Innovation Summer School in Darmstadt, Jun-Aug 2019

Don’t miss out on this tremendous opportunity: the chance for brilliant international students to attend the 3-month Merck Innovation Summer School at Merck Innovation Center in Darmstadt this June.The Merck Innovation Summer School is a paid 3-month intrapreneurship program (June-August 2019) that allows you to learn about intrapreneurship, meaning innovation in a corporate environment, and grow a seed idea into a “pitchable” innovation concept. The program is designed for PhD students and experienced Masters students and is fully integrated into the Merck Innovation Center.  Hurry up! the application deadline is coming very soon!
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Retractionwatch: an indispensable tool in scholarly publishing

Since August 2010, there is a place for recording  studies no longer reliable. The blog retractionwatch.com created the first database of retractions, with nearly 18,000 retractions so far, stretching back decades. There are well over a thousand retractions each year and this database inform about scientific misconducts.

Retractionwatch is doing deeper dives, prompting to file public records requests for reports of misconduct investigations and other materials (and their co-founders to urge universities to do a better job with them). In the past year, retractionwatch has collaborated together with journalism organizations, to bring readers stories that go deep and reach larger audiences than retractionwatch can on the blog. There are their established partnerships with STAT and Science, where they continue to break news and help readers make sense of developments.

Some of the most impressive stories related to retractions and academic misconduct include:

Can you share yours in the comments below?

This non-profit organization have received some foundation support from MacArthur Foundation, the Helmsley Trust, and the Arnold Foundation. The founders, Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus, are not taking salaries from the organization. One can contribute with a tax-deductible donation to The Center For Scientific Integrity or contribution, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, add them to your RSS reader, sign up for an email or subscribe to daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in their database, you can let them know here. For comments or feedback: team@retractionwatch.com.

Pseudo science and bias information

Fake news is everywhere. Science-related pseudo facts have taken over the gossip sites and social media. And we are only at the beginning of an uphill battle to set the record straight. In this contribution, Melissa Hoover, shares her investigation on how people’s response to fake news makes it easier for such inaccurate stories to propagate at a rate that is way more important than fact-based news. Continue reading here.

“With the right ingredients, life seems to form very quickly” Mark Harrison

The origin of life started much earlier than scientists thought. The 19th of October 2015,  a research supporting that our planet’s first form of life was originated at least 4.1 billion years ago was published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That means 300 million years earlier than previous research suggested, shortly after, almost instantaneously, the planet formed (4.54 billion years ago) and prior to the massive bombardment of the inner solar system that formed the moon’s large craters (3.9 billion years ago).

Scientists had long believed the Earth was dry and desolate during that time period. However, the new research, carried out in UCLA, showed that the planet was probably much more like it is today than previously thought. Simple life appears to have formed quickly and it would evolve to photosynthesize after many millions of years.

The scientists identified and revealed primary inclusions in a mineral, namely dark specks contained in zircons, that were analyzed with Raman spectroscopy. The zircons had a specific ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-13 that indicates the presence of photosynthetic life. The graphite is older than the zircon containing it, being the latter 4.1 billion-years old.

Video: Dark specks contained in zircons.

Read more here

From waste to precious metals

Just as a modern version of the fairy tale The Ugly Duckling, a group of FEFU (Far Eastern Federal University) scientists have developed a method to take care of combustible stone’s waste and turn it into precious metals. As explain in rbth science and technology, ash waste is no longer considered a problem that occupies vast areas and pollute the environment, but a cost-effective mine for processing the platinum group metals and other valuable components.

This work falls within the scope of EURELCO (European Enhance Landfill Mining), which promotes research on conditioning and integrated valorisation of a landfilled waste stream, using innovative transformation technologies.