s an inkling o...
The man who built organs on chips
Don Ingber is a disruptive influence.
Does Donald Ingber have the best job in science? He thinks so. He directs the Wyss Institute, a biomedical research c...
Live prawns and gamma detectors
Powerful insights into the health of aquatic ecosystems.
Some research subjects can be very uncooperative. When Tom Cresswell started studying freshwater prawns to assess whe...
Dating the ancient past in tiny bites
Carbon dating has revealed ancestors were adept dentists.
A dusty old piece of ancient human jawbone, stored for more than a century in a museum in Trieste, Italy, has given a...
Neutron beams reveal innermost secrets
3D imaging of everything from rocks to jet engines.
Aircraft engineers and palaeontologists might not seem to have much in common but both sets of scientists are set to ...
Inside Syria – the search for sarin
A lot rides on the accuracy of tests for chemical weapons.
Not all chemists wear white coats. Some wear flak jackets, heavy boots and military helmets. And this August, Åke Sel...
Read science facts, not fiction...
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