The eclipse, primordial soup and other science stories of the week

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

A new liquid 3D printer could revolutionize uptake of the technology by drastically lowering the time needed to print an object.

Orbital solar-power plants take a step closer to becoming a reality as Japanese researchers demonstrate a technique to wirelessly transfer solar energy.

Yoghurt cancer test? Probiotic bacteria can be engineered to identify tumors in your body and change the colour of your urine to let you know.

An epidemic of short-sightedness. Myopia might be the pandemic no one is talking about. Cases are on the rise, and researchers think they know why.

Addressing inequality through brain chemistry. Researchers develop a pill that could make people more compassionate and more sensitive to inequality.

Cracked: the chicken-and-egg riddle of life’s origin. A new study proposes that molecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins could have emerged from Earth’s primordial soup at the same time. More detailed reporting here.

New president of the UK Royal Society. Structural biologist and Nobel Laureate Venki Ramakrishnan has been selected to helm the scientific institution. Here is Ramakrishnan speaking on antibiotic resistance in Davos 2015.

The autistic brain. For the first time researchers have identified differences between autistic and non-autistic brains.

Canada is on a superconductivity roll. The nation’s researchers appear to be leading global efforts to achieve superconductivity at room temperature, which has applications from magnetic levitation trains to loss-less power lines, which would allow renewable energy to be transmitted over long distances.

The hydrogen economy. Fuel cell vehicles are gaining momentum.

Young Global Leaders 2015. The Forum announces the 2015 class of Young Global Leaders, among whom there are growing numbers of basic scientists, such as Andrea Armani, USC; Stephanie Lacour, EPFL; Andrew Bastawrous, LSHTM; and Michele Dipp, OvaScience Inc.

Best medical images of 2015. The Wellcome Trust has announced the winners of its 2015 Wellcome Image Awards. All images can be viewed here. A select group of researchers share the stories of how some of the images were captured.

ICYMI. There was a total eclipse of the sun visible from north-west Europe this morning. Here are some photos of the rare phenomenon. And here are seven things you (probably) didn’t know about solar eclipses.

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

Image: School children wearing protective glasses pose for photographers outside The Royal Observatory during a partial solar eclipse in Greenwich, south east London March 20, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

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