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Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the hydroid, Ectopleura larynx.

Coloured scanning electron micrograph of Ectopleura larynx, a sea creature related to jellyfish. Biologists reported seeing beauty in complexity and pleasing colours or shapes.Credit: Jannicke Wiik-Nielsen/Science Photo Library

Beauty boosts researchers’ well-being

Scientists’ ability to experience wonder, awe and beauty in their work is associated with higher levels of job satisfaction and better mental health. Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 scientists — mainly biologists and physicists — in India, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Far from the caricature of scientists as exclusively rational and logical beings, “this beauty stuff is really important”, says sociologist and co-author Brandon Vaidyanathan. “It shapes the practice of science and is associated with all kinds of well-being outcomes.”

Nature | 4 min read

Reference: Work and Well-Being in Science survey

Russia’s missing cyberwar

Many analysts expected an unprecedented level of cyberattacks when Russia invaded Ukraine — which so far haven’t materialized.There has been low-level activity. Cyberattacks were under way in Ukraine even before Russian forces invaded on 24 February. But Ukraine’s crucial infrastructures — such as telephone, Internet, power and health-care systems — remain intact. One theory is that the decision to invade Ukraine was held at the highest level and didn’t trickle down the chain of command until it became too late to deploy significant cyberattacks. Another is that Russia might have hoped to capture Ukraine’s infrastructure, rather than destroy it.

Nature | 6 min read

Funder bars university over award line-up

Australia's largest philanthropic funder of medical research has barred academics at the University of Melbourne from winning the foundation’s prestigious million-dollar fellowships over concerns about gender and diversity. The decision comes after the university released a picture of six white men — but no women or people of colour — receiving honorary degrees, one of the university’s highest accolades, in a ceremony. Australian researchers have largely applauded the decision. “For a lot of people in academia, this is viewed as ‘finally — a shock to the system’,” says health-behaviour scientist Billie Bonevski.

Nature | 5 min read

Features & opinion

How Seychelles sea turtles bounced back

To make soup for European tables, green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in Seychelles were once hunted almost to extinction. Now the species is thriving, thanks to the protection of Aldabra Atoll, a favourite turtle nesting ground, in 1968. Three researchers who took on the task of analysing decades of data about nesting females, tracked by the huge tractor-like trails they leave in the sand, describe how the conservation success was achieved.

The Conversation | 5 min read

Futures: The resilience of humanity

The efforts of the powerful to stay forever young ignite a revolutionary fire in the latest short story for Nature’s Futures series.

Nature | 4 min read

Behind the curtain of Plan S(mits)

A new book — free to download, of course — by Plan S architect Robert-Jan Smits reveals how the cryptically named, wildly ambitious open-access programme came to be. In a nutshell, Plan S describes a requirement imposed by big science funders, mostly in Europe: papers from research they have financially supported must be made open access immediately on publication. In Plan S for Shock, Smits and journalist co-author Rachael Pells tell how the policy sausage gets made, with the help of lively quotes to pull readers through. Plus it reveals the true source of that mysterious initial: Plan S was named after Smits (not shock, science, solution or speed, as he used to suggest).

Nature | 6 min read

Podcast: vest that can hear your heartbeat

Inspired by the ear, a team of researchers have developed an acoustic fibre that can be woven into fabrics to create a sensitive microphone. This fabric microphone is capable of detecting human speech and heartbeats, and the scientists think it could be used to develop wearable sensors for long-term health monitoring.

Nature Podcast | 26 min listen

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“What’s ‘ResearchFish’?”

An innocently curious tweet by geologist Christopher Jackson has ignited an uproar after an impact-tracking service threatened to report its critics to their funders. (Research Professional News | 3 min read)