Scientific Inquiry

What’s New in Science: A Look at Recent Events in Scientific Inquiry

Do you like to keep up with science news and developments, but don’t have the time? Fear not, we’ve gathered together the latest on what’s new in science so you can keep up with what’s been happening lately.

We’re going to go over three different topics today. First, a story about plastic pollution in the environment, and then a new update in laser-powered fusion. Finally, the latest updates on COVID-19 and related news. Read on to stay informed!

Plastic Is Not Fantastic

If you’re environmentally conscious, you may have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. What you might not know is that the floating garbage pile in the middle of the ocean may be much larger than we thought.

New science updates on plastic have discovered that microplastics, small particles of plastics broken down from other plastic waste, make up a large portion of the highly polluted area. There have even been recent discoveries of these microplastics in other parts of the world, including in the snows of Mount Everest.

The good news is that the Ocean Cleanup project is working to reduce the size of the plastic problem, but it’s going to take a lot of work. You can help by reusing and recycling plastic materials and buying products with plastic alternatives.

Laser-Powered Fusion Ignites Buzz

Another story new in science today is the substantial progress of the latest tests on laser-powered fusion.

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is the company responsible for the latest tests. In the past, they were only able to get about a three percent return on the energy used to create the fusion reaction. In recent tests, a single laser shot is now able to create a fusion reaction that generates up to 70 percent of the energy expended.

The team still has a long way to go before we’ll be ready to have fusion generators, but scientists hope that someday this star power can be a clean source of renewable energy.

The Latest COVID Developments

As the Delta variant continues to spread, scientists are studying how this and the other coronavirus variants may affect the vaccine. Some are claiming that there will be a need for a booster shot for vaccinated people in the coming months.

In other COVID updates, many ICU physicians are facing burnout and leaving the profession en masse. Stressful working conditions have caused a decline in the physicians’ mental health since the start of the pandemic. This may be due to the frustration and grief from the massive death toll in the ICU, while many of their patients remain unvaccinated.

Kenneth Chien with the Swedish Karolinska Insitutet, one of the co-founders of Moderna Therapeutics, has been working with mRNA on more than just life-saving COVID-19 vaccines. Scientists have used CRISPR, a gene-editing technique, to encode the mRNA to help treat patients with rare liver conditions. Chien hopes to use this technology to treat conditions in other parts of the body in the future.

Keep up With What’s New in Science

That’s what’s new in science for this week! Make sure you stay informed so you can keep up with what’s coming next. Check out our blog for more health and science news, so you can stay up to date with the latest developments!

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