• Outsmarting Superbugs, One Germ at a Time

    It’s an old story: Pathogen sickens humans. Humans create medicine. Pathogen evolves a way around the medicine. Humans are back to square one.

  • Most Existing Methods to Tackle Conspiracy Beliefs Are Ineffective

    New study finds that traditional fact-based counterarguments to conspiracy beliefs don’t work. Approaches to fostering critical thinking and an analytical mindset are more promising.

  • Vaccine Could Improve Herd Immunity Around the World

    A low-cost, protein-based COVID-19 vaccine tested in rhesus monkeys offered immunity against known variants for at least one year. Researchers hope the vaccine, which can remain unrefrigerated for up to two weeks and may be especially beneficial for infants, will help alleviate the need for boosters while improving herd immunity around the world.

  • Warning: Prospecting for Unknown Viruses Risks a Deadly Outbreak

    The coronavirus pandemic which swept the globe offered a scary case study in how a single virus of uncertain origin can spread exponentially. The pandemic has also challenged conventional thinking about biosafety and risks, casting a critical light on widely accepted practices such as prospecting for unknown viruses.

  • Fighting Biological Threats

    Modeling the emergence and spread of biological threats isn’t as routine as forecasting the weather, but scientists in two of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories were awarded funding to try to make it so. The scientists will work together to advance computational tools and solutions for known and unknown diseases.

  • Why China Has Edge on AI, What Ancient Emperors Tell Us About Xi Jinping

    Dictatorships and authoritarian regimes tend to trail more democratic and inclusive nations in fostering cutting-edge, innovative technologies, such as robotics and clean energy. Artificial intelligence may prove an exception, at least in China.

  • COVID-19 Origins: New Evidence, and More Politics

    Last week, researchers released a report linking SARS-CoV-2 to six near-complete samples of raccoon-dog mitochondrial DNA sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. The report says that “These results provide potential leads to identifying intermediate hosts of SARS-CoV-2 and potential sources of human infections in the market.”

  • A Major Clue to COVID’s Origins Is Just Out of Reach

    Last week, the ongoing debate about COVID-19’s origins had yet another plot twist added to it. A French evolutionary biologist stumbled across a trove of genetic sequences extracted from swabs collected from surfaces at a wet market in Wuhan, China, shortly after the pandemic began. Katherine J. Wu writes that the sequences bolster the case for the pandemic having purely natural roots. “But what might otherwise have been a straightforward story on new evidence has rapidly morphed into a mystery centered on the origins debate’s data gaps.” Wu says that public access to the sequences was locked, and, as a result, a key set of data which could have shored up the case for a purely animal origin became unavailable to scientists.

  • Will Machine Learning Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Life?

    When pondering the probability of discovering technologically advanced extraterrestrial life, the question that often arises is, “if they’re out there, why haven’t we found them yet?” And often, the response is that we have only searched a tiny portion of the galaxy. Researchers have applied a deep learning technique to a previously studied dataset of nearby stars and uncovered eight previously unidentified signals of interest.

  • New Accelerator for Data Science and Emerging AI Startups

    Data science and AI are two of the most transformative technologies this century, with the potential to revolutionize virtually every industry and field of study. The University of Chicago is at the heart of these scientific innovations. The New Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation program provides support to early-stage companies built on data science and AI technologies.

  • U.S. Immigration Has Become an Elaborate Bait and Switch

    The United States is relying on its engineering and science talent to stay ahead of China in what has become an existential struggle to lead in the industries of the future. At U.S. universities, international students make up 74 percent of graduate electrical engineering students, 72 percent of computer and information science students, and half or more students in pharmaceutical sciences, mathematics, and statistics. Yet, the U.S. Congress has not revised immigration quotas since 1965, when the U.S. population was almost 140 million people smaller. Nor has Congress revisited the rules for highly educated immigrants since 1990—which was before the U.S. information technology sector created millions of new jobs in technical fields that have attracted so many immigrant scientists and engineers.

  • Germany Did Research with North Korea -- Despite UN Sanctions

    Kim Jong Un wants to modernize his nuclear weapons. To stop him, the UN has banned research collaboration with North Korea. One Berlin institute continued to collaborate with North Korea on research projects — without flagging the risks.

  • “Safeguarding Science” Toolkit to Help U.S. Research Enterprise Guard Against Threats

    The National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC) and its partners announced a unique collaboration between elements of the U.S. intelligence and scientific communities to help the U.S. research enterprise mitigate the broad spectrum of risk it faces from nation-state, criminal, and other threat actors.

  • Meeting Surging Demand for National Security Research

    Sandia National Laboratory is embarking on a major expansion of its network of academic partners to meet the surging demand for national security science and engineering. From 2015 to 2021, the Labs’ budget increased more than 50%, from $2.9 billion to $4.5 billion. Over the same period, the Labs increased its workforce by more than 25%, from 11,700 to 15,000. Still, the Lab says that it won’t meet its obligations just by hiring staff.

  • Purdue University Launches Institute for National Security

    Building on its years of growing engagement and collaboration with the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities, Purdue University is creating the Purdue Institute for National Security, a new interdisciplinary institute.