Internet billionaire ponies up more cash for physics prizes

Internet billionaire ponies up more cash for physics prizes

Tech investor Yuri Milner, who shook the physics world two months ago by dishing out $27 million to the nine inaugural awardees of his Fundamental Physics Prize Foundation’s namesake award (see ‘Physics prize dwarfs all others‘), has just sweetened the pot.  Read more

Prosecution asks for four-year sentence in Italian seismology trial

Public prosecutors in L’Aquila, Italy, have requested a four-year prison term for the six scientists and one government official charged with manslaughter after a magnitude-6.3 earthquake hit the city and its surroundings on 6 April 2009, killing 309 people (for more background on the case, read the Nature feature article ‘Scientists on trial: At fault?‘).  Read more

Ig Nobel prizes honour science of ponytails, coffee spills, and dead salmon

Diamonds made from ammunition, ponytail swishing, and how to stop a medical patient from exploding: these were all topics of genuine research that were celebrated yesterday evening at the Ig Nobel awards at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Read more

Astronomers relaxed about fracking near South African telescopes

Astronomers relaxed about fracking near South African telescopes

South African astronomers operating some of the world’s most sensitive telescopes say their research will not be affected by the resumption of oil and gas exploration in the Karoo Basin, the country’s astronomy hub.  Read more

Taiwan scientist faces libel trial

Ben-Jei Tsuang, an environmental engineer at Taiwan’s National Chung-Hsing University, will appear in a Taipei courtroom tomorrow for the fourth hearing in a libel lawsuit filed against him by the petro-chemical company Formosa Plastic Group (FPG). FPG’s lawyers have asked for $1.33 million in damages.  Read more

Barge damage forces Shell to abandon drilling in Arctic sea

Plans to drill for oil and gas resources off the coast of Alaska have been abandoned following damage to the spill cleanup barge Arctic Challenger, oil company Shell announced yesterday. The company began its multi-year drilling programme in the Arctic sea earlier this month (see ‘Arctic oil drilling begins in Chukchi sea‘), but the project has been plagued with difficulties.  Read more