Hello Nature readers, would you like to get this Briefing in your inbox free every day? Sign up here
US President Joe Biden has unveiled his first proposed budget, which would raise core funding for research and development across nearly every major federal science agency, including historic increases to improve public health, invest in clean energy and battle racial injustices. “This is a radical change of pace from what we’ve seen for the past four years,” says policy analyst Matthew Hourihan. The document provides only a broad view of the president’s priorities: further details are expected in a more complete proposal in the coming weeks.
When solving problems, people tend to think about adding something before they think of taking something away — even when subtracting is the better solution. Experiments show that this newly discovered psychological phenomenon applies across a range of situations, from improving a physical design to solving an abstract puzzle.
Features & opinion
A shadow has fallen over the race to detect a new type of quantum particle, the Majorana fermion, that could power quantum computers. Controversy over experiments that initially claimed to have detected Majorana particles — but remain unconfirmed — is eroding confidence in the field, says physicist Sergey Frolov, who calls for more accountability and openness from researchers and journal editors.
Following the release of diversity data by the Royal Society, this in-depth look at academia’s race problem asks why there are still so few Black scientists in the United Kingdom. In a related article, three senior researchers in medicine, chemistry and physics share their thoughts on how to tackle under-representation.
Access to clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 is one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. But the cost of achieving this is high, as two new books explore. Pipe Dreams, by science journalist Chelsea Wald, is a “deeply researched, entertaining and impassioned exploration” of sanitation, both ancient and innovative. In it, Wald argues that a new generation of toilets is needed: one that squanders less water, nutrients and energy. Waste, by environmental-health researcher Catherine Coleman Flowers, describes the author’s decades-long campaign to raise awareness of inadequate sanitation in rural US communities.
This newsletter is always evolving — tell us what you think! Please send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With contributions by Smriti Mallapaty