Dresden scientists help setting new standards for cutting-edge genetic research

Science Daily  February 24, 2021 Over the course of the next five years, a team of researchers in Germany are working on a project funded by the German Research Foundation to shape international standards for the exchange of human omics data. The initial focus is on developing, harmonizing, and optimizing processes of data collection. To address the legal and ethical questions researchers are working closely with lawyers who specialize in national and international privacy regulations. They will use state-of-the-art HPC, Cloud and storage technologies to build a distributed infrastructure accessible for all interested researchers and clinicians. The platform will integrate […]

The Earth has been spinning faster lately

Phys.org  January 7, 2021 The atomic clocks make it possible to measure the length of a given day down to the millisecond. Since such measurements began, scientists have found that the Earth was slowing its spin very gradually (compensated by the insertion of a leap second now and then) until this past year, when it began spinning faster so much so that some in the field have begun to wonder if a negative leap negative second might be needed this year. Scientists also noted that this past summer, on July 19, the shortest day ever was recorded—it was 1.4602 milliseconds […]

Top MIT research stories of 2020

MIT News  December 22, 2020 The year’s popular research stories include astronomical firsts, scientific breakthroughs, and engineering milestones addressing Covid-19 and other global problems. Despite the new challenges brought on by Covid-19 — and sometimes because of them — MIT’s community achieved important milestones on the frontiers of science and engineering. 10 research-related stories published in the previous 12 months received top views on MIT News…read more.

Nature Podcast highlights of 2020 (47 min)

Nature  December 23, 2020 The Nature Podcast team select some of their favourite stories from the past 12 months. The following are covered in this this episode: Following the Viking footprint across Europe, Mars hopes, Disaster in San Quentin, Communicating complex data, ‘Stick to the science’: when science gets political…read more.

Nobel Prize ceremonies go virtual for Doudna, Genzel

UC Berkeley  December 8, 2020 For the first time since World War II, winners of this year’s Nobel Prizes will not be receiving their medals and diplomas from the King of Sweden in Stockholm. The pandemic has forced the Nobel Committees to deliver the medals to recipients at their homes, with just immediate family and consular or embassy officials in attendance. The downside is that winners and their families and colleagues will forego the pomp and ceremony, including concerts and a banquet — the dress code is white tie and tails for men, evening gowns for women — that have […]

How France overcame the odds to build a research mega-campus

Nature News  October 27, 2020 A decade in the making, Paris-Saclay University, officially formed this year, is one of Europe’s biggest research universities. The behemoth merged 14 institutions. Planners envisioned fostering an innovation hub, similar to Silicon Valley in California. The focus is instead on promoting French higher education and research globally. Although some researchers are still settling into their environment, many say that Saclay seems to be on the right track to achieve its other goals. It hosts more than 300 labs and advanced research equipment, such as the SOLEIL synchrotron. About 100 companies and 6 of France’s public […]

Eight Lincoln Laboratory technologies named 2020 R&D 100 Award winners

MIT News  October 20, 2020 Eight technologies developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers, either wholly or in collaboration with researchers from other organizations, were among the winners of the 2020 R&D 100 Awards. Six of the laboratory’s winning technologies are software systems, several of them take advantage of artificial intelligence techniques. The software technologies are solutions to difficulties inherent in analyzing large volumes of data and to problems in maintaining cybersecurity. Another technology is a process designed to assure secure fabrication of integrated circuits, and the eighth winner is an optical communications technology that may enable future space missions to […]

Major Physics Publisher Goes Double Blind

American Physical Society  September 18, 2020 To increase fairness IOP Publishing (IOPP) has announced a major shift in its peer-review methods, which, they say could offer better chances of impartial evaluation. By the end of 2021, IOPP journals will make their default peer-review option “double-blind”, neither reviewers nor authors know each other’s identities. Most scientific journals operate in single-blind mode: Reviewers know who has written the paper they are scrutinizing, but the authors do not know who the reviewers are. Knowing the authors’ identities could be useful to see a new result within the context of previous work. But this […]

Plato was right: Earth is made, on average, of cubes

Science Daily  July 20, 2020 The question an international team of researchers (Hungary, USA- University of Pennsylvania) answered is what shapes are created when rocks break into pieces. Remarkably, they found that the core mathematical conjecture unites geological processes not only on Earth but around the solar system as well. Part of this understanding is that the components that break out of a formerly solid object must fit together without any gaps. As it turns out, the only one of the so-called platonic forms — polyhedra with sides of equal length — that fit together without gaps are cubes. To […]

Principles to enhance research integrity and avoid ‘publish or perish’ in academia

Science Daily  July 16, 2020 An international team of researchers (Canada, the Netherlands, UK, Australia, China, Austria) has developed the Hong Kong Principles (HKPs) as part of the 6th World Conference on Research Integrity with specific focus on the need to drive research improvement through ensuring that researchers are explicitly recognized and rewarded for behaviors that strengthen research integrity. They present five principles: responsible research practices; transparent reporting; open science (open research); valuing a diversity of types of research; and recognizing all contributions to research and scholarly activity. For each principle, they provide a rationale for its inclusion and provide […]