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Rory Wilson and the Magnetic Penguins

The Wellcome Trust has just posted my science writing prize entry (with minor edits, including a couple added typos). Here’s the unedited original:

It’s early May. Along with 15 other Oxford biology students, I am in a seminar as part of a course on ecology and conservation. The room is dark and hot, and the last of the afternoon sunlight streams through a narrow gap in the curtains. But all eyes are fixed on Rory Wilson, a professor visiting from Swansea University. “After we’d made the magnets small enough to fit in their bums,” he explains, “the difficult part was figuring out how powerful to make them.” Continue reading


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