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30,604 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

We have no idea if the Russian Covid vaccine is safe or effective | Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz

The only discernible difference between Russia’s vaccine and others is that this one has skipped most of the testing phases • Russia’s coronavirus vaccine: will it work, and is it safe?Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been one hope that we’ve all relied on. We’re all waiting, with baited breath, for the day that scientists announce a successful coronavirus vaccine, because...

'Could I feel what they were doing? Yes': Rob Delaney on the pain and pleasure of his vasectomy

The actor and comedian decided it was time to have the procedure after he and his wife had had four children. Here he writes candidly about the experience, and why it was the kindest cutI got a vasectomy a few months ago. A vasectomy is when they cut and tie off the vas deferens, which are these little tubes in your ball sack (scrotum) so that there’s no sperm (sperm) in your jizz (semen) when...

Global report: New Zealand begins mass testing as Australia records deadliest day

New Zealand to conduct ‘tens of thousands’ of tests; 21 deaths recorded in Australian state of Victoria; US health secretary sceptical of Russia vaccineCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAustralia suffered its deadliest day of the pandemic so far, with 21 deaths in the state of Victoria, as authorities in New Zealand’s largest city prepared to conduct “tens of...

Coronavirus live news: Lebanon sees record cases after blast; New Zealand's biggest city heads into lockdown

WHO warns displacement of people in Beirut risks accelerating Covid-19 spread; four new cases in Auckland, New Zealand; Australia suffers deadliest day. Follow the latest updatesRussia approves vaccine despite testing concernsFrench and Dutch on alert over rise in casesLost on the frontline: the 900 US health workers who have diedSee all our coronavirus coverage 3.59am BST Nibarchana Oli has tried...


TUESDAY 11. AUGUST 2020


The Guardian view on artificial intelligence's revolution: learning but not as we know it | Editorial

GPT-3, the software behind the world’s best non-human writer, is a giant step forward for machines. What about humanity? Bosses don’t often play down their products. Sam Altman, the CEO of artificial intelligence company OpenAI, did just that when people went gaga over his company’s latest software: the Generative Pretrained Transformer 3 (GPT-3). For some, GPT-3 represented a moment in...

Powerhouses: nanotechnology turns bricks into batteries

Research could pave way for cheap supercapacitor storage of renewable energyThe humble house brick has been turned into a battery that can store electricity, raising the possibility that buildings could one day become literal powerhouses.The new technology exploits the porous nature of fired red bricks by filling the pores with tiny nanofibres of a conducting plastic that can store charge. The...

Coronavirus: health secretary Alex Azar expects US vaccine by December

Azar plays down significance of Russian vaccine progressHealth secretary predicts ‘tens of millions of doses’ by year’s endThe US health secretary, Alex Azar, said on Tuesday morning that America hopes to have a coronavirus vaccine approved by December and tamped down Russia’s celebrations over unveiling its own vaccine after rapid development.“The point is not to be first,” Azar said....

'As the tundra burns, we cannot afford climate silence': a letter from the Arctic | Victoria Herrmann

I study the Arctic. The decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord is reprehensible – but we can’t give up hopeWhen you stand facing an exposed edge of permafrost, you can feel it from a distance.It emanates a cold that tugs on every one of your senses. Permanently bound by ice year after year, the frozen soil is packed with carcasses of woolly mammoths and ancient ferns. They’re...

Covid-19: tracking the spread of a virus in real time – podcast

Central to infectious disease control is tracking the spread of a pathogen through the population. In Cambridge, UK, researchers are looking at genetic mutations in samples from Covid-19 patients to rapidly investigate how and where hospital transmissions are occurring. Dr Estée Török tells Nicola Davis what this real-time pathological detective work can reveal about the origins of an outbreak...

Coronavirus live news: Global cases top 20m as WHO chief says ‘it’s never too late to turn outbreak around'

Deaths likely to pass 750,000 this week, says WHO; Trump considers blocking Americans who may have Covid-19 from coming home; EU health agency calls for new lockdowns; Follow the latest updatesGlobal cases pass 20mFrance extends mask use as Greece says it is in second waveGlobal report: Covid cases worldwide near 20 millionWorld map: which countries have the most cases and deaths?See all our...


MONDAY 10. AUGUST 2020


Planet Ceres is an 'ocean world' with sea water beneath surface, mission finds

Dwarf planet, believed to be a barren space rock, has an ‘extensive reservoir’ of brine beneath its surface, images showThe dwarf planet Ceres – long believed to be a barren space rock – is an ocean world with reservoirs of sea water beneath its surface, the results of a major exploration mission showed on Monday.Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and...

Gene manipulation using algae could grow more crops with less water

Enhanced photosynthesis holds promise of higher yields in a drought-afflicted futureTobacco plants have been modified with a protein found in algae to improve their photosynthesis and increase growth, while using less water, in a new advance that could point the way to higher-yielding crops in a drought-afflicted future.The technique focuses on photosynthesis, the complex process by which plants...

Roger Williams obituary

Physician who created the UK’s first liver transplant programme and worked with George Best to highlight the dangers of alcoholThe six-decade career of Roger Williams, who has died at the age of 88 after suffering a heart attack, lay at the heart of an astonishing transformation in liver medicine.In 1968, while a hepatologist at King’s College hospital in London, he teamed up with the...

Did you solve it? Carry on camping

The solutions to today’s hard onesEarlier today I set you the following puzzle:Six friends – Babs, Charles, Hattie, Joan, Kenneth and Sid – are going camping in France. They are travelling across the Channel on a magic carpet that can take only two people at a time. So, in order for everyone to get across there will need to be 9 trips in total from their starting point in England: 5 across...

Study links cannabis use during pregnancy to autism risk

Research suggests 50% greater risk for children whose mothers report using cannabisChildren born to mothers who report using cannabis during pregnancy have about a 50% greater risk of developing autism, research suggests.While the team behind the work said more research was needed to unpick whether cannabis itself was behind the link, they said the results were concerning. Continue...

Can you solve it? Carry on camping

Sir, your puzzle is so hard!Today’s puzzle is a seasonal update of a cherished gem of British culture: the river-crossing puzzle, in which people travel back-and forth across a stretch of water in a very small vessel. The earliest-known river-crossing puzzles appear in a manuscript by Alcuin of York in the eighth century.Another British cultural artefact from a distant age is the Carry On film....

Coronavirus live news: Global infections near 20m as Australia suffers deadliest day

US cases pass 5m; French virus ship passengers sue cruise company; UK daily infections pass 1,000 for first time since June. Follow the latest updatesGlobal infections near 20mGreece sees highest daily case riseUS passes 5m Covid-19 cases as Joe Biden says pandemic ‘breaks heart’Brazil scientist’s despair as coronavirus deaths hit 100,000See all our coronavirus coverage 12.54am BST The...

Reporting on Covid-19 in Spain: 'peaks, troughs and sacrifices

The Guardian’s Madrid correspondent on Spain’s response and how life as a reporter has changedCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA chunk of the night of 31 January this year was spent on a fact-finding mission to the James Joyce Irish pub in Madrid, where, over the noise of a loud covers band and the bellowing of customers, I shouted for people’s thoughts on the...


SUNDAY 9. AUGUST 2020


Starwatch: moonlight puts a damper on the Perseid show

Our brightest and most reliable annual meteor shower will be affected this year by the proximity of the half moonThis week one of the most reliable annual meteor showers will be on show. The Perseids will reach their peak activity over the next few days. Start looking tonight, particularly in the early hours of the morning, then again tomorrow night and on Wednesday. The meteors are small...

The Guardian view on Brexit bureaucracy: tied up in red tape | Editorial

Businesses already struggling with the fallout from Covid-19 will be forced to deal with a mountain of new bureaucracy in the middle of a deep recessionThe government did not quite achieve the Brexit breakthrough it was seeking on Friday, when there was hope that a fast-tracked trade agreement with Japan might be reached. But it seems likely that a deal, essentially replicating one signed by the...

Katie Mack: 'I didn't anticipate being in a pop song when I went off to study physics'

The cosmologist, author and Twitter sensation on ‘heat death’, getting heckled by Stephen Hawking – and being name-checked on a No 1 albumKatie Mack achieves two improbable feats with her new book, The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking). First, she writes about the end of the universe with a jauntiness that makes it not actually that depressing. And second, she takes concepts in...

Covid-19: only half of Britons would definitely have vaccination

Survey sparks concern over misconceptions about vaccines and scepticism about science Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOnly half the population of Britain definitely would accept being vaccinated against Covid-19. That is the shock conclusion of a group of scientists and pollsters who have found that only 53% of a test group of citizens said they would be certain or...

Tough choices need to be made, but reopening schools is a priority

Young people have been hugely affected by Covid-19. We must fight this rise in cases and make classrooms as safe as possible• Coronavirus latest updates• See all our coronavirus coverageRebound, resurgence, second wave – whatever you call it, the current coronavirus situation is worrying. Evidence suggests new infections are increasing in many European countries, including Britain, while in...

We can’t ease lockdown any more, expert warns as testing calls grow

Contact tracing must improve to prevent resurgence in England, say care chief and top scientistCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOne of the government’s most influential scientific advisers is warning that the loosening of lockdown may have already gone too far and that an urgent increase in coronavirus testing and faster contact tracing is essential to prepare for a...

What we are learning about Covid-19 and kids

As schools around the world prepare to reopen, new scientific evidence about children and coronavirus is coming to lightCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageBack in April, the French epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet found himself leading an investigation in the town of Crépy-en-Valois, a small community of 15,000 inhabitants just to the north-east of Paris. In February, the...


SATURDAY 8. AUGUST 2020


Nasa to change 'harmful' and insensitive' planet and galaxy nicknames

Space agency says ‘certain cosmic nicknames are insensitive’ and vows to drop any reference to themNasa has signaled it is joining the social justice movement by changing unofficial and potentially contentious names used by the scientific community for distant cosmic objects and systems such as planets, galaxies and nebulae.In a statement last week, the space agency said that as the...

How Amazon puts misinformation on your reading list | John Naughton

Algorithms routinely come up with ‘recommendations’ for anti-vax ‘bestsellers’ or juices that cure cancerIt’s a truism that we live in a “digital age”. It would be more accurate to say that we live in an algorithmically curated era – that is, a period when many of our choices and perceptions are shaped by machine-learning algorithms that nudge us in directions favoured by those who...

Listen to your migraine to help you feel better – and to learn about yourself

Headaches are telling you something about how your brain works with your body, influencing your behaviour and feelingsWe need pain. It seems contradictory to say it, particularly now that we have so many ways of dealing with it and switching it off. Pain not only tells us something is wrong, it also protects us. If you slam the car door on your hand, it’s going to hurt. You will have damaged the...

We found the first cat in the UK with Covid-19 - but there's no need to panic | Willie Weir

The feline had caught coronavirus from its owners, but our research shows it’s a rare occurrenceWillie Weir is professor of veterinary infectious disease at the University of GlasgowCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageSince the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the potential role of animals in catching and spreading the disease has been closely examined by scientists....

Coronavirus live news: England extends use of face coverings as Brazil death toll nears 100,000

City of Preston urges young people ‘don’t kill granny’ as cases rise in the Philippines, Australia and Italy. Follow the latest, liveTrump poised to intervene in relief plans after talks break down‘We’re still so tired’: European doctors brace for second wave‘Very dead’: army and police patrol the deserted streets of coronavirus-stricken Melbourne 9.29am BST Further coronavirus...

Coronavirus Australia: Victoria reports 466 new cases and 12 deaths, including second man in his 30s

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says number of mystery Covid-19 cases has risen by 130 as nine new infections announced in NSWFollow the latest coronavirus news on our live blogFamilies at Melbourne nursing home say staff testing was delayed after coronavirus case‘Very dead’: army and police patrol the deserted streets of coronavirus-stricken MelbourneVictoria and Melbourne Covid trend map:...


FRIDAY 7. AUGUST 2020


Covid-19 spread may be levelling off in England, say experts

Latest ONS figures appear to show better picture, even as more lockdown measures relaxedCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageCommunity spread of Covid-19 in England may be levelling off even as some lockdown measures are relaxed, experts said following the release of official data. Related: Preston added to areas with bans on households mixing due to Covid-19 Continue...

'Wishful thinking': the dangers of UK hype during Covid-19

From the UK government over-promising on testing to scientific spin on a vaccine, realism is in short supplyRevealed: UK’s rapid Covid test not yet approved by regulatorsCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageThey were billed by the UK health secretary, Matt Hancock, as “lifesaving” and “hugely beneficial”: two new coronavirus tests that claim to deliver results...

Revealed: UK's rapid Covid test not yet approved by regulators

Exclusive: no data on accuracy of this and other test bought by government has been published‘Wishful thinking’: dangers of UK hype during Covid-19Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOne of two 90-minute rapid coronavirus tests bought by the UK government and announced on Monday has yet to be approved by regulators, while no data on the accuracy of either has been...

'We're still so tired': Europe's doctors brace for second Covid-19 wave

When the Guardian spoke to staff in March they had no time for reflection. So what do they think of the new surge now? Coronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageDuring the initial peak of Spain’s Covid-19 pandemic in the spring, the virus displayed an unexpected mercy. In its spread, ferocity and awful novelty, it left health workers too tired and overwhelmed to look beyond...

Why are indoor settings higher risk for Covid – and are restaurants safe?

Experts say poor airflow, reduced distancing and prolonged exposure are key factors in the spread of coronavirusCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageIn Aberdeen it was pubs, restaurants and golf courses. In Prague it was a nightclub. In California it was a church. Why does Covid-19 appear to spread more easily in some places than others?Prof Devi Sridhar, the chair of...

Six months into Covid pandemic, the UK's isolation programme is still a mess | Anthony Costello

The government is asking people who may have coronavirus to isolate - but it has no idea of whether they’re doing soCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageOn 13 February, 83 British citizens left Arrowe Park hospital, Wirral, after 14 days of isolation, following their evacuation from Wuhan at the end of January. Two weeks was the appropriate quarantine response to...

Covid-19: lack of diversity threatens to undermine vaccine trials, experts warn

Oxford and Moderna trials draw from strikingly white cohort, for a virus that has disproportionately affected people of colourThe remarkably fast progress of two leading contenders for an effective coronavirus vaccine has raised hopes the pandemic may be speedily tamed. But some experts have warned the vaccine trials risk being undermined by a lack of diversity among their participants. Related:...

Total confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa pass 1 million

World Health Organization warns figure is ‘the tip of the iceberg’ and that the true number could be much higherCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageMore than 1 million people in Africa have been infected by the Covid-19 virus, health authorities on the continent have announced. Confirmed Covid cases in African countries have risen fivefold in the the past two months...


THURSDAY 6. AUGUST 2020


Nasa Trojan asteroids mission on course for October 2021 launch

Lucy spacecraft has passed its system integration review and can now be assembled and testedNasa’s Lucy mission has passed a critical milestone in its development: all components of the spacecraft passed a system integration review (SIR) on 27 July, and it can now be assembled and tested in preparation for its October 2021 launch.If it succeeds in its mission, Lucy will be the first spacecraft...

Gerald Lincoln obituary

My friend Gerald Lincoln, the endocrinologist and naturalist who has died aged 75, devoted his life to unravelling the mysteries of nature.Brought up on a farm in Norfolk – the son of Gertrude (nee Holmes), a geography teacher, and Ernest Lincoln, a tenant farmer – he spent his childhood in the countryside, marvelling at wildlife. He also became an adept poacher, carrying toilet paper as an...

Scientists follow the nose to solve mystery of long-necked reptile

Scans suggest Tanystropheus, which lived 242m years ago, lived in water, researchers sayThe mystery of an ancient reptile with a tremendously long neck has been solved, according to researchers who say the creature lived in the water.Fossils of the creature, known as Tanystropheus, were first unearthed in Germany around 150 years ago and further specimens have turned up over the decades, largely...