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Pioneering astrophysicist Margaret Burbidge, who helped to explain the origin of all chemical elements, from beryllium to zinc, died on Sunday at the age of 100. Burbidge was the lead author, along with William Fowler, Fred Hoyle and her late husband Geoffrey Burbidge, on a milestone 1957 paper that explained how stars synthesize many elements heavier than lithium through nuclear fusion. The paper helped Fowler to earn a Nobel Prize, an honour that some say Burbidge deserved, too. Burbidge was a trailblazer for women in the field — early in her career, she was barred from using some of the best telescopes of the time because of her gender.
A survey of PhD students and their supervisors in Australia has revealed an alarming gap in each other’s expectations. Students thought that publishing at least four papers and winning grants was the most important outcome of their candidature, but supervisors said critical thinking, written communication and discipline knowledge were the best indicators of success. The results show the importance of discussing expectations and goals early on, says the survey’s lead researcher Adam Cardilini.
Buried in a very readable profile of comedy misanthrope Larry David, there is advice from lustrous fashion designer Tom Ford about how to look good on a video call. Which I reproduce here in full (you’re welcome):
“Put the computer up on a stack of books so the camera is slightly higher than your head. Say, about the top of your head. And then point it down into your eyes. Then take a tall lamp and set it next to the computer on the side of your face you feel is best. The lamp should be in line with and slightly behind the computer so the light falls nicely on your face. Then put a piece of white paper or a white tablecloth on the table you are sitting at but make sure it can’t be seen in the frame. It will give you a bit of fill and bounce. And lots of powder, et voilà!”
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Flora Graham, senior editor, Nature Briefing
With contributions by Nicky Phillips and Davide Castelvecchi