Explosions of the cases of Covid-19 in Europe, curfew, national reconfinement… The news of October 2020, coupled with the drop in temperatures and the change to winter time, has probably given a blow to the morale of many. But by taking stock of the month that is ending, we also find good news, like a ray of sunshine through the gray of autumn. Nobel Prizes, great discoveries, inspiring stories and beautiful things, here are 10 reasons to have faith in science… and the future.
5 good news for animals, research and health
Transmission of Covid-19 from pregnant mother to child is rare
Good news for pregnant women during this epidemic period: according to an American study of 101 births, mothers infected with Covid-19 rarely transmit it to their newborns, subject to a few simple hygiene measures . Better still, the benefits of skin to skin and breastfeeding far outweigh the risks of transmission.
The 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry rewards Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna for CRISPR-Cas9
October is also the month of the Nobel Prize winners. And the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry stands out. Awarded to the French Emmanuelle Charpentier and the American Jennifer Doudna, it rewards a scientific discovery of extraordinary scope: the “genetics scissors” Crispr / Cas9, which make it possible to cut, replace or correct a gene on demand. This innovation, dating from 2012, literally revolutionized research in cell biology and genetics.
And beyond the discovery, this is the first time that a 100% female duo has been awarded a Nobel in Chemistry, and even a scientific Nobel itself. During a press conference, Emmanuelle Charpentier hoped that this award will bring “a very strong message“to young girls, stressing that”women scientists can also have an impact on the research they conduct“.
Egypt ends animal rides near archaeological sites
It’s a “huge victory“for animal advocates. After more than a year of pressure, the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism has announced its intention to ban dromedaries, camels, horses and donkeys on the site of the Giza pyramids and in archaeological areas.
UBritish study confirms the calming power of nature documentaries
To better experience the re-containment, animal documentaries can help you. An original study by the University of Exeter (England) focused on “boring” the participants, before showing them scenes from documentaries on nature.
The researchers found that “just watching nature on TV can help improve people’s moods“. Results which are particularly interesting for hospitalized people.
The Nobel Peace Prize (and 10 million Swedish crowns) for the World Food Program
Another important Nobel Prize, that of peace, was awarded to the World Food Program (WFP) for “its efforts to fight hunger“and”its contribution to improving the conditions of peace in conflict-affected areas“.
The prize is accompanied by a sum of 10 million Swedish kronor (almost 950,000 euros). For WFP, this potentially represents 3.8 million meals that can be distributed around the world.
3 beautiful scientific stories that give hope
With the drop in shipping traffic, pink dolphins are back in Hong Kong
The pandemic and containment have had rather happy consequences for biodiversity and wild animals. Many examples of animals venturing into cities, emptied of their inhabitants, have been observed. The most recent: pink dolphins – also called Chinese white dolphins – have returned to the waters between Hong Kong and Macao, since the ferry traffic stopped.
A rare pink dolphin, September 20, 2020, in the waters between Hong Kong and Macau (AFP – May James)
Teenager achieves nuclear fusion reaction at 12
Passionate about science, young Jackson Oswalt, originally from Tennessee, managed to fuse two atoms of deuterium together using a device he built himself in the family home. Aged 12, he becomes the youngest person in the world to successfully complete a nuclear fusion and has entered the 2021 edition of the Guinness World Records.
Epilogue of a farmer’s long fight against Mosanto
For him, it is “a great deliverance after 14 years!“Paul François, intoxicated after inhaling vapors of the herbicide Lasso (marketed by Monsanto) in 2004, won his legal battle after 14 years of proceedings against this company.”There will be a before and after this trial. It shows that a simple citizen can convict a multinational“, he welcomed after the rejection by the Court of Cassation of the appeal brought by Monsanto.
From Jupiter to Australia, the most beautiful scientific images for October 2020
A magnificent and hypnotic view of Jupiter, filmed by the Juno probe
More than four years after its arrival around Jupiter, in July 2016, NASA’s Juno probe continues its exploration of the gas giant and its moons, providing at the same time hundreds of photos of them. And it is from these photos that an amateur astronomer made a video, recreating the atmosphere of a flight over Jupiter, as if you were on board the probe.
Amazing cave paintings discovered in Australia
The caves of Lascaux or Chauvet have accustomed us to the representations of horses, bison or bears in cave art. Less to marsupials and dugongs. However, they are part of the paintings discovered in Arnhem Land, an Australian aboriginal region.
A marsupial of the Macropodidae family. (P. Taçon)
A team of Australian researchers have documented 572 so far unknown paintings, spread over 87 different sites. These discoveries were made over ten years, from 2008 to 2018, and are believed to be between 6,000 and 9,400 years old.