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37,042 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

Why is the government in Iran shutting down the internet? – podcast

On 13 September Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, was arrested in Tehran for allegedly violating Iran’s hijab rules. Three days later she was dead. Since then, videos of anti-regime demonstrations and acts of resistance have gone viral – leading the government to block internet access in parts of Tehran and Kurdistan.Madeleine Finlay speaks to Azadeh Akbari about why Mahsa Amini’s...

Children of mothers who eat junk food more likely to be overweight – study

Higher obesity risk linked to maternal diet of ultra-processed food is not affected by other lifestyle factors, US researchers sayChildren of mothers who consume ultra-processed foods such as ready meals, sugary cereals and biscuits are more likely to grow up overweight or obese, a study suggests.The link between a mother’s diet and her child’s obesity risk is independent of other lifestyle...

Toxic air pollution particles found in lungs and brains of unborn babies

Particles breathed by mothers pass to their vulnerable foetuses, with potentially lifelong consequencesToxic air pollution particles have been found in the lungs, livers and brains of unborn babies, long before they have taken their first breath. Researchers said their “groundbreaking” discovery was “very worrying”, as the gestation period of foetuses is the most vulnerable stage of human...


WEDNESDAY 5. OCTOBER 2022


Drug could be ‘gamechanger’ for people with chronic coughs

Gefapixant could be first new cough drug to be approved in UK for more than 50 years, says lung doctorA new drug to treat chronic coughs could be a “gamechanger” treatment for the thousands of Britons who cough uncontrollably, many times a day.The leading lung doctor Surinder Birring has led a global trial that found Gefapixant reduces a person’s coughing by up to 60% and brings some relief...

Drone footage shows orcas chasing and killing great white shark

Scientists say behaviour, filmed in South Africa, has never been seen in detail before – and never from the airScientists have published findings confirming that orcas hunt great white sharks, after the marine mammal was captured on camera killing one of the world’s largest sea predators.A pod of killer whales is seen chasing sharks during an hour-long pursuit off Mossel Bay, a port town in...

Science fiction exhibition in London takes visitors on a journey into space

Voyage to the Edge of Imagination at the Science Museum uses AI and interactive exhibits to create an immersive experienceScience fiction often taps into preoccupations of the day, from the existential threat of nuclear war to the rise of advanced AI. But when it comes to climate change, humanity is on such a clear trajectory that dystopian fiction is no longer required to picture where we might...

Nicole Mann to become first Native American woman in space on Crew-5 mission

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with quartet including first Russian to join US space flight since Ukraine invasion to blast off on WednesdayNicole Mann is set to become the first Native American woman in space on a flight to the crew on the International Space Station on Wednesday that also includes the first Russian to join a US space flight since the invasion of Ukraine.Mann’s journey on the launch...

Tiny reptile unearthed in Scotland was ‘closely related to pterosaurs’

Researchers say Scleromochlus taylori belonged to species that evolved into giant flying reptilesAfter more than a century of debate, researchers have settled the mystery of a tiny, enigmatic reptile that left an impression on Scottish sandstone nearly a quarter of a billion years ago.The 20cm-long creature, Scleromochlus taylori, was discovered near Elgin in Moray in the early 1900s, but all that...

Three ‘click chemistry’ scientists win Nobel prize

Carolyn Bertozzi, Morten Meldal and K Barry Sharpless found way to ‘click’ molecules togetherThree scientists who fuelled a revolution in chemistry by devising a way to “click” molecules together like building blocks, even inside living organisms, have been awarded the 2022 Nobel prize in chemistry.Carolyn Bertozzi at Stanford University, Morten Meldal at the University of Copenhagen and K...

‘This is about empowerment’: the African hub fighting vaccine inequity

WHO-backed facility in Cape Town is aiming to use mRNA to reduce reliance on big pharma, starting with replica Covid jabWhen news broke that scientists had developed an effective vaccine against Covid, Emile Hendricks was living in a deprived suburb of Cape Town and studying for a degree in biotechnology.He thought he and his community would not have access to such a vaccine, or at the very least...

Study links in utero ‘forever chemical’ exposure to low sperm count and mobility

PFAS, now found in nearly all umbilical cord blood around the world, interfere with hormones crucial to testicle developmentA new peer-reviewed Danish study finds that a mother’s exposure to toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” during early pregnancy can lead to lower sperm count and quality later in her child’s life.PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – are known to disrupt hormones...

Immune reactions to severe Covid may trigger brain problems, study finds

Research suggests immune response may be cause of delirium and brain fog in Covid patientsSevere Covid infections can cause immune reactions that damage nerve cells in the brain, causing memory problems and confusion, and potentially raising the risk of long-term health issues, research suggests.Scientists at King’s College London found that a wayward immune response to the virus increased the...

AI eye checks can predict heart disease risk in less than minute, finds study

Breakthrough opens door to a highly effective, non-invasive test that does not need to be done in a clinicAn artificial intelligence tool that scans eyes can accurately predict a person’s risk of heart disease in less than a minute, researchers say.The breakthrough could enable ophthalmologists and other health workers to carry out cardiovascular screening on the high street using a camera –...


TUESDAY 4. OCTOBER 2022


Therese Coffey is leaving the UK vulnerable to monkeypox | Ceri Smith

The vaccination programme for gay and bisexual men is simply not enough to protect against future outbreaksReports that new health secretary, Therese Coffey, has rejected her officials’ expert advice to procure an additional 70,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine are deeply concerning and shortsighted.Less than a month into the role, Coffey is said to have gone against the recommendation of those who...

Wax worm saliva rapidly breaks down plastic bags, scientists discover

Its enzymes degrade polyethylene within hours at room temperature and could ‘revolutionise’ recyclingEnzymes that rapidly break down plastic bags have been discovered in the saliva of wax worms, which are moth larvae that infest beehives.The enzymes are the first reported to break down polyethylene within hours at room temperature and could lead to cost-effective ways of recycling the plastic....

Three scientists share physics Nobel prize for quantum mechanics work

Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger win prize for work on phenomenon Einstein described as ‘spooky action at a distance’The 2022 Nobel prize in physics has been won by three researchers for their work on quantum mechanics.Alain Aspect, John F Clauser and Anton Zeilinger have won the 10m Swedish kronor (£802,000) prize announced on Tuesday by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences...

Covid-19 bereaved told they will be ‘at heart of UK public inquiry’’

Public hearing into handling of pandemic opens with families upset their evidence will not be heard directlyThe bereaved will be “at the heart” of the Covid-19 public inquiry, its chair, Lady Hallett, has pledged at the first public hearing in the investigation into the UK’s handling of the pandemic, which the inquiry’s counsel described as an “unprecedented and vastly difficult...

Planetary rover once intended for Mars tested in Milton Keynes quarry

Vehicle no longer needed for collecting tubes on red planet being put through its paces in English cityA planetary rover potentially destined for missions on the moon or Mars has been put through its paces at a quarry in Milton Keynes.The Sample Fetch Rover (SFR), known as Anon, was intended to collect sample tubes left on the surface of Mars by Perseverance. Continue...

Covid-19: is there a ‘twindemic’ coming? – podcast

As the UK heads into autumn, Covid-19 appears to be surging again. According to official data, 40,650 people tested positive in England in the seven days up to and including 24 September. This was an increase of 42% on the week before. But as we brace for another wave, experts are also concerned about a potential rise in influenza. Ian Sample speaks to Prof Peter Openshaw about the Omicron...

‘Rage, but also joy and completeness’: bringing New Zealand’s stolen ancestors home

The remains of Māori people taken by an Austrian taxidermist in 1877 and displayed in a Vienna museum have finally been returnedOn the shorelines of Wellington, the sound of weeping poured out into the thick mist of the city harbour. A procession moved in slow, measured steps. Their heads were bowed and crowned with ferns. At the centre of the group walked 64 people, each cradling a beige...


MONDAY 3. OCTOBER 2022


Did you solve it? Physics puzzles for smart students

The solution to your coffee woes, and other problemsEarlier today I set these puzzles, suggested by the Department of Physics at Oxford University.1. Cuppa conundrum1) Add milk right away, then wait a few minutes before drinking.2) Wait a few minutes, then add milk just before drinking.1) it goes up2) it goes down Continue...

People with recent dementia diagnosis found to have higher suicide risk

Calls for more support after England research shows those diagnosed under 65 also at greater riskPeople who have recently been diagnosed with dementia, or who are diagnosed with the condition at a younger age, are among those at increased risk of suicide, researchers have found. The findings have prompted calls for greater support for those experiencing such cognitive decline.While previous...

The big idea: do we all experience the world in the same way?

Every human brain is different – it’s time to embrace the diversity of our experiencesImagine you and I are walking together along Brighton seafront on a day bathed in sunshine, and we both stop to gaze up at the deep blue sky. It’s a beautiful sight, but are we having the same experience? Do you see the same blue that I see?It’s easy to assume that we do. After all, we both use the word...

‘Unprecedented’ bird flu epidemic sees almost 50m birds culled across Europe

Poultry farmers from Arctic to Portugal reported 2,500 outbreaks in past year, with migrating birds taking avian flu to North AmericaThe UK and continental Europe have been hit by an “unprecedented” number of cases of avian flu this summer, with 47.5m birds having been culled since last autumn, according to new figures.Poultry producers from as far north as Norway’s Svalbard islands to...

Can you solve it? Physics puzzles for smart students

How to cool your coffee and other crucial questionsToday’s puzzles have been suggested by he Department of Physics at Oxford university, for reasons that will become clear below.They kick off with a question that could change your life, that is, if you are always burning your mouth on hot coffee.1) Add milk right away, then wait a few minutes before drinking.2) Wait a few minutes, then add milk...

Starwatch: moon draws close to Jupiter in retrograde

Planet is shining brightly and travelling westward – a backward motion that will be reversed on 23 NovemberThe moon draws close to the shining planet of Jupiter this week, making a pretty pairing in the evening sky.The chart shows the view looking south-southeast from London at 2300 BST on 8 October, although the conjunction should be visible from sunset onwards. The moon will be almost full,...

Discovered in the deep: the sea cucumber that lives a jellyfish life

The Pelagothuria natatrix is an extremely rare species of sea cucumber – with a gelatinous body, it spends most of its time swimmingDiscovered in the deep: the incredible fish with a transparent headWafting through the deep sea is a diaphanous creature that resembles a jellyfish, but is in fact something else entirely. Pelagothuria natatrix, meaning swimming sea cucumber, belongs to a group of...


SUNDAY 2. OCTOBER 2022


Once a year I lose myself in the Western Isles to walk and think – before going back to the life I love

This remote part of Scotland, so central to my beginnings, works like a time machine on meWest of Sligachan, the Black Cuillins rise – icebound in the winter and shrouded in cloud. I begin my walk beneath their sentry, Sgùrr nan Gillean, the peak that heralds the start of the dark serrated ridge that coils around the most mysterious of all Scotland’s lochs – Loch Coruisk, whose name means...

Is the body key to understanding consciousness?

A new understanding of the fundamental connection between mind and body explains phenomena such as phantom limbs, and has surprising implicationsIn 2018, billionaire Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman paid a startup called Nectome $10,000 to preserve his brain after he dies and, when the technology to do so becomes available, to upload his memories and consciousness to the cloud.This prospect,...


SATURDAY 1. OCTOBER 2022


Vladimir Putin’s latest frightening gambit lies at the bottom of the ocean

If the Russian president has finally started listening to his military chief, you can bet he’ll soon target all those poorly protected internet cables at the bottom of the sea“Once is happenstance,” wrote James Bond’s creator. “Twice is coincidence. Three times, it’s enemy action.” As European politicians and security agencies ponder the three explosions that caused leaks in the two...

Latest Covid surge a ‘heavy straw on camel’s back’ for every hospital in UK

Health leaders urge vaccination and return to mask-wearing as hospitalisations rise by 37 per cent in a weekEvery hospital in the UK is under significant pressure and a new Covid surge is “a very heavy straw on the camel’s back”, health leaders have warned.At least eight hospitals declared a critical incident, cancelled operations or asked people not to come to A&E unless they were...


FRIDAY 30. SEPTEMBER 2022


Slave traders’ names are still stamped on native plants. It’s time to ‘decolonise’ Australia’s public gardens | Brett Summerell

For too long we’ve dismissed Indigenous knowledge of the natural world. At Sydney’s botanic garden, signage is starting to reflect Aboriginal namesLike all botanic gardens, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is a classic artefact of the activities that took place during the colonisation of Australia in the 18th and 19th century.It was established to create a patch of landscape that mirrored those...

Particle physics – a brief history of time-wasting? | Letters

Readers respond to an article that argued that the field of physics is too obsessed with discovering new particlesSabine Hossenfelder (No one in physics dares say so, but the race to invent new particles is pointless, 26 September) has missed the point of a big part of particle physics, and indeed fundamental research as a whole. While we’d all like to revolutionise our respective fields by...

US to establish new rules on hazardous ‘space junk’

Rules will require operators to more quickly dispose of defunct satellites that are endangering spacecraft on active missionsThe US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to adopt new rules to address the growing risks of orbital debris – commonly known as space junk – posing a hazard to extraterrestrial exploration.The government body will give US operators much tighter deadlines...

‘Superhero’ moss can save communities from flooding, say scientists

Sphagnum moss found to drastically slow down rainwater runoff in Peak District ‘outdoor laboratory’ studyA “superhero” moss can significantly reduce the risk and severity of flooding for communities living in downstream areas, researchers have found.Scientists from the conservation group Moors for the Future Partnership who conducted a six-year study into sphagnum moss found that planting...

Faster times, record numbers: the science of running marathons as an older person

The number of veteran runners is on the up and they’re leaving the times of their predecessors for dust‘A sea of positivity’: older women boost London Marathon numbersThis year’s London marathon will have record numbers of veteran participants, with a near-doubling of the number of female runners aged 60 to 69 registering to run since 2018. As the number of veteran runners has steadily...

Hurricane Ian is no anomaly. The climate crisis is making storms more powerful | Michael E Mann and Susan Joy Hassol

Ian is one of the five worst hurricanes in America’s recorded history. That’s not a fluke – it’s a tragic taste of things to comeClimate change once seemed a distant threat. No more. We now know its face, and all too well. We see it in every hurricane, torrential rainstorm, flood, heatwave, wildfire and drought. It’s even detectable in our daily weather. Climate disruption has changed...