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Articles on Innovation

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Bendable concrete created at the University of Michigan allows for thinner structures with less need for steel reinforcement. Joseph Xu/University of Michigan College of Engineering

Bendable concrete and other CO2-infused cement mixes could dramatically cut global emissions

Researchers are developing ways to lock captured CO2 into cement. It could help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure and deal with climate change at the same time.
Understanding how artificial intelligence algorithms solve problems like the Rubik’s Cube makes AI more useful. Roland Frisch via Wikimedia Commons

How explainable artificial intelligence can help humans innovate

AI algorithms can solve hard problems and learn incredible tasks, but they can't explain how they do these things. If researchers can build explainable AI, it could lead to a flood of new knowledge.
The number one scientific breakthrough for 2020: multiple vaccines to prevent COVID-19. Philippe Raimbault/Photodisc via Getty Images

The top scientific breakthrough for 2020 was understanding SARS-CoV-2 and how it causes COVID-19 – and then developing multiple vaccines

The development of multiple vaccines against the virus that causes COVID-19 has been hailed as the breakthrough of 2020. But there were many more supporting discoveries that made this possible.
Insects are an inexpensive and effective way to teach children about science. Ariel Skelley/DigitalVision via Getty Images Plus

Want to teach kids about nature? Insects can help

Insects are plentiful and inexpensive. Even when children aren't attending school in person, they can learn from the encounters they have with insects outside.
Professor Christian Happi, director of the African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases, displays one of the most advanced automated acid extractors being used in the laboratory. Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP via Getty Images

Nigeria needs innovation and science investment to help control COVID-19

To effectively control COVID-19 and prevent a future pandemic, Nigeria needs to start investing heavily in science research.
Private insurers saw telehealth claims increase over 4,000% from 2019 to 2020. Solskin/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Health insurers are starting to roll back coverage for telehealth – even though demand is way up due to COVID-19

Widely adopted in the US when pandemic precautions kept people home, telehealth faces a challenge as insurance coverage changes, right when its popularity had surged.
Scientists around Africa are working at the cutting edge of research and their work is relevant beyond the continent. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images

Quality research in Africa matters more than ever – for the whole world

Thanks to major science infrastructure, human resource training and education investment in African nations, the continent is well placed to lead from the front.
A 19th-century engraving depicts the Angel of Death descending on Rome during the Antonine plague. J.G. Levasseur/Wellcome Collection

How 3 prior pandemics triggered massive societal shifts

Societies and cultures that seem ossified and entrenched can be completely upended by pandemics, which create openings for conquest, innovation and social change.
Many prizes that aim to spur innovation are winner-take-all. VCG for 2019 RoboMaster Robotics Competition Final Tournament via Getty Images

Want to solve society’s most urgent problems? Cash prizes can spur breakthroughs

Society has never faced more pressing challenges. Researchers are investigating how monetary prizes can help focus innovators' attention, creativity and investment on finding solutions.

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