Archive by category | Disciplines

Nature special: Climate of compromise

The road to Copenhagen. With the UN Climate Change Conference just six weeks away, Nature this week (22 October issue) assesses how much – or little – progress is being made on tackling climate change in a set of Opinion articles and News Features, all free to read online for one month from the date of issue, as well as an Editorial (free to read online). The latest round of negotations shows that the gulf between rich and poor nations is as great as ever, and hopes of a strong agreement are rapidly fading. Raúl Estrada-Oyuela, a diplomat who guided the Kyoto negotiations, argues that success in Copenhagen will depend on the skills of the lead negotiator (Nature 461, 1056-1057; 2009) Meanwhile, Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comments on the Indian negotiation stance (p.  Read more

Five years on for the Allen Brain Atlas

In their Perspective ‘The Allen Brain Atlas: 5 years and beyond’ (Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 10, 821-828; 2009), Allan R. Jones, Caroline C. Overly and Susan M. Sunkin of the Allen Institute describe an experiment on a massive scale: a web-based, genome-wide atlas of gene expression in the adult mouse brain The development of this atlas faced a combination of great technical challenges and a non-traditional open research model, they write, and it encountered many hurdles on the path to completion and community adoption. Having overcome these challenges, it is now a fundamental tool for neuroscientists worldwide and has set the stage for the creation of other similar open resources. Nevertheless, there are many untapped opportunities for exploration.  Read more

Videos of 2009 chemistry Nobel laureate meeting at Lindau

Are you watching the Nobel laureates on Nature Video? Each year, hundreds of young researchers from around the world meet with Nobel prizewinning scientists on Lindau Island in Germany. In 2009 it was the turn of the chemists, and Nature Publishing Group was there to capture moments of this unique meeting of minds on film.  Read more

Nature Medicine on the translation from bench to clinic

Translating a basic finding into a new therapy requires us to speak many languages—scientific, clinical, legal and financial. Yet most of us are hopelessly ‘monolingual’, a limitation that substantially slows translational research. Steps have been taken to address this problem, but a lot remains to be done, as described in September’s Editorial in Nature Medicine ‘In the land of the monolingual’ (15, 975; 2009). The Editorial begins optimistically:  … Read more

Responsible nanotechnology research

Various codes of conduct have been proposed for nanotechnology —and in the June issue of Nature Nanotechnology (4, 336; 2009), Richard Jones examines what they mean for individual researchers, particularly in the light of the European Commission’s code, aimed at academic research rather than at businesses and other commerce.  Read more

Focus on protein folding in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology

The art of paper folding is a useful way to illustrate some concepts about protein folding in the cell, according to June’s issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. “When all goes well, you end up with a beautiful and functional structure. When things go wrong (misfolding), you may get a crumpled mess that needs to be smoothed out (unfolding) to try to start the process over again (refolding), or you may just give up and feed it to the shredder for recycling (degradation). Some unfolded or misfolded conformations can aggregate and generate forms that are difficult to degrade, akin to a pile of sheets glued together, and cause cellular toxicity or death.  Read more

Nature Methods on “big data” and the scientific method

The rise of ‘omics’ methods and data-driven research presents new possibilities for discovery but also stimulates disagreement over how science should be conducted and even how it should be defined. Is the ability of these methods to amass extraordinary amounts of data altering the nature of scientific inquiry? These are the issues dicussed in the April Editorial of Nature Methods (6, 237; 2009).  Read more