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Tom Feilden, Science correspondent, Today programme

Tom Feilden Science correspondent, Today

This is where we can talk about the scientific issues that are making the headlines

Citizen science is the new black

15 October 2013
Milky way at dusk
Enthusiastic amateurs look at images from telescopes and classify galaxies according to their shapes and features.

Citizen science - the trend for involving amateurs in research projects - is all the rage nowadays but is it real science or just good PR?

"This is a blob, nothing too impressive. Oh dear, another blob, these are elliptical galaxies. Ooh look this is a merger..."

The Oxford astronomer Dr Chris Lintott flicks through the first of 70,000 images from UKIDSS, the UK Infrared Deep Sky Survey, that have been posted on the Galaxy Zoo website.

"This one's a disc galaxy, so this might be what the Milky Way looks like from far away," he adds.

The images, which have never been seen before, are part of the latest citizen science project run on the site.

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Reaching Out To The Stars

13 September 2013
An artist rendering of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft in space

Nasa clearly gets it, kicking off its press conference on the Voyager space mission with an impromptu skit based on the iconic opening sequence of Star Trek.

"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the star ship... Voyager. Its mission: to boldly go where no probe has gone before."

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Could avatar therapy succeed where drugs alone have failed?

2 July 2013
Examples of avatars created by patients during the pilot study
Examples of avatars created by patients during the pilot study

A surprising way of helping schizophrenic patients deal with the voices in their heads has emerged and is about undergo a clinical trial.

"You're a thicko."

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Stark warning over the state of nature

22 May 2013
A hedgehog eats cat food from a bowl
Hedgehog numbers have declined greatly, according to the report

Another day, another depressing report detailing the remorseless decline of British wildlife. Some things never change.

And that, in itself, is part of the problem. The constant drip-feed of bad news on the environment has inured us to the litany of loss.

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Building a biological model of mental illness

17 May 2013
Conceptual computer artwork of a DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) double helix
The DEFINE Consortium aims to build on a growing understanding of the genetics of brain function

A team of scientists based at Cardiff University who found that a handful of genes are implicated in a wide range of debilitating neurological conditions have won £5m for further research.

"So the animal has actually gone to the wrong panel. He's swum to the long black panel first and had to change direction to find the platform."

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Is Nasa looking in the wrong place for life?

16 April 2013
Europa, the sixth satellite moon of Jupiter
Europa, a moon of Jupiter, is set to be surveyed by Nasa

The world's leading space agency, Nasa, has an ambitious new Grand Plan: to "identify, capture and relocate" an asteroid.

Outlining the Agency's $17.7 billion budget proposal for 2014, Nasa administrator Charles Bolden said the mission would ensure the United States remained in the forefront of space exploration and scientific discovery for years to come.

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'Cinderella cancer' comes in from the cold

28 March 2013
DaVinci surgical robot
Professor Neil Burnet uses the DaVinci robot to perform prostate surgery

It's a sobering thought for all us carriers of the Y chromosome, but prostate cancer kills almost as many men every year as breast cancer does women.

According to Cancer Research UK some 41, 000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year, but 10,700 will die of the disease, making it the fourth most common cause of cancer death - and second only to lung cancer in men.

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From counting to characterising exoplanets

15 March 2013
An artist's impression of an exoplanet orbiting close to a star
An artist's impression of an exoplanet orbiting close to a star

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We've come a long way since 1995 when Michael Mayor and Didier Queloz claimed the first official detection of an exoplanet orbiting a distant star - the somewhat prosaically named 51 Pegasi b, orbiting a sun-like star some 51 light-years from earth in the constellation Pegasus.

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Keeping up with the Jinzhousauruses

8 February 2013
Cover of The Complete Dinosaur, Second Edition

Where do you go if you want to know everything there is to know about dinosaurs?

Well obviously you could ask any passing nine-year-old boy, but if you can't find one of those you're going to need The Complete Dinosaur, 2nd Edition. Eleven-hundred pages of rigorously researched and engagingly presented dino-facts and figures set out in 45 chapters covering everything from the earliest discoveries to the latest fossil-dating technologies and written by some of the world's leading palaeontologists.

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Which bright spark knocked over the inkwell?

16 January 2013
Wide-field view of the Lupus 3 dark cloud and associated hot young stars
Wide-field view of the Lupus 3 dark cloud and associated hot young stars

A new image from the European Southern Observatory (ESO) provides a remarkable insight into star formation.

It looks like a smear of clumsily spilt black ink, or perhaps (for the more romantically minded), a rip in the star-studded cloak of the cosmos.

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More Correspondents

  • David Shukman David Shukman Science editor

    My perspective on the science issues of the day


  • Matt McGrath Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

    Updates on emerging environmental news


  • Jonathan Amos, Science correspondent Jonathan Amos Science correspondent

    UK and European space and the latest major science stories


  • Fergus Walsh, Medical correspondent Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent

    A focus on the medical and health issues of the day


About Tom

Tom joined the BBC as a general news reporter in 1990, interviewing Mikhail Gorbachev on a train to Cornwall for Radio 1 and covering the conflict in Rwanda before joining the Today programme.

After a brief stint at Newsnight, Tom returned to Today to focus on science and the environment. He covers an eclectic mix of developments in physics and astronomy, medicine, genetics, wildlife and climate change - from super massive black holes to preserving adder habitats.

A former presenter of Radio 4's Costing the Earth, he won a Foreign Press Association award for his series on wildlife in Britain in 2000, and a British Environment and Media Award for his coverage of climate change in 2001.

He should have been part of the Sony award winning team that covered the launch of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in 2008, but sadly the giant atom smasher broke shortly before the awards ceremony and the judges looked elsewhere.

Born in 1964, Tom graduated from Sussex University in 1986. He lives in north London with his partner and three children.

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