Science + Technology – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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What happened to make plague able to cause devastating epidemics, as in this depiction from 1349? Pierart dou Tielt/Wikimedia

Plague was around for millennia before epidemics took hold – and the way people lived might be what protected them

People caught and died from plague long before it caused major epidemics like the Black Death in the middle ages. Could what scientists call cultural resistance be what kept the disease under control?
This artist’s impression shows a view of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the solar system. ESO/M. Kornmesser

NASA’s TESS spacecraft is finding hundreds of exoplanets – and is poised to find thousands more

Beyond the outer edge of the Solar System, mysterious, unknown worlds await by the thousands. Astronomers can now finally find them and explore them - but will we find another Earth?
The talamanca hummingbird, or admirable hummingbird, is found in Costa Rica and Panama. Milan Zygmunt/

Not all genes are necessary for survival – these species dropped extra genetic baggage

How many genes do you really need? Are there any that we can lose? Researchers are now identifying species that have streamlined their genome to adapt to a particular lifestyle.
What makes a brain tick is very different from how computers operate. Yurchanka Siarhei/

Why a computer will never be truly conscious

Brain functions integrate and compress multiple components of an experience, including sight and smell – which simply can't be handled in the way computers sense, process and store data.
Red quantum dots glow inside a rat brain cell. Nanoscale Advances, 2019, 1, 3424 - 3442

Quantum dots that light up TVs could be used for brain research

These tiny nanoparticles might provide a new way to see what's happening in the brain and even deliver treatments to specific cells – if researchers figure out how to use them safely and effectively.
After 117 years, a third woman won a physics Nobel. Alexander Mahmoud, © Nobel Media AB 2018

Why don’t more women win science Nobels?

Progress has been made toward gender parity in science fields. But explicit and implicit barriers still hold women back from advancing in the same numbers as men to the upper reaches of STEM academia.