New Scientist

New Scientist 14-sep-19

New Scientist covers the latest developments in science and technology that will impact your world. New Scientist employs and commissions the best writers in their fields from all over the world. Our editorial team provide cutting-edge news, award-winning features and reports, written in concise and clear language that puts discoveries and advances in the context of everyday life today and in the future.

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51 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
come and join us at new scientist live

Vol 243 No 3247 Cover image: Mario De Meyer THERE are only four weeks to go until New Scientist Live, our blockbuster four-day science and technology show. If you haven’t been before, do come and join us! It is a brilliant show for people of all ages and backgrounds, celebrating the most exciting new ideas from the frontiers of science. Running at London’s ExCel Centre from 10 to 13 October, there will be six stages of talks and more than 150 interactive experiences. There will be something for you whether you are interested in the multiverse or the microbiome, deep history or the deep future. We had 40,000 visitors last year, and we hope even more of you will come this time. The stellar line up for 2019 includes the incredible Lee Berger, talking…

2 min.
einstein’s web

FUNDAMENTAL physics is in a funk. Its guiding programme, to explain things by inventing ever more particles, has stalled, leaving 95.4 percent of the stuff in the universe – the provinces of dark matter and dark energy – unexplained. What is more, the underlying theory of microscopic reality that physics serves up, quantum theory, presents reality in a form no one can get their heads round. Oh, and quantum theory doesn’t play ball with the other big theory of modern physics, Einstein’s general relativity. Ah yes, Einstein: one way or another, you can’t dodge the web he created. In seeking new answers to the age-old question of what space and time are (page 34), theoretical physicist Sean Carroll has to confront Einstein’s legacy of an interwoven, highly malleable space-time that underlies…

2 min.
moonshot goes wrong

ONCE again, an attempt to land on the moon hasn’t gone to plan. On 6 September, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with the Vikram lander during its attempt to set down on the surface. It initially appeared that the craft had crashed, just five months after Israel’s Beresheet lunar lander faced a similar fate. Vikram is a part of the Chandrayaan 2 mission, which launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in India on 22 July. The mission also includes an orbiter that is circling the moon and a rover called Pragyan carried inside the lander. Most of the descent went smoothly. But when Vikram was just 2 kilometres above the surface, it started to diverge from the planned trajectory. Shortly afterwards, the lander lost contact with Earth and…

1 min.
prosthesis helps you feel each step

AN ARTIFICIAL leg with built-in sensors is helping people walk better. The first two users of the prosthesis also had less phantom limb pain, the condition in which amputees get sensations that seem to come from their missing limb (Nature Medicine, doi.org/dbbh). Stanisa Raspopovic at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and his team made the prosthesis using a commercially available artificial leg. They added sensors on the sole of the foot and inside the knee that could be connected by wires to nerves in a user’s thigh.…

1 min.
supercooled livers may aid transplants

DONOR livers can be kept outside the body for much longer thanks to a new supercooling method. The technique lowers the organ’s temperature below 0˚C without forming damaging ice crystals inside it (Nature Biotechnology, doi.org/dbbj). This means livers can be kept for up to a day and a half, which could boost the number of transplants carried out. The method could also be used on other organs, says Reinier de Vries at Harvard Medical School. Currently, livers can only be stored for 12 hours, limiting the distance they can be transported.…

4 min.
crunch time for climate change

HOPES of a breakthrough in international climate change ambitions are being downplayed for a meeting in New York in two weeks’ time. The United Nations Climate Action summit looks likely to disappoint the thousands of campaigners set to take to the city’s streets just days before. The summit is arguably the most important moment for action on climate change since the Paris climate deal was agreed in 2015. A key part of that agreement was that by 2020, countries would “ratchet up” the carbon-curbing plans they put forward in Paris, which were insufficient to meet the agreement’s goals. UN secretary general António Guterres has called on leaders to form concrete, realistic plans, rather than “beautiful speeches”. He has set the bar high for heads of state, who are expected to include Narendra…