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37,041 articles from Guardian Unlimited Science

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...


THURSDAY 29. SEPTEMBER 2022


Nasa releases images of ‘planetary defense test’ as spacecraft crashed into asteroid

James Webb and Hubble space telescopes captured impact on Dimorphos, moon of the asteroid Didymos, 6.8m miles from EarthNasa has released the first detailed images of its pioneering deep-space “planetary defense test” in which a spacecraft was crashed into a distant asteroid in an attempt to alter its trajectory.The pictures were taken by what the agency calls its “two great...

Switch from smoking to vaping cuts health risks substantially, report finds

Review of 400 published studies also says vaping is not risk-free and urges action to reduce teenage useVaping is substantially less harmful than smoking, according to a major review of nicotine products, but action is needed to tackle the sharp rise in e-cigarette use among children.Researchers at King’s College London said smokers who switched to vaping would experience a “substantial...

Why did Nasa smash its spacecraft into an asteroid? | podcast

This week, Nasa scientists smashed a spacecraft into an asteroid, more than 11m km from Earth. Most rocket scientists would wince at the thought, but the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, or DART, was purposefully designed to slam head-on into the asteroid Dimorphos. The aim is to nudge it off its current orbit, in an experiment that will assess the possibility of deflecting a killer space rock...


WEDNESDAY 28. SEPTEMBER 2022


Ruff day? Dogs can detect if people are stressed, research finds

Study finds stress response changes people’s ‘odour profile’ – which dogs can sniff outWhether it’s a tricky maths problem or an unexpected bill, daily life is full of stressful experiences. Now researchers have found that humans produce a different odour when under pressure – and dogs can sniff it out.While previous studies have suggested canines might pick up on human emotions,...

Covid might have changed people’s personalities, study suggests

Younger adults became more prone to stress and less trusting, say US researchersThe impact of the Covid pandemic may have been so deep that it altered people’s personalities, according to research.Previously psychologists have failed to find a link between collective stressful events, such as earthquakes or hurricanes, and personality change. However, something about the losses experienced or...

Success of experimental Alzheimer’s drug hailed as ‘historic moment’

Study shows cognition in early-stage patients on lecanemab declines by 27% less than those on placeboAn experimental drug has slowed the rate of decline in memory and thinking in people with early Alzheimer’s disease in what is being described as a “historic moment” for dementia treatment.The cognition of Alzheimer’s patients given the drug, developed by Eisai and Biogen, declined by 27%...

Terrawatch: why is sea level rising faster along China’s coast?

Study says possible causes could include faster warming in Chinese seas and lower air pressure Sea level along the Chinese coast is rising faster than the global average, with some regions experiencing an increase of nearly 5mm a year, according to tide gauge and satellite data. A new study investigates what is causing the localised rise, and identifies which communities are most vulnerable.Global...

‘This one’s for the dinosaurs’: how the world reacted to Nasa’s asteroid smashing success

Astrophiles and professionals celebrated humanity’s accomplishment at hitting a speeding space rock with a probe the size of a vending machineFollow our Australia news live blog for the latest updatesGet our free news app, morning email briefing or daily news podcastThe crashing of a spacecraft is, for once, a cause for celebration. The Dart (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) mission on Tuesday...


TUESDAY 27. SEPTEMBER 2022


Multiple chemical sensitivity is real – people who have it aren’t making it up | Letter

For decades, patients with complex illnesses – especially those that affect women more – have been told that it’s in their heads, says Beth PollackMultiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), discussed in your article, is a common symptom of several illnesses that I research (Allergic to the world: can medicine help people with severe intolerance to chemicals?, 20 September).The article suggests...

400 people in UK diagnosed with preventable cancer every day, data shows

Experts say healthy lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating more vegetables can lower riskMore than 400 people are being diagnosed with preventable cases of cancer every day in the UK, analysis suggests, prompting health experts to urge people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.A total of 387,000 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2019-20, and 40% of those cases – about 155,000 –...