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J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling is a pen name of Joanne Rowling, the British author of the children's fantasy series Harry Potter, the crime series Cormoran Strike and other works. Before her first Potter novel was published on 26 June 1997, her mother died from multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1990 and she lived on state assistance as a single parent after her marriage failed in 1993. Separation and loss are reflected in the Potter novels, with death and the divide between good and evil as central themes. Despite receiving mixed reviews for perceived conventional writing, Rowling became the world's highest-paid author by 2008. The series has sold over 500 million copies and spawned a media franchise including films and video games. Rowling has used her wealth to advance political causes, as well as charitable causes centred around MS, women and children. Her views on transgender rights have led to controversy, with critics deeming them transphobic. She has received many accolades for literature and philanthropy. (Full article...)

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Ernest Lawrence's 27-inch (690 mm) cyclotron
Ernest Lawrence's 27-inch (690 mm) cyclotron

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Mourning flowers in Oslo
Mourning flowers in Oslo

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June 26

Liquid fluorine
Liquid fluorine
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Today's featured picture

Diamond firetail

The diamond firetail (Stagonopleura guttata) is a species of estrildid finch that is endemic to Australia. To safeguard their eggs and nestlings, they are often recorded building their nests into the base of the large stick-nest of a bird of prey, such as a whistling kite, white-bellied sea eagle, wedge-tailed eagle, brown falcon, nankeen kestrel, or square-tailed kite; one recorded nest of a whistling kite contained nine diamond firetail nests within. This diamond firetail was photographed in Glen Alice, New South Wales.

Photograph credit: John Harrison

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