Death in space: here’s what would happen to our bodies

Nasa / Unsplash, CC BY-NC As space travel for recreational purposes is becoming a very real possibility, there could come a time when we are travelling to other planets for holidays, or perhaps even to live. Commercial space company Blue Origin has already started sending paying customers on sub-orbital flights.…

Breast milk can contain COVID antibodies – good news for babies

Irina Polonina/Shutterstock Although babies and young children are at lower risk of getting very sick with COVID-19 compared to older adults, a small proportion of babies will require hospital care. There has been immense interest among scientists, health-care workers and new mothers especially in understanding whether potentially protective antibodies against…

A good job for robots, found – dealing with our embarrassing problems

People are less embarrassed asking for items from a robot than a human. Gennady Danilkin/Shutterstock Many TV shows have a scene where a customer attempts to buy a potentially embarrassing product – a pornographic magazine perhaps or a diarrhoea treatment – only to have the assistant loudly check the price…

Explaining the 2021 Nobel prizes: how touch works, a better way to make medicine and the fiction of Abdulrazak Gurnah – podcast

Our sense of touch is actually lots of different senses rolled into one. Yevhen Prozhyrko/Shutterstock Six prize announcements later, 12 men and one woman from 11 countries are now settling down to their new lives as Nobel laureates. In this episode of The Conversation Weekly, we delve into the scientific…

Energy price rises: tips on how to save money on your bills and be greener from an expert

Turning down the heating just 1C in a room can produce significant savings, our energy expert says. Syda Productions/Shutterstock The price of gas and electricity has been increasing sharply on the back of energy shortages. This is mainly due to a squeeze on gas supplies at a time when manufacturing,…

William Shatner to be oldest astronaut at 90 – here’s how space tourism could affect older people

Bryan Regan/Shutterstock Is space really the final frontier? William Shatner is set to find out as he boldly goes where no 90-year-old has gone before. Some 55 years after Captain James T Kirk hit our screens in the original Star Trek, Shatner will launch to the edge of space aboard…

The Electron-Ion Collider: new accelerator could solve the mystery of how matter holds together

Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US. Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory When the Nobel Prize-winning US physicist Robert Hofstadter and his team fired highly energetic electrons at a small vial of hydrogen at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in 1956, they opened the door to a new era of physics. Until…

The Human Brain Project: six achievements of Europe’s largest neuroscience programme

Connections between brain cells. NIH Image Gallery/Flickr, CC BY-NC While humans have walked on the Moon and sent probes all over the solar system, our understanding of our own brain is still severely lacking. We do not have complete knowledge of how brain structure, chemicals and connectivity interact to produce…

We used 60-year-old notebooks to find out why male hippos have bigger tusks than females

Courtship behaviour of a male and female hippopotamus in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, showing the larger head and tusk sizes of the adult male on left. Graeme Shannon, Author provided Male hippopotamuses are an unusual size. Among mammals, males are usually much larger than females, but in hippos the sexes…

Chang’e-5 samples reveal Moon rocks dating back less than 2 billion years – the youngest we’ve seen

taffpixture/Shutterstock Lava was still flowing on the surface of the Moon 1.97 billion years ago – and now we have the rocks to prove it. This is the result of new work from an international collaboration of planetary scientists, of which we’re a part, published in the journal Science. Together…

Instagram Kids: tech development must move from usability to safety

Facebook has announced that it is halting development on its Instagram Kids project. This follows reports that the social media giant had commissioned – and kept secret – internal research that found Instagram was detrimental to young people’s mental health. The study’s findings, not to mention the fact that they…

Would we still see ourselves as ‘human’ if other hominin species hadn’t gone extinct?

Would we see Neanderthals (right) as human if they were around today? wikipedia, CC BY-SA READER QUESTION: We now know from evolutionary science that humanity has existed in some form or another for around 2 million years or more. Homo sapiens are comparatively new on the block. There were also…

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