Welcome to your weekly science update – a curated list of this week’s most interesting stories in science.
What you need to know about Pluto. After a 9-year journey covering 5 billion kilometres, the NASA space craft New Horizons has completed a flyby of Pluto and its moons (see video). This might be the last time humankind sees images of a “planet” for the first time. (Technically, Pluto is a ‘dwarf planet’.)
Space is big. Sometimes we need reminding just how big. If the moon was 1 pixel does just that. Swipe or scroll through to get a feel for the size of the solar system. And this video shows the solar system from the perspective of a beam of light travelling away from the sun.
The War on GMO. Anti-GMO activists accuse agro-chemical companies of hiding the truth.. An investigation by Slate suggests the reverse might also be true.
New Particle Discovered at CERN. Scientists working at the Large Hadron Collider have confirmed the existence of a new particle — the Pentaquark. It could provide an answer to what holds subatomic particles together.
Seismic threat. A terrifying read about the science of earthquakes and how the Pacific Northwest and populations from Oregon to Vancouver are at risk.
Genetics and Depression. A new study has found a link between severe depression and a specific genetic sequence. A connection has long been suspected and this should energise researchers.
Disrupting healthcare. Blood tests from Theranos involve just a thumb-prick and cost a fraction of traditional tests. The group got its first test FDA-approved this month. Could this Silicon Valley start-up trigger a revolution in diagnostics?
Mexico’s Soda Tax works Mexico put a tax on sugary drinks in January 2014 and initial results show that it has reduced demand. Policy makers worried about the rising costs of treating obesity will be watching with interest.
Leadership training for scientists. Scientists are expected to continue learning and to expand their research skills throughout their careers. But despite the need, very few are offered training on how to become effective leaders.
Saudi super-computer. Saudi Arabia has joined the ranks of countries hosting elite research computing centres with the opening of Shaheen II — the world’s seventh most powerful computer — at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
Author: David Gleicher is Senior Programme Manager, Science and Technology, at the World Economic Forum
Image: Members of the media view an image of Pluto on the screen taken a day earlier by the spacecraft New Horizons as it approached a flyby of Pluto. REUTERS/Mike Theile