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15 April 2021

Sponge parks and vertical gardens – how cities are using nature to overcome extreme weather

In January 2021, Storm Christoph pummelled the United Kingdom with heavy rains and the threat of unmanageable runoff. But in flood-prone Manchester, a newly developed park was proving its worth.
13 April 2021

New materials to make ships more sustainable and less noisy for marine life

Ships have a significant environmental impact during building, operation and when they’re scrapped, but new approaches and composite materials to replace steel – still popular due to its strength and low cost – could make vessels more sustainable, recyclable, and less noisy for marine animals.
12 April 2021

How do we know if an asteroid headed our way is dangerous?

There are a lot of things that pose a threat to our planet – climate change, natural disasters, and solar flares, for example. But one threat in particular often captures public imagination, finding itself popularised in books and films and regularly generating alarming headlines: asteroids.
08 April 2021

Q&A: BioNTech vaccine is only ‘mRNA 1.0’. This is just the beginning, say co-founders

The successful development of mRNA vaccines for Covid-19 is ‘transformational’ and opens the doors to new types of vaccines for other infectious diseases as well as cancer, according to Dr Özlem Türeci and Dr Uğur Şahin, the co-founders of Germany’s BioNTech.
07 April 2021

How a year of coronavirus activity unfolded at the EU's medicines regulator

The speed with which coronavirus vaccines have been developed surprised everyone and could transform public health into the future, says Dr Fergus Sweeney, head of the clinical studies and manufacturing taskforce at the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Here he gives us a glimpse at the work of the regulator over the past year as part of the fight against Covid-19.
06 April 2021

Q&A: How we’re gearing up to deflect asteroids that might cause Earth considerable damage

Asteroids — the bits and pieces left over from the formation of the inner planets — are a source of great curiosity for those keen to learn about the building blocks of our solar system, and to probe the chemistry of life.
06 April 2021

Space rocks

The asteroids in our solar system are the remnants of planetary formation. They hold clues about how the Milky Way formed, but they also hold promise and peril for humans as the source of both rich materials and potentially dangerous cratering events. This month we look at the latest in asteroid research. We speak to Dr Naomi Murdoch, a planetary scientist, about her work investigating asteroids, how to land on them and how to defend Earth from a dangerous event. We look in depth at how scientists in the field of planetary defence are developing rapid response techniques to detect an Earth-bound ‘imminent impactor’, determine within days whether it’s dangerous, and evacuate people from the danger zone. We speak to scientists studying exactly what asteroids are composed of so that we can categorise them from Earth, and we look at work studying asteroid dust to see what it can tell us about the early days of our solar system and the origins of life on our planet.
01 April 2021

How pandemic-driven preprints are driving open scrutiny of research

Covid-19 has changed the way many people live and work. It has also had an impact on the ways many scientists collaborate and carry out their research – and how they release their findings.
30 March 2021

The curious case of northeast Brazil’s cross-breeding sea turtles

Sea turtles have been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, stretching back about 110 million years. Yet now their existence is at risk, with six of today’s seven species classified as threatened or endangered.
29 March 2021

Covid-19 variants: Five things to know about how coronavirus is evolving

The Sars-CoV-2 virus is changing in ways that are making it more transmissible, increasing the severity of disease it causes and allowing it to infect people who should have immunity. These variants are causing concern among global health experts, particularly as there are signs that some vaccines may be less effective against them.