The mystery of how our cells respond to everything from taste to light to hormones like adrenalin is the subject of this year's Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Two US scientists - Robert Lefkowitz and Brian Kobilka - have been given the award for their research into what are known as 'receptors' - parts of the cell that are responsible for communication with the outside world. It's with the help of receptors that medications are able to have an effect.
Sir John Gurdon is relishing the story about his failings at school and how his teachers ridiculed any notion that he might pursue a career as a scientist. Dressed casually in a sweater, and rushed from his labs in Cambridge to face the world's media, a fine sense of humour allowed him to take today's tumult in his stride. When I met him, he admitted to being bemused that a Nobel attracted so much more attention than any other prize. I asked what he thought of the 50-year gap between publishing his ground-breaking paper, in 1962, and winning the award only now. Actually, he said, the experiment on the frog cells was carried out back in 1958 - "rather a long time ago", but he said, with infinite patience, that science works best by making sure one's theories are right.
Silencing the gene responsible for the allergenic protein Betalactoglobulin (BLG) is a clever approach to making cow's milk more palatable. But several difficult challenges stand between this achievement and a product that parents might feed to their infants.
The mystery of Daisy's missing tail is just one of those. It won't affect the milk obviously but it's the kind of flaw that may leave many people feeling uneasy - and anti-GM campaigners will highlight it.
Dig into the history of polar exploration and you might wonder what all the fuss is about with this month's news of a record sea-ice melt in the Arctic.
In 1893, the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen ventured through the "titanic forces" of the ice, amid the "howlings and thunderings" of the floes splitting around his ship, the Fram, but then found himself in a stretch of open water.
It's difficult to grasp the scale of this but picture about a dozen United Kingdoms lined up side by side: that's how much more sea ice has vanished beyond the average amount left at the end the summer over the past 30 years.
This is a bigger, faster, more dramatic melt than anyone would have imagined possible even a few years ago. The most striking impression during a visit to Svalbard earlier this month was the look of shock on the faces of the scientists.
At 79 degrees North, deep inside the Arctic Circle, a research base offers a fascinating glimpse of what life may be like in some future human outpost on a distant planet.
As the world's most northerly permanent polar settlement, the huddle of buildings at Ny Alesund in Svalbard has the feel of a cross between a department of the United Nations and a miniature university campus.
The day I watched Curiosity being built in a clean room at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena last year, the rover's six wheels were lying on one work bench while the chassis stood on another and it was hard to believe the white-suited engineers could make sense of the maze of tubes and cabling.
But what they've created now stands on the red soil of Mars - and it's in one piece. In the hallway of a JPL building we were shown a full-size replica. Walking around it made me realise something difficult to grasp from the pictures and video: this is a beast of a machine, a kind of cosmic Humvee with instruments instead of weapons.
Along the highway linking the luxury hotels of Copacabana and the conference halls of the Rio+20 summit, the darkened windows of the VIP limousines will not have offered a clear view of the crowded hillside known as Rocinha.
Pronounced "Hosinia", this dense mass of tiny dwellings perched beneath a series of grey cliffs holds the dubious title of being Brazil's largest favela - a tightly-knit community of 120,000.
In the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, giant diggers tear into the rock 24 hours a day to extract a dark grey ore rich in the iron on which every modern economy depends.
The Carajas complex is the largest iron ore mine on the planet and at any one time 3,000 people are toiling here in the tropical heat using a fleet of giant machines including trucks the size of houses.
Twenty years ago David visited the secret lab at Los Alamos that created the nuclear bomb and he's been fascinated by science and scientists ever since. His reports on research have taken him as far afield as the Antarctic ice-sheet, the Amazon rainforest and the depths of the Gulf of Mexico.
Since joining the BBC back in 1983, David has covered Northern Ireland, defence, Europe and world affairs. He is the author of three books.
His favourite memories include reporting from East Berlin during the fall of the Wall and exploring the tunnels of the Large Hadron Collider on a bike.
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