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39,906 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

‘Poisoned by chemicals’: citizen scientists prove River Avon is polluted

Charity blames the decline of invertebrates on farming, sewage and run-off from roads and homes, months after the Environment Agency told them the water in Wiltshire river was cleanA citizen science programme has revealed the decline of one of the country’s most significant chalk streams after claims by Environment Agency officials that it had not deteriorated. The SmartRivers programme run by...

Abandoned pipelines could release poisons into North Sea, scientists warn

Researchers say toxic chemicals pose a pollution risk as oil and gas companies are allowed to leave pipelines to rotDecaying oil and gas pipelines left to fall apart in the North Sea could release large volumes of poisons such as mercury, radioactive lead and polonium-210, notorious for its part in the poisoning of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, scientists are warning.Mercury, an extremely...

Weekend podcast: the Libertines’ tortured reunion, Marina Hyde on celebrity-dictator bromances, and the simple trick to enjoying life more

From Tucker Carlson to Johnny Depp, a celebrity bromance is the must-have accessory for modern dictators, says Marina Hyde (1m50); The Libertines on feuds, friendship and their tortured reunion by Simon Hattenstone (9m03); and how habituation, a simple behavioural trick, can help you experience less pain and more pleasure by Cass Sunstein and Tali Sharot (35m49). Continue...

US spacecraft on the moon ‘caught a foot’ and tipped onto side, says Nasa

Intuitive Machines CEO says Odysseus tipped over and ended up on its side as it landed onto south polar regionOdysseus, the first US-built spacecraft to touchdown on the moon in more than half a century, is tipped over on its side, according to an update from Nasa and Intuitive Machines, the company that built and operated the lander.The robotic lander descended onto the south polar region of the...


FRIDAY 23. FEBRUARY 2024


Quantum physics makes small leap with microscopic gravity measurement

Experiment records minuscule gravitational pull as a step to understanding how force operates at subatomic levelScientists have detected the pull of gravity on the microscopic scale in a feat that lays the groundwork for probing its nature in the mysterious quantum realm.In an experiment involving sophisticated superconducting apparatus cooled to within a whisker of absolute zero, and brass...

Felicity Grainger obituary

My father’s partner, Felicity Grainger, who has died aged 80, began her working life as a research scientist before moving into the world of academic libraries, eventually becoming head of the library services serving three major medical schools.Born in Bournemouth to Stuart Grainger, a bank manager, and Phyllis (nee Brett), after gaining a first-class honours degree in zoology in 1964 from...

Botanical gardens ‘most effective’ green space at cooling streets in heatwaves

Researchers hope the findings will inform policymakers planning cities for a warming worldFew things are as soothing on a hot summer’s day as a walk through a beautiful botanical garden, but they are not just oases of calm. As climate breakdown fuels soaring temperatures, they could prove crucial in moderating the heat in the streets around them.A comprehensive review of research into the...

‘Very rare’ clay figurine of Mercury discovered at Roman site in Kent

Previously unknown settlement in Small Hythe was once an important infrastructure linkA “very rare” clay figurine of the god Mercury, one of fewer than 10 ever found in Britain, has been discovered at a previously unknown Roman settlement that once sat next to a busy port – but is now 10 miles from the sea.The site of the settlement, in the modern hamlet of Small Hythe (or Smallhythe), near...

US returns to lunar surface for first time in over 50 years: ‘Welcome to the moon’

Intuitive Machines’ spacecraft Odysseus lands after a 73-minute descent, touching down near moon’s south poleThe United States has returned to the lunar surface for the first time in more than 50 years after a privately-built spacecraft named Odysseus capped a nail-biting 73-minute descent from orbit with a touchdown near the moon’s south pole.But amid celebrations of what Nasa hailed “a...


THURSDAY 22. FEBRUARY 2024


Odysseus moon landing live updates: first US lunar attempt in 52 years

Carrying Nasa instruments, Intuitive Machines Odysseus lander aims to be the first US landing on the moon for over 50 yearsThe uncrewed Nova-C lander built by Intuitive Machines launched on 15 February. Its scheduled touchdown near the moon’s south pole would be the first lunar landing of a US spacecraft since Nasa’s final Apollo mission in December 1972, and the first by a non-government...

Switzerland calls on UN to explore possibility of solar geoengineering

Proposal focuses on technique that fills atmosphere with particles, reflecting part of sun’s heat and light back into spaceSwitzerland has initiated a global debate on whether the “risks, benefits and uncertainties” of dimming the sun should be studied by a United Nations expert group.It is proposing that the world body should gather information about ongoing research into solar...

Are male and female brains really that different? Surely, there are better questions to ask | Gina Rippon

Arguments about sex differences in the brain have raged for centuries. As intriguing as they are, it’s time we changed focusThere seems to be an insatiable public appetite for information about sex differences in the human brain, eagerly harnessed by the media in many forms. A paper out this week from a research group at Stanford University made headlines for its innovative contribution to this...

I discovered a way to identify the millions of species on Earth after a lightbulb moment in the supermarket

I developed DNA barcoding in my back yard using a UV light and a white sheet to collect the moths of my childhood. I believe it could help discover all life on the planetAs a child, I used to roam the countryside collecting moths and butterflies on the edge of the Great Lakes in Canada. It was as idyllic as it sounds: by day, I would scour the fields and forests for butterflies. At night, I would...

Long Covid ‘brain fog’ may be due to leaky blood-brain barrier, study finds

If barrier controlling substances entering and exiting brain is off balance, it can drive changes in neural functionFrom forgetfulness to difficulties concentrating, many people who have long Covid experience “brain fog”. Now researchers say the symptom could be down to the blood-brain barrier becoming leaky.The barrier controls which substances or materials enter and exit the brain. “It’s...

‘Taking the pulse of the planet’: how monitoring nature from space could keep Earth healthy

With current data on global biodiversity either lacking or flawed, a global satellite scheme aims to fill the gaps to target protection of our seas, soils and wildlifeFor the handful of people who get the chance to observe Earth from space, the impact is often profound. Called the “overview effect”, astronauts report being deeply moved by the experience, as the planet’s fragility and beauty...