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 Rowan Hooper

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Rowan Hooper
Rowan Hooper has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from Sheffield University, UK, and he worked as an insect biologist in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, for five years before spending a two-year period at The Japan Times in Tokyo. He is now news editor for New Scientist magazine, based in London.
For Rowan Hooper's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jul 26, 2019
The happiness of the otaku: Daydreaming to well-being
Using the imagination to daydream may be more useful than we thought. But who would have guessed that a key to unlocking its benefits would be pursuing manga, anime and games — otherwise known as "otaku" culture.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jun 20, 2019
Revealed: What happened, physically, to the city of Hiroshima after the A-bomb
Everyone in Japan knows that on Aug. 6, 1945, a nuclear bomb destroyed Hiroshima. But what happened to the mass of building debris that was swept up to disappear in the giant mushroom cloud?
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
May 28, 2019
Japanese scientist puts forward theory to solve 50-year moon rock mystery (it's not cheese)
The moon was formed when it was washed out of the right eye of the god of the land while he was bathing. Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, the moon god of Japanese folklore, then lived forever in the heavens after climbing a giant celestial ladder from his father's bathroom.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Mar 22, 2019
How many times do we have to die before we are dead?
Thanatometabolomics, a new field of science that looks at how biomarkers can help determine time of death, brings up new questions on the definition of "dead"
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Feb 24, 2019
There's so much that bonobos and chimps can teach humans
About 6 million years ago in Africa there was an ape species that would change the world. We don't know much about that animal, but we do know that one population separated from the rest and would eventually evolve into our species, Homo sapiens.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jan 25, 2019
Japan's commercial whaling may have two silver linings: freeing up the IWC and sparing the Southern Ocean
The condemnation of Japan became louder with the announcement that Tokyo would leave the International Whaling Commission, but is there a benefit to this?
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Dec 24, 2018
2018 in science in Japan: Climate change, space exploration and water bears
In casting an eye back over memorable science and environment stories from Japan in 2018, it is impossible to ignore the extreme weather that hit the country.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Nov 23, 2018
The little blind fish that can mend a broken heart
The Mexican tetra is a small and boring-looking animal, but appearances are deceptive. This fish is famous among evolutionary biologists, physiologists and sleep scientists for its hidden talents.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Oct 27, 2018
Salivary glands and other organs grown in laboratory
Organoids, blobs of tissue grown in the lab, could change the face of organ transplants and even pave the way for brain augmentation.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Sep 21, 2018
University of Tokyo student goes the extra trillions of miles to study exoplanets
A Ph.D. student at the University of Tokyo, has recently helped discover 44 planets outside of our solar system. Such planets — known as exoplanets — were until recently only theoretical, and they inspire great excitement among astronomers.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Aug 28, 2018
Get ready for the robot invasion — of our classrooms
We may be wary of trusting robots enough to let them educate our children, but what if children were to help teach them a thing or two?
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jul 28, 2018
Can dolphins teach humans how to come up for air?
A look at new dolphin research may help Japanese pearl and seafood divers and other free divers learn more about countering decompression sickness.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jun 22, 2018
Baobabs a wake-up call for action on climate change
The decline of the baobab, a tree whose longevity has astounded many, is an indication that more needs to be done to prevent climate change.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jun 2, 2018
Memory athletes could be on the right track to a longer life
To memory athlete Akira Haraguchi reciting pi is like chanting the Buddhist mantra and meditating: "Everything that circles around carries the spirit of the Buddha. I think pi is the ultimate example of that."
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Apr 26, 2018
Scientists discover hormone that helps plants sense drought
Plants deserve more credit. They can't move to find food or water, or to escape a predator. But that doesn't mean they are helpless — far from it. They don't have eyes, ears, a nose or mouth, but they can sense the world remarkably well — in some cases better than we can.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Mar 23, 2018
Tiny tardigrades might hold the key to the origin of life
The city of Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture is famous for the three sacred mountains that are central to the practice of Shugendo. In this fascinating fusion of Buddhism and Shinto, disciples climb and descend the thousands of stone steps that lead to the summit of Mount Haguro. The ascetic practice is said to simulate the process of death and rebirth, and in the natural hot springs on Mount Yudono, pilgrims can revive their aching limbs and energize their spirits.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Feb 23, 2018
'Dreamless' mice in Japan help unravel the mystery of sleep
A dream can sometimes stay with us all day, perhaps even longer. Other times we wake up and don't really remember much of what we've dreamed about. But what about other animals? Do they dream? It's a question we'll perhaps never be able to answer — but let's give it a shot.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Jan 27, 2018
'Living' robot implants are nothing to be squeamish about
I think it's safe to assume that Shogo Shimada, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon at the University of Tokyo Hospital, did not start his career thinking he might one day be implanting robots into living animals. Yet that is just what Shimada and a team of surgeons and roboticists from around the world have now achieved.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Dec 23, 2017
A year of discoveries gives scientists something to aim for in 2018
In my round up of this year's science stories I'm going to choose some big ones as well as some stories that made less of an impact but still resonated with me.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Science & Health / NATURAL SELECTIONS
Nov 28, 2017
Bee research may redefine understanding of intelligence
The brain of a honeybee is tiny — the size of a pin head — and contains less than a million neurons, compared to the 85 billion in our own brains. Yet with that sliver of brain, bees can do some extraordinary things. They can count and interpret abstract patterns. Most famously, bees have the ability to communicate the location of flowers to other bees in the hive.

Longform

At the Akan International Crane Center, just north of the city of Kushiro proper, visitors can see the majestic red-crowned crane — a symbol of Hokkaido.
Faces of the north: A Hokkaido town grapples with depopulation