hands on

Gymnasts and rock climbers both use chalk, for similar reasons but at some distinctly different altitudes. In the November issue of Chemistry World¬†magazine I wrote a short column about how magnesium carbonate and a pioneering climber tie the two activities together, and about the ethical issue arising from the human traces left behind. There’s also a version of the same article online¬†(paywalled, sometimes).

This month’s other clever science: peering into living brains via optoacoustics, something all set to be big news in neuroscience circles once the wrinkles are ironed out. And: optical fibres are usually stiff and brittle, but soft and squidgy ones might be implantable in the human body, to keep an eye on wound healing or the progress of diseases.