Archive by date | August 2009

On Nature News

Stem-cell projects falter

Ailing economy leaves California struggling to build research labs.

Keeping genes out of terrorists’ hands

Gene-synthesis industry at odds over how to screen DNA orders.

Q+A: Top scientist’s industry move heralds stem-cell shift

Stephen Minger tells Nature why he is leaving academia.

Indian moon mission loses contact

Posted on behalf of K.S. Jayaraman India’s planned 2-year moon mission, launched last year, ended 14 months prematurely today. Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) have abruptly lost radio contact with the lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1. ISRO spokesman S. Satish said that attempts to re-establish contact had failed and that the spacecraft may crash any time on the lunar surface. The end of India’s first lunar mission comes four months after the onboard device for determining the orientation of the spacecraft started malfunctioning on 26 April. An ISRO release said that the spacecraft had made more than 3,400 orbits  … Read more

Ruth’s Reviews: What the nose knows

Ruth’s Reviews: What the nose knows

Ruth Francis, Nature’s Head of Press, is reviewing all the entries shortlisted for the Royal Society’s science book prize. She’ll be reading one per week and we are posting her thoughts on The Great Beyond every Friday between now and the prize ceremony on 15 September.

What the Nose Knows – The Science of Scent in Everyday Life, by Avery Gilbert

RIP Physics?

RIP Physics?

Another day, another new exoplanet acting funny and inspiring headlines that portend the death of physics. This week in Nature, astronomers reported a pretty cool find: WASP-18b is 10 times the mass of Jupiter, 50 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, and whizzes around its star in less than a day. So how can something so big dart around so close to its star?  Read more

Doctors scrap over radiation tests

Doctors scrap over radiation tests

Another dose of worry has been produced over radiation exposure in America, upping the concerns of those who claim there is too much medical scanning going on.

A study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine suggests that nearly 70% of the population had at least one medical scan that exposed them to radiation. This follows a National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements study from March that concluded Americans living in 2006 were exposed to over seven times more radiation from such scans than those living in 1980.

You can’t hurry a flu vaccine

A report released by Barack Obama’s 21-strong crew of science advisers (PCAST) on Monday urged that H1N1 vaccines be made available as soon as possible – by mid-September, bearing in mind the start of the new school term.

But although the production line is stuffing bulk vaccines into vials as fast as possible – the recommended ‘fill and finish’ approach – it will not be possible to get them ready (including dose-testing) before October, says Thomas Frieden, acting director for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).