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Scientists target coronavirus immunity puzzle

Scientists target coronavirus immunity puzzle

Science
A new effort is under way to understand how the immune system responds to coronavirus.Scientists from 17 UK research centres are attempting to answer questions such as how long immunity lasts and why disease severity varies so much.The new UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) says learning about immunity will help to fight the virus.It has received £6.5m from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).Prof Mala Maini, a viral immunologist from University College London, who is leading one of the UK-CIC teams, said: “Our immune response to a virus is really what dictates how we respond when we get infected, how ill we get when we get an acute infection, how long we're protected after we've had the infec...
Weird weather: Can computers solve UK puzzle?

Weird weather: Can computers solve UK puzzle?

Science
A top climate scientist has called for more investment in climate computing to explain the UK’s recent topsy turvy weather.Prof Tim Palmer from Oxford University said there were still too many unknowns in climate forecasting.And in the month the SpaceX launch grabbed headlines, he said just one of the firm's billions could transform climate modelling.Short-term weather forecasting is generally very accurate.And long-term trends in rising temperatures aren’t in doubt.But Prof Palmer says many puzzles remain unsolved: take the recent weird weather in the UK, with the wettest February on record followed by the sunniest Spring. Forecasters set for 'billion pound' supercomputer May was sunniest UK month on record Weather somersaultMet...
Whale sharks: Atomic tests solve age puzzle of world’s largest fish

Whale sharks: Atomic tests solve age puzzle of world’s largest fish

Science
Data from atomic bomb tests conducted during the Cold War have helped scientists accurately age the world's biggest fish.Whale sharks are large, slow moving and docile creatures that mainly inhabit tropical waters. They are long-lived but scientists have struggled to work out the exact ages of these endangered creatures. But using the world's radioactive legacy they now have a workable method that can help the species survival.Whale sharks are both the biggest fish and the biggest sharks in existence. Growing up to 18m in length, and weighing on average of about 20 tonnes, their distinctive white spotted colouration makes them easily recognisable. These filter feeders l...
Why suitcases rock and fall over – puzzle solved

Why suitcases rock and fall over – puzzle solved

Science
It's a common experience when dashing for a train or plane while lugging a two-wheeled suitcase. The bag rocks alarmingly from side-to-side and threatens to overturn. Now, scientists have investigated this conundrum of everyday physics. Speeding up rather than slowing down can solve the problem, they say. Alternatively, you can pivot the handle of the suitcase as close to the ground as possible. French scientists studied a model suitcase on a treadmill to see what goes wrong when a suitcase rocks out of control at high speed. They developed equations to explain why two-wheeled trolleys have a tendency to rock from one wheel to the other. In cases of unstable bags - after having gone over a bump, for example - they found luggage rocks from side-to-side until it falls over, or it reach...