7 science stories of the week

Welcome to your weekly science update – a curated list of this week’s most interesting stories in science.

Bad news for psychology. In a landmark study, over 270 psychologists attempted to replicate the findings of some 100 published psychological experiments. What they found was startling – only 36% of the studies could be successfully replicated.

Artificial leaf. Researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed a prototype artificial leaf which mimics the processes of natural photosynthesis to turn sunlight and water into hydrogen fuel.

What if you were sucked into a black hole? Could you escape? Would you be destroyed? Or  Would you come out intact on the other end? This question has puzzled physicists for a generation, and this week Stephen Hawking offered an answer: either the information you are made of is translated into a kind of “hologram” on the edge of the black hole, or it breaks out into an alternative universe. But if you think this is the last word on this matter, not so fast.

Start-up nuclear fusion? A little known California company is claiming it has made a breakthrough in the design of a nuclear fusion reactor. Still a long way from achieving endless clean energy supplies, this is still a very exciting development for a field which holds so much promise for humankind

The value of ignorance. The importance of knowing what we don’t know should not be underestimated – it’s a driver of progress and innovation. Ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, it is a source of new questions.

Secret lives of cells. Scientists are eager to understand the roles that certain proteins play inside cells and how they interact with each other, but it is notoriously difficult to achieve this given how fast they move and how small they are. A new technique is enabling scientists to study these movements visually. This video shows the coordinated activity of the protein actin (magenta), and myosin (green), which is involved in muscle contractions. Working together, the proteins form a network of filaments that create forces needed for cells to move.

Genome engineering for amateurs. Sophisticated genomes editing technology is now accessible to DIY biohackers with little formal training.

Author: David Gleicher is Senior Programme Manager, Science and Technology, at the World Economic Forum

Image: A supermassive black hole with millions to billions times the mass of our sun is seen in an undated NASA artist’s concept illustration. REUTERS/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout

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