Spanish government unveils new cross-collaborative strategy for scientific policy

On 20 June, the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced a new initiative to promote links between politicians and scientists. ONAC – the national office for scientific advice – will work directly with the prime minister’s office to coordinate the scientific advisers in each government ministry. ONAC will also create a strategic support unit within […]

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How can your lab cut water use in reflux reactions?

If you work in a lab where you run chemical reactions under reflux conditions, you’ve likely considered the downsides of using water in your condenser. Such experiments heat a solvent to boiling, using a condenser above the reaction vessel to cool and capture the vapour produced, returning it as liquid to the vessel. Traditionally, chemists […]

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Zinc–air batteries created from paper industry waste

A team of researchers has shown that paper industry waste can be transformed into a zinc–air battery.1 The battery, created from cellulose and lignin, exhibited a high power density and a wide operating temperature, while avoiding the longstanding issue of dendrite growth. Zinc–air batteries are popular due to their low cost and high energy density. […]

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Explainer: How is the US pharmaceutical patent system being misused?

At the end of 2023, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) challenged several pharmaceutical companies (including AbbVie, AstraZeneca and Teva) on the accuracy or relevance of over 100 patents listed in the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Orange Book – a registry for patents relating to approved drugs, which have bearing on the possible […]

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World’s largest sodium–ion battery goes live

The world’s largest sodium-ion battery has gone into operation in Qianjiang in China’s Hubei province. The developers of the energy storage system say that it can meet the daily electricity requirements of 12,000 households. Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are used in everything from mobile phones and electric vehicles to grid-scale energy storage. But with lithium in […]

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Glycolysis method breaks down mixed textiles for recycling

A new chemical recycling strategy breaks down polyester and spandex into useful monomers, while keeping cotton and nylon intact and ready for reuse. The method could offer a way to increase the amount of textile waste that is recycled, while minimising the need for sorting and separation processes. Around 100 billion items of clothing are […]

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A monumental astronomy tome from the seventeenth century

Giovanni Battista Riccioli (1598–1671) was a third generation, seventeenth-century, Jesuit mathematician and astronomer. A student of Giuseppe Biancani (1566–1624) at the University of Parma, who was himself a student of Christoph Clavius (1538–1612) at the Collegio Romano, who had first introduced the mathematical sciences into the educational programme of the Jesuit Order. Riccioli as portrayed […]

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US–China tensions appear to be damaging countries’ science, analysis finds

Increasing geopolitical tensions between the US and China are having a noticeable effect on the two countries’ research and may be harming global science, according to recent analysis from the US National Bureau of Economics Research (NBER). The report concludes that the US Department of Justice’s investigations into ethnically Chinese scientists under the now defunct China […]

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Patrick Vallance joins UK science department as Keir Starmer appoints first cabinet

Former UK chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance will serve as a minister under new science secretary Peter Kyle. The appointments were made by the country’s new prime minister Keir Starmer as he selected his team to run key government departments following the Labour party’s landslide win in last week’s general election. The government’s science department […]

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