New model suggests that as the universe expands everything from galaxies to space-time itself will be torn apart - but not for about 22 billion yearsEverything we know, and everything else besides, burst into existence at the Big Bang. Now scientists have concluded that we could be heading for an equally dramatic cosmic finale: the Big Rip.A new theoretical model suggests that as the unive
Although results of first trial were ‘modest and variable’, second bigger trial aims to combine gene therapy with other treatments for longer term benefitsA treatment to help those with cystic fibrosis may be available within five years, say scientists who who have been working for decades to develop a gene therapy for the disease.The results of a year-long trial showed only a small and va
Recognise his name? Few do. But Wieland wasn’t just the father of biochemistry and a Nobel prize winner. He was a scientist with the courage of his convictionsDespite finding international fame as one of Germany’s most renowned scientists in the first half of the 20th century, Heinrich Otto Wieland always shied away from the limelight, so the man now regarded as the father of modern biochemis
Trial showed healthy people given a Parkinson’s drug became more selfish, while people given a serotonin-boosting drug were more protective of others Common drugs for depression and Parkinson’s can sway people’s moral judgments about harming others, according to research that raises ethical questions about the use of the drugs. The study found that when healthy people were given a one-off
With much skill – and some luck – the New Horizons spacecraft is about to provide our closest glimpse yet of the frozen and little-understood world of PlutoPluto is so far away (4.8bn km) and so small (about two-thirds the size of the Earth’s moon) that we’ve never had a good look at it, not even with the Hubble space telescope. In Hubble images, Pluto has always been a tiny, pixelated blob. Un
16-year-old mathlete Joe Benton travels with UK team to Thailand next week to battle, against the odds, the powerhouses of China, USA and Taiwan“I’ve always been interested in maths, since I can remember,” says 16-year-old Joe Benton. “I find it elegant. I really enjoy the kick you get when you solve a problem, when it’s something you’ve been thinking of as impossible for a long time, and it
Vaccine may have caused narcolepsy by triggering the production of antibodies which destroy a sleep-regulating part of the brain, a new study suggestsScientists appear close to pinpointing why a swine flu vaccine given to six million people in Britain triggered the devastating sleep disorder, narcolepsy, in rare cases.The Pandemrix vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and which was reco
The survey of 350,000 people across four continents did not, however, confirm a belief of a link between genetic variety and high cholesterol or blood pressureThe children of parents who are more distantly related tend to be taller and smarter than their peers, according to one of the largest studies to date into genetic diversity.The study suggests that height and intelligence may be incr
Studies on mice show two existing medicines could help restore protein production in brain and prevent memory loss, speeding up search for cureTwo licensed drugs have been shown to halt brain degeneration in mice, raising the prospect of a rapid acceleration in the search for a medicine to beat Alzheimer’s disease.The results, presented on Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Society annual research
Hermaphrodite flatworm is able to self-fertilise thanks to an evolutionary development resulting in a needle-like penis, scientists have discoveredThe pursuit of reproductive success in the animal kingdom sometimes calls for extreme measures. But few creatures can match the hermaphrodite flatworm, which scientists have discovered can reproduce by injecting sperm into its own head.The tiny
Campaigners including Brian May and Lord Rees are marking Asteroid Day by raising awareness of the the threat posed to the planet by speeding space rocksThe search for deadly asteroids that could slam into Earth must be speeded up 100-fold to help protect the future of life on Earth, according to an influential group of scientists, astronauts and rock stars. Continue reading...
The Migratory Connectivity Project seeks to connect people and cultures throughout the Americas by fostering the public’s appreciation for migratory birdsDid you know the coast of Texas is a critically important place for migratory birds in the U.S. and Canada? This is where most migratory birds that breed in the eastern United States and throughout Canada first make landfall after a long mig
The UK is currently experiencing something of a heatwave. However, as much as people claim to look forward to and enjoy hot weather, the evidence suggests that people are actually far more aggressive and violent when the temperature rises. What is it about the heat that makes people so angry?Wednesday 1 July saw the hottest July day in the UK on record, and of course the population and the me
Spiders can use their legs or abdomens as “sails”, helping them to disperse across large bodies of waterIf, last week, you’d quizzed me about the dispersal strategies of spiders, I would have told you all about “ballooning”, how Charles Darwin, at sea on the Beagle in 1832, was stunned to see thousands of tiny, dusky red spiders come floating on board, borne on silky parachutes that trapped t
Asteroids could potentially cause substantial damage to the planet. Better observational data and analysis could help us to avert disastrous strikesThe aim of Asteroid Day is to inform the public and raise awareness about the possibility that asteroids can collide with the Earth in the future. Today was chosen to highlight the risk because on the same day in 1908, a 30m object entered the atm
Astrophysicist Dr Brian May has spoken to the Guardian about Asteroid Day, and saving the planet from the threat of incoming space rocksBefore Queen, Brian May was an astrophysicist. He has held a life-long fascination with space and is now devoting more time promoting the study of the cosmos to others. He is a key figure behind Asteroid Day, a series of almost 100 events around the world.
Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May warns of the threat to Earth from a meteor strike. He's among a group of experts calling for more effort to find and track potentially dangerous asteroids. 'We are under threat from a meteor strike. This is a catastrophe that could be averted,' he says to mark the first ever 'asteroid day' Continue reading...
The sight of a live rhinoceros in 18th century London was extraordinary. Christopher Plumb tells the tragic, drunken story of Gilbert Pidcock’s rhinocerosName: Gilbert Pidcock’s rhinocerosSpecies: _Rhinoceros unicornis_Dates: ca.1788-1793Claim to fame: One of the few living rhinoceros exhibited in 18th-century BritainWhere now: The skin and horn were sold at auction in 1810. Current where
With LGBT civil rights in the news, Georgina Voss argues that science institutions need to extend their equality initiatives to queer scientistsWhen Sir Tim Hunt’s comments about women in science broke, one element in particular jumped out at me. Hunt was, he said, in favour of gender-segregated laboratories as a way of sidestepping the mess arising from scientists in love. The notion that sa
Australian babblers are capable of phoneme structuring, the first time this has been demonstrated in any non-human animal“Holy shit, man!”Andy Russell had entered the lecture hall late and stood at the back, listening to the close of a talk by Marta Manser, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Zurich who works on animal communication. Continue reading...
Paul Whyley is receiving treatment for motor neurone disease after experiencing an epiphany during screening of Oscar-winning film The Theory of EverythingA moviegoer has told how he correctly diagnosed himself with motor neurone disease after watching the Oscar-winning Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything.Paul Whyley, 62, a grandfather and former newspaper circulation rep from
Syrian antiquities director says destruction of Lion of al-Lat statue dating from 1st century BC at Palmyra museum is serious crime against world heritage siteIslamic State jihadis have destroyed a 2,000-year-old statue of a lion outside the museum in the Syrian city of Palmyra, the country’s antiquities director has said. Continue reading...
Dong-Pyou Han, who spiked rabbit blood with human antibodies to suggest major progress toward a vaccine, must pay $7.2m to US governmentA former Iowa State University scientist who altered blood samples to make it appear he had achieved a breakthrough toward a potential vaccine against HIV was sentenced on Wednesday to more than four and a half years in prison for making false statements in r
Discovery rules out many theories of comet formation by demonstrating that comets have substantial variations in their internal structuresCameras on the Rosetta spacecraft have spotted a series of enormous pits on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that plunge hundreds of metres down into the body’s cold interior.Scientists on the mission believe the pits formed in the same way as sinkholes o
News that US is now world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country belies the fact that America breeds English: ‘Spanish dominance, it’s not going to happen’The news was striking and, to some, alarming: the United States is now the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico. It has 41 million native Spanish speakers and 11.6 million who are bilingual – more than Colombia or
Rightwing broadcaster uses his national US radio show to urge action against Disney film about historic HMS Beagle voyage that led to theory of evolutionFormer Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has suggested a boycott of the just-announced Disney film about the celebrated English naturalist Charles Darwin, during an episode of his nationally syndicated radio show.Disney’s plan to greenlight
Social network chief believes we’ll be able to send thoughts to each other directly using technology in the futureBesides virtual reality, laser-toting satellites and artificial intelligence, what other futuristic technologies is Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg interested in? Oh, you know, telepathy.“One day, I believe we’ll be able to send full rich thoughts to each other directl
You just had one of the longest hours of your life. At midnight GMT, clocks added an extra second to allow atomic clocks to stay in sync with the Earth’s rotation. Will the internet fall apart? Follow all the latest developments on our live blog 10.41am AEST Was it as good for you as it was for us? The longest day of the year is flying by here at the Guardian’s Sydney HQ. Here’s how the le
Markets and tech companies braced for glitches as extra second introduced to allow atomic clocks to stay in sync with the Earth’s gradually slowing rotation *‘Leap second’: how are you planning to spend it? Time and tide wait for no man, the saying goes. But at midnight GMT on Tuesday clocks will pause momentarily as the entire planet gains a bonus second. If you happen to be awake, and
Given that we’re living in a golden age for space photography, it’s surprising how antiquated the hardware responsible is…For those who keep up with the latest developments in space exploration, the last couple of years have offered a rich feast of images: from close-up pictures of water-worn pebbles on the surface of Mars to the views of galaxies at the edge of the visible universe, by way of