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The image above might look like a sea of stars, but it actually shows the low-frequency radio signals from more than 25,000 supermassive black holes. The map covers 4% of the northern half of the sky and is the most detailed map yet of the objects. Researchers compared the view from Earth to looking out into the world while immersed in the water in a swimming pool. “We had to invent new methods to convert the radio signals into images of the sky,” says astronomer Francesco de Gasperin.
Reference: arXiv preprint (accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics)
Horizon Europe, the world’s largest multinational research and innovation programme, has issued its first call for grant applications. Over the next 7 years, the European Union’s giant research-spending scheme will distribute a record €95.5 billion (US$116 billion) — including €5.4 billion from a COVID-19 recovery fund — to basic-science projects and cross-border research collaborations that tens of thousands of researchers across 27 member states and more than a dozen other countries will carry out. It also heightens the focus on open science, equality, interdisciplinary research and practical applications.
COVAX, the global sharing mechanism for COVID-19 vaccines, has delivered its first doses. Ghana received 600,000 doses of the Oxford–AstraZeneca vaccine. “Today marks the historic moment for which we have been planning and working so hard,” Henrietta Fore, the executive director of the United Nations children’s charity UNICEF, said yesterday. “In the days ahead, frontline workers will begin to receive vaccines, and the next phase in the fight against this disease can begin.” COVAX aims to distribute two billion doses this year in the largest operation for vaccine procurement and supply in history.
The number of flu cases detected so far this year in a survey of hundreds of thousands of swab samples in the United Kingdom. Scientists credit the achievement to record influenza vaccination levels and strategies to reduce COVID infections. (The Independent | 5 min read)
Features & opinion
Physicists have glimpsed an imbalance in the types of antimatter that swim in the sea of quarks and gluons that make up the proton. A shoestring experiment 20 years in the making, called SeaQuest, has found that there are more down antiquarks than up antiquarks in the proton sea: on average, 1.4 down antiquarks for every up antiquark. The asymmetry could help to decide which of the competing theoretical models of the proton will come out on top.
Bioinorganic chemist Paul Walton and physicist Sean Hendy became gender-equity allies after seeing how female colleagues were being treated differently at work. They noted that women were ignored or talked over in meetings and treated more harshly than male candidates in job interviews. They discuss the action they have taken, including observers for the recruitment process and a boycott of ‘manels’ — all-male panels.
Reinfection with COVID-19 seems to be a rare, but ominous, prospect. The Atlantic explores the myriad factors at play when it comes to getting infected, again. “Infection is a two-player game, and a change in either contender can affect the dynamics of a second confrontation,” writes science journalist Katherine Wu. Reducing the virus’s opportunities to mutate will be key to maintaining our defences.