Philosophical Transactions A and B are the Royal Society’s Theme Issue journals, publishing collections of papers on emerging, interdisciplinary topics across the sciences. Take a look at the Theme Issues we published in Philosophical Transactions in August. Publications covered human communication, the origin of the Moon, epigenetics in the brain and sustained marine observations in the UK.

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RSTB_369_1651_Cover_RSTB_369_1651_CoverLanguage as a multimodal phenomenon: implications for language learning, processing and evolution

Editors: Gabriella Vigliocco, Pamela Perniss, Robin Thompson and David Vinson

We seldom communicate just using language by itself; face-to-face communication includes meaningful information conveyed by the tone of voice, facial expressions, and movement of the hands, head and body. This theme issue discusses how taking a broader, multimodal approach to the study of language, seeing language as part of a broader system of human communication, may change the way we think about the nature of language: how it is learned, how it is used, and how it may have developed in the first place.


Acrylic painting by William K. Hartmann, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson.Origin of the Moon: challenges and prospects

Editors: David Stevenson and Alex Halliday

It is now widely accepted that the Moon formed as the result of a giant impact between the Earth and another planetary body. More powerful computational modelling and the improved precision with which scientists can measure the composition of lunar rocks are allowing a greater understanding of where the Moon came from, but there are still many mysteries remaining. This issue brings together contributions from leading scientists looking to understand the origin of the Moon.


RSTB_369_1652 Cover_RSTB_369_1652_CoverEpigenetic information-processing mechanisms in the brain

Editors: Lawrence Edelstein, John Smythies and Denis Noble

Epigenetic factors largely consist of nucleic acids and proteins which control the expression of genes but do not alter the DNA sequence. Within the past decade their discovery has exploded into a major development in the biological sciences, including in neuroscience. MicroRNAs, protein transcription factors and extracellular vesicles play a significant role in practically every aspect of brain function, including information-processing mechanisms. This theme issue presents a broad and timely overview of some of the most promising areas of neuroepigenetic research by leaders in their respective fields.


untitledA prospectus for UK marine sustained observations

Editors: Anna E. Hickman, Clare F. Postlethwaite, Philip L. Woodworth, Abigail McQuatters-Gollop and Harry L. Bryden

Observing changes in the oceans is an important task in order to make informed decisions about issues such as fishing, coastal defence, and the impact of climate change. However, these observations need to be sustained over years, or even decades, in order to provide reliable data. The papers in this issue reflect on the contribution that UK sustained observations have made to science and society, and present a vision for the future.

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