Science should be taught like one of the human-ities – not simply as an apprenticeship for would-be researchers, but also as an aesthetic and spiritual pursuit for everyone: to show us all how wondrous the world really is and how privileged we are to be alive in it. This requires teachers who combine special expertise with broad vision – like the Italian botanist Stefano Mancuso.

Thus, in the fourth of his eight Tree Stories, Mancuso asks why the violins, violas and cellos that were made in and around the Lombardy town of Cremona in the 17th and 18th centuries by Antonio Stradivari, Nicolò Amati, ...


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