The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Mark Haddon’s novel — which was adapted into a play in 2012 — begins as a murder mystery: someone has killed Christopher Boone’s neighbour’s dog, Wellington. And when someone is murdered, Christopher reasons, you have to find out who is responsible. But Christopher has “behavioural problems” that make launching a murder investigation quite difficult. He does not like to talk to strangers, or go to new places and he does not understand emotions. Unfortunately, he begins to discover that Wellington’s death is part of a far bigger web of lies and deceit in his own family — and he is forced to confront all of the things he most fears.
Christopher never describes himself as having Asperger’s Syndrome, but it is widely accepted that this is the condition the novel explores in such detail. It is a form of autism which is often associated with high levels of intelligence, and a difficulty understanding social situations.
Scientists claim humans have only four emotions
New research released this month shows that all human emotions can be reduced to just four basic facial expressions. Is our species less complex than we like to think?
Susan Boyle ‘relieved’ by Asperger’s diagnosis
A singer who shot to fame on a TV talent show has revealed she has felt ‘more relaxed’ since being diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder. Why do such labels matter?
Autistic? Come work for us! says software firm
Most people with autism are capable of work and keen to find it, yet prejudice stands in their way. Now a German technology company wants to tap this neglected talent.
For Christopher, truth is simple: something is true or it isn’t. He hates lies — he even hates novels and metaphors, because they are a form of lying. This is why he finds comfort in science and maths. But, as the adults around him know all too well, truth can also be extremely subjective.
Liars beware: new truth test unveiled
Scientists claim to have developed the most accurate lie detector yet, by analysing body movements for signs of guilt. But do the ethical pitfalls of truth tests outweigh their benefits?
Elie Wiesel: a great moral voice is silent
The author of Night, an eye-witness account of the Holocaust, has died. His work raises a hard question about how to approach truth: direct testimony or the power of imaginative fiction?
‘Nobel poet poisoned?’ New probe launched
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is beloved in his own country and abroad. Yet many suspect that he was poisoned by his own government. Should Chile pursue the truth or let sleeping dogs lie?
As he tells his story, Christopher often veers off into digressions about maths, logic and science — subjects he excels at. This is the reality he understands, and it is why he finds the illogical, disordered world of London so overwhelming. Does he have a point?
Born to argue: the new theory of rational thought
A new theory has caused a storm among psychologists by suggesting that rational thought is a way to win fights and that faulty reasoning may actually be a good thing.
Data wizards put pundits’ predictions to shame
Going against almost all political pundits, statistician Nate Silver has been branded a genius and a witch. But his secret is simple: mathematics.
Twitter bamboozled as logic puzzle goes viral
A question from a Singaporean maths test left thousands of people scratching their heads after it was spread by social media. What on Earth is the explanation for this improbable scenario?
Being alone is not scary to Christopher — in fact, it is one of the only times that he can feel truly free, away from the messy and confusing influences of other people. He even fantasises about being the only person left alive on the Earth. Does isolation have to be a bad thing?
Boy, lost for 25 years, finds home on Google Earth
Saroo Brierley was five when he woke up alone on a train in Calcutta. He thought he would never see his family again. Two decades on, modern technology has helped him find his way home at last.
Mental health strained by mock Mars mission
They were six of the most resilient astronauts around. But trapped in a room for 17 months on a simulated voyage to Mars, their minds began to crack. Are we too fragile for life off-planet?
Loneliness ‘epidemic’: modern life under fire
A BBC analysis last night exposed the rise of loneliness in Britain. Are technological, social and working changes making us isolated, or should we take more responsibility for ourselves?
Like all teenagers, Christopher dreams of being independent one day, although he admits that he will find this more difficult than others. But, at their heart, coming-of-age stories all share similar themes: overcoming fears, taking risks, and learning what is really important.
‘Be great, be grateful’ says sick teenager
In a moving speech, terminally-ill Jake Bailey told his classmates to be ‘micro-ambitious’ and focus only on short-term goals. Is it time to abandon grand visions and start living for now?
Teenagers want jobs not glamour, study finds
A huge survey of Britain’s teens reveals a sober-minded generation, more interested in hard work than fame and fortune. Does ‘Generation A’ have what it takes to survive a challenging future?
Teenagers prepare for the Olympic spotlight
In little more than a fortnight, athletes from around the world will gather in Rio for sport’s highest honour: the Olympic Games. And some of those athletes will still be in their teens.