Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
New analysis of data captured last year by NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveals the distant Solar System object once known as 2014 MU69, now called Arrokoth, in sharp detail. The 36-kilometre-long Kuiper belt object is extremely red, probably because cosmic rays have blasted its surface to create red organic molecules. Its two lobes are thought to have merged gently in the early days of the Solar System, at least four billion years ago. Arrokoth is probably typical of the Kuiper belt objects that share similar orbits, but “we’ll never know for sure until we look”, says astronomer David Jewitt.
China is expected to take a prominent role when nearly 200 countries gather in ten days’ time to thrash out a major plan to address the biodiversity crisis. The meeting was originally planned to take place in Kunming, China, but has been moved to Rome because of the coronavirus outbreak. China will take over the presidency of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which will determine the targets that will form the basis of a legally binding global agreement. The stakes are particularly high this time, because countries have largely failed to meet the 2020 deadline for the current CBD goals.
On 12 February, Hubei province in China reported nearly 15,000 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, representing a 33% jump in total infections worldwide in a single day. But most of the Hubei cases — about 13,000 — are the result of a new policy in the province that means physicians can diagnose suspected cases of COVID-19 on the basis of chest scans, rather than having to wait for genetic tests to confirm the presence of the virus, which can take days. The policy was established in response to pleas from clinicians who are overwhelmed by patients with respiratory diseases, and don’t have time to wait for lab results.
Features & opinion
In this four-part podcast series about writing a paper, four researchers share the highs and lows of getting published for the first time, and what the experience taught them. In the first episode, they delve into the all-important first stage of the process, preparing a manuscript for submission to a journal.
Paying up front for work-related travel is commonplace in science — but can be a cause of significant financial stress for low-paid graduate students. Exobiologist John Malloy shares his experiences of risking debt to travel, and discusses what to do about it.
The centuries-old pigment Prussian blue and its analogues have had an unparalleled role in advancing our understanding of inorganic chemistry and materials. Now researchers have revealed a surprising ordering of the gaps found in their crystal lattices. Plus, teenageers’ sleep cycles and quantum entanglement.
Chemists Adam Jaffe and Jeffrey Long give the expert view on these extraordinary materials in the News & Views article.
Where I work
Computer scientist Anne-Marie Imafidon launched a business that encourages girls and young women to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics because she wanted to have a wider impact. “If I can inspire more girls to build something for themselves, that’s even more important than me making another algorithm or widget,” says Imafidon. (Nature, 2 min read)
Enjoy NIH director Francis Collins and other National Institutes of Health leaders frolicking with a paddock full of puppies as they discuss stress reduction and the role of dogs in supporting our health.
Put an even bigger smile on my face by sending me your feedback — positive or critical — to email@example.com.