Archive by date | June 2014

Antibiotic resistance focus of UK Longitude Prize

The people have spoken. Antibiotic resistance has been voted by the British public as the subject of the UK government’s £10 million ($17 million) Longitude Prize – an initiative aimed at tackling society’s greatest issues.  Read more

Higgs particle linked to matter, not just force, particles

Part of the Compact Muon Collider (CMS) detector being assembled.

COPENHAGEN — Physicists working at CERN, the European particle accelerator near Geneva, have snared a new first for the Higgs boson. They have watched it decay directly to the particles that make up matter (called fermions) rather than just the particles that convey force (bosons), as they had before.  Read more

NASA finds asteroids to visit but may lose an important tool for studying them

An artist's representation of asteroid 2011 MD suggest that it could be a pile of small rocks (left) or a single rock surrounded by dust particles (right).

NASA’s controversial plan to capture an asteroid and study it is facing a challenge beyond the obvious technical feat: the potential shuttering of the Spitzer Space Telescope, whose observations can help calculate an asteroid’s size.  Read more

Germany pulls back from international mega-telescope project

Germany pulls back from international mega-telescope project

Germany’s science funding may look healthy to outsiders, but its research ministry seems to have stretched its cash too thinly. Last week, it decided that helping to fund the world’s biggest radio-telescope – to be built in South Africa and Australia by 2024 at a cost of more than €1.5 billion – was one international mega-project too many. On 5 June, it said it would pull out of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), to the dismay of German astronomers, who say they were not consulted and are hoping to reverse the move.  Read more

Last remaining support for controversial stem-cell papers collapses

The retraction of two controversial papers which promised a simple way to create embryonic-like stem cells appears imminent today after the lead author unexpectedly gave her full consent. Haruko Obokata, of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan, had been the last obstacle to the retraction of both papers.  Read more

Public opinion key to harnessing synthetic biology

Synthetic biology, heralded by some as the next biotechnology revolution, could be seriously undermined if the public is not informed about its potential benefits early on, according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report today.  Read more