Synchronicity was psychologist Carl Jung's attempt to rationalize coincidence. He suggested that it is the phenomenon of experiencing two or more entirely unconnected events as if they were somehow causally related despite there actually being no causal connection. For some reason our brains seem to be wired to find such connections and it explains quite a lot of ancient superstitions as well as the endless hope of lottery players who fail to see it as nothing more than a tax on those ignorant of probability.

Nevertheless, even those of us who claim to reside in the world of science, can succumb to the synchronicitous silliness. So, today, three email press releases (among dozens) caught my eye because they both referred to iron and they were all from Nature publications although arriving separately in feeds from other sources. The first was a release about the Earth's core. Stanford University scientists just reported in Nature Geoscience that the massive ball of iron at the center of our planet is only about 40 percent the strength that previous calculations suggested. The new work carried out by mineral physicists simulated the immense pressures deep in Earth's interior - 3 million atmospheres - and suggests how the core might distort over time, with implications for planetary evolution and perhaps the evolution of worlds beyond the solar system.

The second release discussed how iron played a crucial role in the prebiotic conditions present on the early Earth that presumably gave rise to life. Researchers at Georgia Tech simulated those early conditions and demonstrated that in an oxygen-free environment DNA's kissing cousin, RNA, is capable of catalyzing electron transfer by exploiting iron ions. That work appeared in Nature Chemistry.

The third release was about a paper in Nature Chemistry discussing magnetic blocking in linear iron(I) complex. In that work, from a team at the University of California, Berkeley, discuss the potential of single-molecule magnets that represent the smallest possible unit for spin-based computational device.

I am sure that I'd see more iron if I looked. The synchronicity is obvious: re-melting the planet's iron core, reinvigorating the RNA world theory with iron, and using iron to take us a step closer to Ray Kurzweil's notion of a so-called technological singularity, all within a few billion years and all thanks to the hardiest of elements. More than a rusty coincidence, surely? Or, am I just being ironic?

David Bradley blogs at and tweets @sciencebase, he is author of the popular science book "Deceived Wisdom".