SHORT SCIENCE

Nobel Prize winners urge charities to sell shares of fossil fuel companies

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 April, 2015, 8:29am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 April, 2015, 1:08pm

Basic ingredients of life found in distant star

Astronomers have found the first signs of the complex, carbon-based molecules that make life possible on earth in a disk of gas and dust surrounding a young star in a region where cosmic building blocks gather to create planets for a new star system. The methyl cyanide and hydrogen cyanide found there are essential to life as we know it. Without them, there would be no proteins. “We know when our own solar system was very young, it was rich in water and complex organics. We know that from observing comets,” explained study author Karin Oberg, an assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard. Comets have kept the molecules of our solar system’s early days locked up tight ever since, which is why scientists are so eager to study them for clues about the earth’s formation. Tribune News Service

 

Nobel winners urge charities to sell shares

Nobel prize winners in the US and Australia have joined calls for the world’s two largest health charities to sell their stocks in leading fossil fuel companies. The eminent researchers argue the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust should end their investments in major coal, oil and gas firms because they conflict with the charities’ aims of improving public health. Proven fossil fuel reserves are already three to five times larger than the amount of carbon that can be burned by mid-century with a realistic chance of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, a widely agreed threshold for dangerous climate change impacts. The Guardian

 

Robotic glove could help stroke survivors

A robotic glove designed to help stroke sufferers regain movement in their hands and rebuild their muscles has been developed as part of a collaborative project in Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy. The device is called Script (Supervised Care and Rehabilitation Involving Personal Tele-robotics), and has been developed by researchers at the University of Hertfordshire and a team of European partners. Reuters

 

Smartphone battery charges in a minute

US scientists have invented a cheap, long-lasting and flexible battery made of aluminium for use in smartphones that can be charged in as little as one minute. The researchers, who detailed their discovery in the journal Nature, said the new aluminium-ion battery has the potential to replace lithium-ion batteries, used in millions of laptops and mobile phones. Reuters