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Daily briefing: Two dozen geneticists found out from a tweet that they might have coronavirus
Scientists exposed to COVID-19 are a striking example of US authorities failing to test people and notify their contacts, a cornerstone of outbreak response. Plus: understanding how many covert coronavirus cases might be unwittingly infecting others and the Turing Awards goes to Toy Story graphics wizards.
Special-effects pioneers Patrick Hanrahan and Edwin Catmull won the US$1 million A. M. Turing Award “for fundamental contributions to 3-D computer graphics”. Beginning with Pixar Animation Studios’ 1995 Toy Story — the first feature-length film made entirely of computer animations — the two computer scientists have had leading roles in designing and applying software to create ever-more-realistic renderings and to simulate physics and materials.
• Nationalism and scientific cooperation are in a tug-of-war over the fate of a future vaccine for the COVID-19 virus. Propaganda, pride and the prospect of treating your own citizens first sit on one side. On the other, unprecedented scientific collaboration — even among pharmaceutical companies that are ordinarily fierce competitors — and the desire to get the vaccine to where it can make the most difference epidemiologically. (The New York Times | 9 min read)
• If you want to hear what software squillionaire and vaccine-funding philanthropist Bill Gates thinks about it all, he (and two of his foundation's scientific advisors) did an ‘ask me anything’ session on Reddit yesterday. No Earth-shattering insights, but a nice round-up of the current state of things (especially in the United States) from someone who has the ears of all the major players. (Reddit | 6 min read)
In her new book, pioneering developmental biologist Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz reflects on an epic journey studying the start of life. Drafted over 15 years, the book’s main narrative is the remarkable transformation, in just a few days, of a single spherical mammalian egg cell to a tube containing all the types of stem cell needed for a full body plan. The addition of an honest and passionate depiction of the complexity of science as a vocation makes the book even more appealing, writes reviewer Sarah Franklin.
People trust the facts more when an imaginary scientist told a story in first person about how they became interested in the topic, found journalism researcher Amanda Hinnan and her colleague, public-health researcher Lise Saffran. (Nature | 5 min read)Reference: PLOS One paper