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- Nobel laureate chemist Richard Heck, 84, dies in Manila
American chemist and Nobel laureate Richard Heck died in Manila on Saturday after years of illnesses that left him almost penniless, relatives of his Filipina wife said on Saturday. Heck, 84, along with Japanese Ei-ichi Negishi and Akira Suzuki, won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 2010 for inventing new ways to bind carbon atoms that were used in research to fight cancer and produce thin computer screens.
- Nestle spends $70 million on U.S. health science hub
Nestle's health science division is investing $70 million in a product technology center that will become the unit's new U.S. headquarters and research hub, the division said on Friday. The Bridgewater, New Jersey center will further Nestle's healthcare push as the Swiss company delves deeper into nutritional therapy and the high-margin medicines arena. Opening in 2016, the hub will relocate the unit's current research and development activities from Minneapolis and its current headquarters from nearby Florham Park.
- SpaceX raps ULA bid to get U.S. waiver for Russian engines
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, has slammed a bid by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, to get a waiver from a U.S. ban on Russian rocket engines for military use. Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla Motors and chief executive of SpaceX, told Defense Secretary Ash Carter that federal law already allowed ULA to use "a substantial number" of engines.
- Experts caution on study citing method to predict sexual orientation U.S. researchers on Thursday said they had found a way to predict male sexual orientation based on molecular markers that control DNA function, but genetics experts warned that the research has important limitations and will not provide definitive answers to a potential biological basis for sexual preference. Findings from the study, which has yet to be published or reviewed in detail by other scientists, were presented at a meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in Baltimore.
- Ancient Ethiopian man's genome illuminates ancestry of Africans
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DNA extracted from the skull of a man buried 4,500 years ago in an Ethiopian cave is providing new clarity on the ancestry of modern Africans as well as shedding light on an influx of people from the ancient Middle East into the Horn of Africa. Until now, genome sequencing efforts on ancient people have focused on remains from cooler, drier climes that tend to better preserve DNA. The cave, sitting 6,440 feet (1,963 meters) above sea level in southwestern Ethiopia's Gamo highlands, was discovered in 2011, University of Cambridge geneticist Andrea Manica said.
- Ice Age Mammoth Bones Discovered on Michigan Farm
Two Michigan farmers made an unexpected discovery in a wheat field last week: the ice-age bones of a mammoth that was likely slaughtered by ancient humans. An excavation and analysis of the bones suggest they come from an adult male mammoth that had an unlucky end. "We think that humans were here and may have butchered and stashed the meat [in a pond] so that they could come back later for it," Daniel Fisher, a University of Michigan paleontologist who led the excavation, said in a statement.
- Killer Show! Murder Weapons and Death Masks Star in New Exhibit
A shovel used to bury the body of a murder victim in 1910, an antique-looking gun that fired a shot at Queen Victoria in 1840 (it missed) and death masks from convicted criminals: These are among the strange and grisly artifacts associated with some of the most notorious crimes in recent British history. And they are now on display in the "Crime Museum Uncovered" exhibit that opens today (Oct. 9) at the Museum of London. The exhibit's storied artifacts are on loan from the Crime Museum — a private gallery of objects retained from prisoners and crime scenes, which is located at the Metropolitan Police headquarters at New Scotland Yard in London.
- Marble Caves and Neolithic Stones Shine in UK Photo Contest
On a cold, drizzly afternoon, Brent Bouwsema drove with his wife and two children to photograph some of the oldest stones in the British Isles. Geologists think the Callanish Stones, which are made of an ancient type of rock called Lewisian gneiss, were built in the Neolithic period about 5,000 years ago. Bouwsema took a photo of the moss-covered pillars, and ended up as one of the winners of the "100 Great Geosites" photography contest, The Geological Society of London announced today (Oct. 9).
- Apollo Photos Redux: The Story Behind the NASA Moon Pics Posted to Flickr
The addition of tens of thousands of the Apollo astronauts' moon photos to an online repository drew worldwide media interest this week, but lost in many of the headlines were the facts behind the four-decade-old photographs. Numerous news articles declared the photos were "never before seen" and attributed the upload to NASA, neither of which were true. "Contrary to some recent media reports, this Flickr gallery is not a NASA undertaking, but an independent one," said Kipp Teague, the founder of the Project Apollo Archive, in an introduction he wrote for the newly-added gallery.
- It's a Great Time to Spot the Elusive Planet Mercury: Here's How
Over next three weeks, we're going to be treated to a show being staged in the eastern twilight skies by three bright planets: Jupiter, Mars and Venus. Presently, Jupiter, Mars and Venus can be seen in the predawn sky stretched out in a diagonal line in that order, going from lower left to upper right. In fact, in the coming days Jupiter seems intent on having separate meetings with two his companions.
- Scientists predict drier Horn of Africa as climate warms
By Megan Rowling BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Horn of Africa is becoming drier in step with global warming, researchers said on Friday, contradicting some climate models predicting rainier weather patterns in a region that has suffered frequent food crises linked to drought. A new study using a sediment core extracted from the Gulf of Aden found the East African region covering Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia has dried at an unusually fast rate over the past century. Lead author Jessica Tierney, an associate professor at the University of Arizona, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation the research team was confident the drying was linked to rising emissions of climate-changing greenhouse gases, and was expected to continue as the region heats up further.
- Computer science now top major for women at Stanford University
By Sarah McBride SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Computer science has for the first time become the most popular major for female students at Stanford University, a hopeful sign for those trying to build up the thin ranks of women in the technology field. Based on preliminary declarations by upper-class students, about 214 women are majoring in computer science, accounting for about 30 percent of majors in that department, the California-based university told Reuters on Friday. If more women majored in technological fields like computer science, advocates say, that could help alleviate the dearth of women in engineering and related professions, where many practitioners draw on computer science backgrounds.
- Boom in gene-editing studies amid ethics debate over its use WASHINGTON (AP) — The hottest tool in biology has scientists using words like revolutionary as they describe the long-term potential: wiping out certain mosquitoes that carry malaria, treating genetic diseases like sickle cell, preventing babies from inheriting a life-threatening disorder.
- ZomBee Watch helps scientists track honeybee killer
- Ancient Ethiopian man's genome illuminates ancestry of Africans By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - DNA extracted from the skull of a man buried 4,500 years ago in an Ethiopian cave is providing new clarity on the ancestry of modern Africans as well as shedding light on an influx of people from the ancient Middle East into the Horn of Africa. Until now, genome sequencing efforts on ancient people have focused on remains from cooler, drier climes that tend to better preserve DNA. The cave, sitting 6,440 feet (1,963 meters) above sea level in southwestern Ethiopia's Gamo highlands, was discovered in 2011, University of Cambridge geneticist Andrea Manica said.
- Science won't stop until it beats AIDS, says HIV pioneer
By Kate Kelland PARIS (Reuters) - More than 30 years after she identified one of the most pernicious viruses to infect humankind, Francoise Barre Sinoussi, who shared a Nobel prize for discovering HIV, is hanging up her lab coat and retiring. While a cure for AIDS may or may not be found in her lifetime, the 68-year-old says, achieving "remission" - where infected patients control HIV in their bodies and, crucially, can come off treatment for years - is definitely within reach.
- Idaho nuclear lab director eyes new generation of scientists
- Beating parasites wins three scientists Nobel prize for medicine By Simon Johnson and Ben Hirschler STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - Three scientists from Japan, China and Ireland whose discoveries led to the development of potent new drugs against parasitic diseases including malaria and elephantiasis won the Nobel Prize for Medicine on Monday. Irish-born William Campbell and Japan's Satoshi Omura won half of the prize for discovering avermectin, a derivative of which has been used to treat hundreds of millions of people with river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, or elephantiasis. China's Tu Youyou was awarded the other half of the prize for discovering artemisinin, a drug that has slashed malaria deaths and has become the mainstay of fighting the mosquito-borne disease.
- Nobel prize for solving puzzle of ghostly neutrino particles By Simon Johnson and Ben Hirschler STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) - A Japanese and a Canadian scientist won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics on Tuesday for discovering that elusive subatomic particles called neutrinos have mass, opening a new window onto the fundamental nature of the universe. Neutrinos are the second most bountiful particles after photons, which carry light, with trillions of them streaming through our bodies every second, but their true nature has been poorly understood. Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald's breakthrough was the discovery of a phenomenon called neutrino oscillation that has upended scientific thinking and promises to change understanding about the history and future fate of the cosmos.
- Scientists call for urgent trials to judge flu drugs for pandemics
By Kate Kelland LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) - - Scientists still don't know if two commonly-used flu drugs -- Roche's Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline's Relenza -- really work in seasonal or pandemic flu outbreaks and say robust clinical trials are urgently needed to find out. While such medicines are stockpiled by governments around the world and were widely used in the 2009/2010 H1N1 "swine flu" pandemic, no randomised trials were conducted then, so evidence is scant on how effective that approach was. Publishing a report on the use of such antiviral drugs - known as neuraminidase inhibitors - against flu, experts co-led by Wellcome Trust director Jeremy Farrar said this had been a huge wasted opportunity and one that should not happen again.
- Ruffling the feathers: scientists formulate bird family tree The evolutionary relationships among the world's 10,000 bird species have been tough to decipher. But scientists on Wednesday unveiled the most comprehensive account of the avian family tree ever formulated, detailing how modern bird groups are connected based on genome-wide data from 198 living bird species. They focused in particular on understanding the group called Neoaves, encompassing more than 90 percent of all birds, the exceptions being large flightless birds like ostriches and a group including ducks and chickens. "It means that all of these aquatic birds may have evolved from a single common ancestor, as opposed to evolving an aquatic ecology multiple times independently," Cornell University ornithologist Jacob Berv said. "So the common ancestor of the woodpecker and the chickadee in your garden was a vicious, hawk-like meat-eater," Prum said.
- Rocker Grace Potter Mixes Space, Science and Music on Instagram (Video)
Space.com sat down with Potter prior to her performance at New York's Radio City Music Hall on Saturday (Oct. 3) to discuss her cosmic influences, which shined through not only in our interview but on stage as well. "That's what it's all about!" Potter told the audience. Other Potter posts reference the recent 25th anniversary of the launch of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the Large Hadron Collider and more.
- DNA scientists win 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry
Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, American Paul Modrich and Turkish-born Aziz Sancar won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for work on mapping how cells repair damaged DNA, giving insight into cancer treatments, the award-giving body said on Wednesday. "Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crowns ($969,000) Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell's genome occur on a daily basis while radiation, free radicals and carcinogenic substances can also damage DNA. To keep genetic materials from disintegrating, a range of molecular systems monitor and repair DNA, in processes that the three award-winning scientists all helped map out, opening the door to applications such as new cancer treatments.
- South Korea's Lee to head U.N. panel of climate scientists By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - South Korea's Hoesung Lee, chosen on Tuesday to head the U.N.'s panel of climate scientists, favours wider pricing of carbon dioxide output to curb emissions of the greenhouse gases the group blames for global warming. Government representatives meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, picked the professor of the economics of climate change to succeed India's Rajendra Pachauri as chair of the IPCC, whose findings are the main guide for combating global warming.
- Should doctors help infertility patients who cross borders for care? By Lisa Rapaport (Reuters Health) - Should doctors offer infertility treatment to patients who cross international borders to get care they can’t legally receive in their home country? Yes, if they want to, some ethicists argue in an essay in the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. “Physicians should abide by national laws,” lead author Wannes Van Hoof, a bioethicist at Ghent University in Belgium, said by email.
- Nobel Prize for key discoveries about subatomic particles
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for key discoveries about a cosmic particle that whizzes through space at nearly the speed of light, passing easily through Earth and even your body.
- South Korea's Lee to lead U.N. panel of climate scientists OSLO (Reuters) - Governments picked South Korea's Hoesung Lee on Tuesday to head the U.N. panel of climate scientists, which guides policies for combating global warming and won a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. Lee, a professor of the economics of climate change, will succeed India's Rajendra Pachauri as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the IPCC said after a vote at a meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia. (Reporting By Alister Doyle; editing by John Stonestreet)
- Nobel Prize in Physics Honors Flavor-Changing Neutrino Discoveries
Takaaki Kajita and Arthur B. McDonald will share this year's Nobel Prize in physics for helping to reveal that subatomic particles called neutrinos can change from one type to another — a finding that meant these exotic particles have a teensy bit of mass. Neutrinos are the second-most abundant particles in the cosmos, constantly bombarding Earth. In their separate experiments, Kajita and McDonald each showed that neutrinos change between certain flavors — a process called neutrino oscillation.
- Neutrino scientists win Nobel Prize for Physics
Japan's Takaaki Kajita and Canada's Arthur B. McDonald won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery that neutrinos, labeled nature's most elusive particles, have mass, the award-giving body said on Tuesday. The scientists' research discovered a new phenomenon – neutrino oscillations - that was seen as ground-breaking for particle physics. "Yes there certainly was a Eureka moment in this experiment when we were able to see that neutrinos appeared to change from one type to the other in traveling from the Sun to the Earth," McDonald told a news conference in Stockholm by telephone.
- Will We Ever Colonize Mars? (Op-Ed)
Paul Sutter is a research fellow at the Astronomical Observatory of Trieste and visiting scholar at the Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics (CCAPP). Sutter is also host of the podcasts Ask a Spaceman and RealSpace, and the YouTube series Space In Your Face. As long as those dreams involve a poisonous, tenuous atmosphere, inhospitable cold and lots and lots of red.
- Heating up hair science "I was always wondering how we can think about this from a mechanical engineering perspective," she added. So Reid stepped out of the salon and into her laboratory. There she teamed up with fellow researchers Amy Marconnet and Jaesik Hahn to answer this question - what is the perfect amount of heat to apply when straightening hair without causing permanent damage? Reid said too much heat applied over a long period of time could destroy the natural curve in hair leaving it permanently damaged. "We are wanting to see the point at which hair becomes permanently straightened, it's otherwise called heat damage.
- Six experts vie for top U.N. climate science job By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) - Six candidates are vying to become head of the U.N.'s top authority on climate change science this week, seeking to narrow down uncertainties about future warming to guide a trillion-dollar shift to greener energies. Top scientists - all men - from Austria, Belgium, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States will seek to become chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in a vote due on Tuesday at an IPCC meeting in Croatia. Governments have to pick a successor to Rajendra Pachauri of India, who quit the Nobel Peace Prize winning panel in February, after 13 years, when a female researcher in India accused him of sexual harassment, an allegation he denies.
- 30-Foot Fingernails: The Curious Science of World's Longest Nails
A man in India earned a Guinness World Record this week for doing, well, nothing at all. He didn't eat a bunch of hot dogs or jump off a building. All he did was forgo basic hygiene, by growing out his fingernails for an astonishingly long time.
- General Electric producing science fiction podcast series
In a sign that what is old is new again, U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co is producing its own science fiction podcast series in an effort to raise its profile among a younger, tech-savvy audience. GE, in partnership with The Slate Group's podcast network Panoply, is running "The Message," a fictional eight-episode podcast that will follow the decoding of a 70 year-old message from outer space. "It's science fiction meets real science," said Andy Goldberg, GE's global creative director.
- Mars H2O: How Scientists Discovered Salty Water on the Red Planet
This week's announcement that salty liquid water flows on Mars has reinvigorated debates about whether the Red Planet's environment could support life. Scientists announced yesterday (Sept. 28) that dark, narrow streaks that appear on Mars are caused by flowing water. The mysterious streaks were first spotted on the planet in 2011, but it was the chemical signature of the enigmatic lines that helped researchers make their discovery.
- Lead scientist of Pluto expedition has book deal NEW YORK (AP) — You've seen the images from Pluto. Now, the lead scientist of the historic NASA expedition is ready to tell the whole story.
- Scientists find genes that protect African children from malaria
By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have identified specific genetic variations that protect some African children from developing severe malaria and say their discovery will boost the fight against a disease that kills around half a million children a year. In the largest study of its kind, the researchers said identifying the variations in DNA at a specific location, or locus, on the genome helps explain why some children develop severe malaria and others don't in communities where people are constantly exposed to the mosquito-borne disease. In some cases, they said, having a specific genetic variation almost halves a child's risk of developing a life-threatening case of the disease.
- How NASA's 'Real Martians' Are Preparing for Manned Trips to Mars
NASA is working to get the agency ready for a human mission to the Red Planet in a few decades, and is showcasing its personnel and projects online. Among NASA's many spotlights is a fascinating new video that zooms in on a NASA power system engineer's quest to create enough electricity to power a Mars base. To Alleyne, the International Space Station showcases many different kinds of research, ranging from biology to physics to Earth and space science.
- Rare Fluorescent Sea Turtle Glows Red and Green
Below the tropical waves near the Solomon Islands, nighttime divers spotted a psychedelic vision: an endangered sea turtle glowing bright red and green. The divers immediately began filming the creature, a hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricate), following it for a few minutes until it swam away. "It was such a short encounter," said David Gruber, an associate professor of biology at Baruch College in New York City and a National Geographic emerging explorer.